If Techno were a religion, Berlin would probably be its Mecca.
The eternal underground city is well known as the center of the world-famous electronic scene, in particular of Techno music and its history is considered one of the most iconic and mythological moments of the late XX century.
For Berlin, the destruction of the Wall in 1989 was a bit like the Big Bang: a single explosive event that had immeasurable influence on everything that came after. A unique scenario took shape, desolate streets, warehouse parties, squatters and the feeling that the city would have developed a unusual personality able of making a musical subculture part of its tradition.
But let’s take a step back, or rather a jump on the other side of Atlantic. It’s in Detroit that Techno finds its origins in late 80s, thanks to the genius of some young artists who were inspired by the sounds of German band Kraftwerk and other European musical realities linked in some way to Rock, creating more aggressive productions, characterized by the use of a synthetic sound completely different from all the stuff in circulation until that time: Chicago House Music, UK’s phenomenon of Acid House, Netherlands’s Hardcore and Progressive in Italy. Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson known as “The Three of Belle Ville”, and the collective “Underground Resistance”, were just some of the artists with progressive visions that made this city of Michigan the “mother scene” of a new genre still known as Techno Detroit, a genre that has always remained far away from the mainstream and for that has been preserved intact.
In a short time Techno comes from Detroit to Berlin creating a connection between the cities. But the German capital’s really given it a world-class clout, bringing it to a new extreme. This is partly due to the constantly-changing cultural landscape, partly due to the Wall situation that gave the city a new face, and also a lot of creative people who embracing urban space. If first Techno wave was influenced by synth-pop and electro, the second is closer to industrial and EBM sounds. On these musical influences, stronger and harder sounds were born, creating a new style with faster and pounding beats.
Between ’91 and ’97 a youth revolution takes place. New styles, attitudes and freedom have been explored on an unprecedented scale. The whole city was a playground for art and nightlife. Power stations, bunkers and abandoned spaces become temporary clubs and protagonists of a scene that has changed again and again over the decades.
The legends around them have played an important role in the creation of Techno music and club culture, bringing Berlin to the fame. Tresor, started as Ufo Club, becoming the most important influence on the city nightlife of 90s, leaving its mark on clubs like WMF, Bunker, Cookies and E-Werk, as well as on Love Parade, the street festival which started with 150 people and in a few years has become one of the biggest musical events in Europe, with over 1 million participants.
People came from all over the world to join this cosmopolitan lifestyle where Techno was a universal language and where freedom and hedonism were promoted. A mix of cultures and ideologies that contributed to the birth of international connections between Germans and producers of Detroit, Chicago, London, Bristol and the whole world.
Here is how Berlin has become the round-the-clock party city, the definitive capital of Techno and, above all, the city where you can be freer than anywhere else in the world and Dance Easy.
If you need any reminder about how cool was the dance floors madness of the 90s in Berlin, then you will definitely check out the below mix.