The music is absolutely central to the electro scene, but so is its danceability: monotone beats they dance to in a trance in dark clubs. Electro doesn’t mean just techno anymore, it encompasses everything from dub step and house to hybrids like tech house and electro swing. Clubbers see themselves as less of a subculture now. Four electro fans explain why.
Edwige Dreue, 25, Berlin, psychology student
Edwige Dreue, 25, Berlin, psychology student | Photo: privat
There’s something smoothly flowing about electronic dance music. With the bass you get a rhythm that puts you into a sort of trance, in which the only communication is the music. But I listen to all kinds of music. Mostly electro, to tell the truth, but the music scene in general has so many electronic influences that there’s almost no getting away from it. Since I DJ myself, I listen to plenty of electronic music at home. That covers a lot of ground, ranging from lounge to dub and techno all the way to house. At 21 I moved from a small town to Amsterdam, I really dove into electronic music at the time. It was something I had never fully experienced before, and it was love from the get-go. Still, I don’t have the feeling that the music really brings people together. Especially in Berlin there are so many people who go to clubs and listen to this kind of music. It’s part of everyday life, not a specific scene
Álvaro Pei, 22, Berlin, architecture student
Álvaro Pei, 22, Berlin, architecture student | Photo: privat
When I’m going out to a club, I hook up with friends beforehand at home. We linger over dinner and at some point we’re ready to go out. By the time we head out it can be pretty late, so I don’t get back home till pretty late either! In clubs you talk to strangers a lot too. It sometimes happens that I lose sight of my friends and my mobile phone battery goes flat. Then I spend a lot of time looking for my friends and chatting on the way with all sorts of different people, which can lead to some exciting encounters. People in clubs are very diverse, but the darkness there and the monotony of the music levels the playing field, which helps break down barriers. The club scene is very liberal, there’s almost no rules, no set dress code.
Robert Zimmermann, 24, Berlin, cooks at a youth hostel
Robert Zimmermann, 24, Berlin, cooks at a youth hostel | Photo: Andreas Kiener
I listen to every genre of electronic dance music. I’m not too choosy when it comes to going out. Maybe between break beats and 4-to-the-floor stuff, the stuff with the kick drum on very beat. What you hear in most clubs these days is tech house, a mix of techno and house. That is what has grown up in this decade. Many people consume electronic dance music exclusively for dancing. This is the culture behind the DJ sets. The artists deliver their products, which are worked into a danceable mix by one person, namely the DJ. What you have then is a DJ set an hour to an hour and a half long, which has a clear-cut function: to get people to dance. If you maintain a certain tempo, generally around 120 beats per minute, the crowd will have danced themselves into a sort of trance by the end of the evening.
Annika Marie Lauxtermann, 21, Berlin, training to become an occupational health nurse
Annika Marie Lauxtermann, 21, Berlin, training to become an occupational health nurse | Photo: privat
I listen mainly to electro swing, that’s swing with electronic beats. The mix of styles gives me an urge to move that I cannot and will not resist. That puts you in a good mood and I feel transported into another era. Appearances are important in the electro swing scene. People give some attention to the 1920s dress code and they dress accordingly. Many do ballroom dances like foxtrot or jive. But it doesn’t have to be traditional partner dancing, you can groove to the music by yourself, too. It really started for me in Berlin. I’d already sometimes listened to numbers by Caravan Palace or Parov Stelar, but since I’ve been in Berlin, I can’t imagine living without this style of music anymore. And there’s a corresponding lineup of events here.