When someone asks “what kind of music is it?” looking for a genre, music lovers tend to smile at this impossible question. When classically trained jazz musicians are making techno beats with a trombone, and singer-songwriters are adding avant-garde theatrical elements to their performances, there are only two types of music to distinguish: the good kind or the bad kind.
Being a music addict is not just a nice hobby or something to unwind with after a long day in the office: music is full-time job. Berlin is bursting with countless record labels, studio spaces, nightclubs, festivals, music apps and street musicians who all make livelihoods – and a way of life – from music.
From outside the train station at Warschauer to Mauerpark on Sundays, Berlin’s buskers love to bring their music out of the concert venues and into the streets. This is where a lot of the magic happens for both audience and street performer, as every music lover knows.
Headphones provide the soundtrack while traveling the city on trains. Something gritty, grey and overcrowded is given fresh perspective when looked at with a musical accompaniment, elevating an ordinary scene into an artistic moment. Music lovers understand the need to carry headphones everywhere, the music they provide when cruising cityscapes help to get along with the mundane tasks of life and find beauty in its flaws.
When watching live music, whether it’s their favorite band or an unknown artist they’re going to discover, music lovers are very committed to giving their full ears. People who chit chat during the concert will receive a silencing stare, or are sometimes even asked to be quiet. People go to music shows to listen to the music, and not to catch up on what Sharon in accounting did at work today.
Music lovers find it very hard to swallow this claim, but have to most times to avoid being a music snob. When people in Berlin go to watch a concert and the crowd is relatively placid and restless up until they play the hit songs, which is the only reason they’ve ever heard of the band in the first place. Music lovers still try to enjoy the concert through the plethora of camera phones that have suddenly popped up to capture the bestbandever.
When a musician or music lover describes someone as being “in the pocket,” they are talking about someone who really knows how to hit those drums or tickle that guitar. It’s a compliment reserved for someone exuding rhythm and finesse when they play, someone born with the groove inside of them.
Berliners dedicated to the techno scene understand that black is the color of the night, and the “unofficial official” dress code for clubs. High heels and a sexy red dress will make you stand out, but if you happen to be in the queue for Berghain with a get-up like that, your chances of getting into the techno temple are very slim.