The following article was featured on the British Berlin website following an interview with the founder of Berlin-Brighton Markus Saarländer. The British Berlin is digital platform publishing unique content for users who seek exclusive reading about the connections between Brighton and Berlin.
The website therefore reports on similarities between Brighton and Berlin, Brits who moved to Berlin and Germans who moved to Brighton, it talks about the perception of Germany in the UK and what Germans think about the British.
British music is huge in Germany; Ellie Goulding, Calvin Harris, Bastille and even Passenger. If you turn on a commercial radio station in Germany you can almost be sure that the song that will play either comes from Britain or the US. Nick Howard, a singer songwriter from Brighton, even won the “Voice of Germany” in 2012. Commercially, England is responsible for the biggest artists in the world; Mumford and Sons are enormously successful, middle-schoolers go crazy for Harry Styles, Adele has sold over 10 million copies of 21 making it the best-selling digital album in US history and, blimey, a lot of people like Coldplay. The list goes on: Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora, Olly Murs, The 1975, Sam Smith, and Jake Bugg have all been played on German radio in bars and in clubs over and over again. This trickles down into the public perception of a county’s artistic quality. Take Germany as another example. Who pops into your head when you think about German music? The Scorpions, Nena, Rammstein, Kraftwerk? No question we all know them but are they representative of what goes on in Germany musically at the moment?
We’re living in one of the most creative times that music has ever seen; Brighton, London and Berlin are heaving with young artists that refuse conventional wisdom and the cyclical churn of genre and style. However going to the sea-front clubs in Brighton is always the same – always a disappointment – “people are orange”, music is commercial, the night is all about being seen and not about the joy of music anymore.
“Making a difference” that’s what popped into Markus Saarländer’s head when he started thinking about changing Brighton’s nightlife. “It’s all fake and that’s not what music is about, I’m all about the music”. Born and raised in Germany Markus moved to England in 1993 and has now been living in Brighton for over 4 years. He started his DJing career with two ghetto blasters he bought at a car boot sale before switching to his first turntables. Over the years Markus has DJed at major festivals in the UK as well as in Ibiza. But he always had a greater idea in the back of his mind “My own night, I will call it Berlin. I want to show everyone that German music isn’t all about Techno, there is more to German underground than techno!” From deep house to funk, tech house, trance to electro, the Berlin night offers it all. The German capital is one of the planet’s greatest party cities and is currently best known for its techno scene. “Going out in Berlin will complete change your perspective of how to go to a club and have a good time”, Markus wants to pass that perspective on to the lovely people of Britain, who seem to have got it.completely wrong.
Berlin has become Germany’s most famous musical city, and much of this is owing to its cheap rents. It’s provided a sanctuary to a huge number of musicians over the years: David Bowie, U2 and Nick Cave have all enjoyed their Berlin periods. “Berlin is a happy cool place to be, being German has become very cool!”, Markus says. At his nights he wants to show his audience the fun side of Berlin, with visuals that show David Hasselhoff cuddling puppies (oh and not to forget him sound tracking the fall of the Berlin wall), balloon drops and Berlin stickers he keeps his audience entertained. One of Markus’ favourite moment in the nights is when he mixes “Prok and Fitch’s Halluzination” with the famous words of JFK’s speech “Ick bin ein Berliner”.
Having been to Berlin many times before he feels that there is a connection between Berlin and Brighton; another reason why he decided to put on his night right here in Brighton “Freedom! You can do whatever you want, both Brighton and Berlin are so independent”. Moreover he sees similarities in the “togetherness”, people are friendly and there is a great sense of community especially in the music business. He started the Berlin night in November 2014 and knew exactly where it should take place – The Green Door Store. “It reminded me of one of the warehouses in Berlin, it is dark and industrial. The pipes, the atmosphere, it is the perfect venue”. Every two month he invites two or more DJs to put on their sets “in Berlin”. Markus supports and encourages local acts and talents, he even supports young artists like MARUM, who first DJed for him at the age of 17. Saarländer headlines the nights and enjoys seeing people dance and rave. He interacts as much as possible and gets his kicks out of people shouting “I LOVE TECHNO” while violently punching the air. At four in the morning, when it is time to go home, he lifts people out of the techno zone by playing German classics like “Guten Morgen Sonnenschein” (translation: "Good morning sunshine"). “I want to send people home happy and satisfied”, Markus likes to describe his nights as a journey – emotionally and musically.
In his early days in the late 90s, Markus was inspired by DJs like Paul van Dyke, Schiller, DJ Taucher and Tillmann Uhrmacher. “It used to be hard to get the music from Germany over to the UK”, he says, “it is not anymore in the digital age, so let’s go on an underground journey together”.
Read the full article here - The Sounds of Germany – The Underground comes to Brighton
Listen to the Full Interview here - Markus Saarländer Interview