With its cheap rents, plentiful beer and multitudes of dark and dingy clubs, Berlin has become a Mecca for people wanting to run away from their problems. Grizzled expats are descending upon the city by the planeload, looking to make it as a DJ or rock star. But budding musicians beware: in case you didn’t notice, the place is teeming with talent as it is. Aside from the usual suspects like techno musicians Richard Villalobos or Marcel Dettman, here is a selection of musicians you might not have expected to call Berlin their home.
Looking to dance the pain away, Peaches moved to Berlin at the start of the millennium. She considers herself a proud member of its queer scene, stating that its no-fucks given attitude means that “It has a unique way of building these communities in a way that no other city can.”
Once profiled on Resident Advisor as playing and mixing “an array of emotions, including sadness, anger, fear, wonder and displacement, in a way that’s both exciting and unsettling,” Lotic moved to Berlin from his hometown of Houston to pursue a DJ career. If you want to see the groundbreaking musician live, he’s playing at the techno patrician venue OHM in the new year.
He may have made his name in Bristol, where he pioneered trip-hop as part of Massive Attack, but the hugely influential rapper now resides in Berlin. Yet according to MorgenPost, he has yet to hit any clubs, preferring to stay active and cycle around the city instead.
The cult indie group best known for their smash hit “Formed A Band,” Art Brut have been in Berlin ever since 2011’s “Brilliant! Tragic!”. Speaking to DW, lead singer Eddie Argos gave his reasons why: “”It was either the delicious bread, excellent beer or cheap rent. I can’t remember the exact tipping point.”
The British dubstep pioneer has been living in Berlin ever since 2007. When asked why he moved to the city, he claimed that “Basically I was bored being in London” and Berlin was appealing because it “seemed the most obvious choice. Good music and clubs, and cheap to live.”
Frontman of King Khan and the Shrines, Canadian garage rock hero King Khan has lived in Berlin for 11 years. Talking to Pitchfork, he says of his expatriate life: “Berlin’s got cheap rent, but my income in Germany is still considered to be low income. I’m po’. But I’m happy.”
Pet Shop Bears
Ignoring their namesake’s advice to “Go West“, Pet Shop Bears, i.e. musicians Justin Case and Open Mike, have gone east and made Berlin their home instead. They can be found this Xmas spinning the decks at Panorama Bar.