2018


After I return from Christmas in Kiev, I find myself waking up with a blurred vision of my friend’s flat. There is a crack on one of the windows next door from someone hitting it with the fireworks the night before. I feel dizzy from what is yet to come.

This year I have seen more new places and people than I ever have before. This year I also put a lot in my life to test: Despite the advice of my friends,
I decide to quit my paralyzing job while I was still in several thousands of debt, a thing that doesn’t only jeopardize my life but also my friendships and my relationship. The latter seems to have been a big challenge for most of my peers this year.
The outside influences can be exceptionally blissful and draining to our lifestyle and in any interaction it usually takes two or more to tango but if you love someone unconditionally it’s best to let each other go for a while in order to realize that life is happening indeed for you and not to you. Once you change from expectation to appreciation, everything changes. 

A few days after New Years, I am queuing up at LABO in Berlin, the branch of the German government which decides whether people are able to stay in my country or not. A place where about indescribable joy or indefinite displacement is decided in a few moments. A place where I never have to go. A vibe I only felt being at the North Korean border six months before. Cultural intensity.
I am here, queuing up with my girlfriend at 03:00 am for people with no appointment. Sounds intense enough?
It’s pissing down and next to us about hundred people, mostly from the Middle East trying to be the first one in line. Some random strangers give away fake numbers for people to be the first. Of course they just want to stay. 

Suddenly the doors open. Everyone rushes into a small gate, a woman shouts that she is pregnant and after half an hour of claustrophobia, tears and uncertainty, the first people get pushed through the security. We find ourselves in the wrong queue which what we didn’t know was specificially for “Syrian refugees”.

After a few hours in front of a new building and seeing some of the leftover refugees revolt in front of the security, our gates open and we rush to the top to be one of the first ones to be interviewed. I feel like a stranger in my own country. Not only was I watching, running next to people striving for a better life, I also see them wait and almost suffocate. 
Unlike a lot of the foreign people, we leave with the privileged right to easily extend our Visa. I feel disgusted. 

Mark

Rome




My first gig in the new year and the only one that month. Städlin, next to Ultrasuoni.
There are rumours about both of them closing. I hope not indefinitely.
A very calm weekend after getting a Visa extended. The people we meet are very kind and doing their best to introduce the italian menu. I am a bit indecisive about what to play in a bar at a very early time but get used to it by the end. The bartender says people stay longer that night than they usually do. One more drink and off to bed. 





I feel that Rome definitely wasn’t built in a day. Long walks. Segway anyone? When in Rome, they say. I find the city a bit too beautiful for my taste but have befriended one of the most traditional hosts I can ever imagine. Pizza, Pasta or Gelati? No Problem! I buy a few records at the small basement of “I want to believe” and then after listen to classical music and get help to see the Vatican. Unfortunately, I see the beauty shadowed by the poverty with some of the homeless people next to it. Since you generally pay taxes to the churches in Germany, I feel the money isn’t necessarily going to a good cause. I decide to quit.


The Ghost at Hoppetosse.

A now renowned brand for many people in Berlin.
A group of people I wish to have invested in more in 2018.
A group that has made my life in Berlin as a DJ and individual incredibly easy.

I remember in the first months after I moved I got to know all of the people involved learning more about the northern english than I do about my own culture. I feel like an Englishman in Berlin and called my very first release after a northern proverb, Owt for Nowt. I feel nostalgic about the times where I moved some of our stuff with my old flatmate driving around in what wasn’t even a painted record shop with interior at the time. People I will always appreciate.
Hoppetosse for Berliners? The first time playing alone after the amazing back to back I had with my old flatmate at the very first party. For quite a few people that would feel more nerve-wrecking than actually enjoyable. And so it was for me. I get really good feedback although due to the presence of your peers, you never feel satisfied.
Shortly after, at a doctor’s office. I almost fainted in my office after a massive crack-on the same weekend. I had what was supposed to be an asthma attack but also an intense coping mechanism regarding my coworkers. I hate my job and have the anxiety to get out of touch with my hobby longterm. How am I supposed to enjoy partying if I have to stay completely sober? 












 March


I lie at work a lot of times compensating about what I actually like to do. My colleagues don’t know I am a DJ in my free-time and let alone travelling. They are only interested if I make money with it. The countless hours finding new music for fun? Impossible to appreciate. I have to get a Visa to go to Russia in less than 14 days just to visit Moscow and St. Petersburg for less than 48 hours. Unfortunately I see exactly as much of the city as it sounds. I played at a new club at the time that, I recently find out, is more developed now than it was before. That’s great news! The first thing I see is a corner with luggage at the airport that reminds me of an auction house. A sign says “Lost and found”. We go straight to the club from the airport. The food from the club restaurant is great. I find myself playing in a backstage room with fake beach sand really early in the night. It wasn’t packed but we continue to play records in the kitchen of the club until I have to leave. Despite a broken turntable - the people had a blast. I still bump into people from that night in Berlin sometimes. The only thing I remember from Moscow is the train station where the next promoter waited to pick me up. Unfortunately. 


 
Without any guidance by the promoter I would get lost but he persists to keep me good company. I am often surprised how well it turns out when you go to places you have never been to meet people that you have never met. Arriving in St. Petersburg and totally lost in translation I get to my hotel room without any sleep. I get a panic-attack and begin to call my friends. I decided to skip the hotel and go straight for dinner.
It’s a funny moment for me: When I started to DJ I used to be in the position to pick people up from the airport and go for dinner with them before we play. Now I find myself in the exact opposite position. I meet someone who turned out to be a producer of a record that I carry. We keep talking about our lives, kids and his wife, mostly via Google Translate. I am amazed how technology is serving us well for once. In a fast-food age of social media. I have one drink at the bar and fall asleep in the backstage of the club. Puzzled, I got up a little bit later with one of the residents wanting me to sign my own record that he managed to get hold off for a fortune on Discogs a few weeks earlier. I played after an amazing warm-up. My set went off a few times, not even half an hour after I handed over I am already on my way back to the airport. It’s hard letting the random people go but surely that is something that I would have to get used to: Spending less time with people. Unfortunately!