The season in Berlin officially begins at what is the meeting point for the who’s who of my scene. CDV? The usual suspects.

How do I find Berlin?

It’s been treating me well but as Baby Ford told me: “It’s not for kids!” - Convenient excess in all areas. I have been at home for a few weeks trying in every way to find a new job. I get invited by HHV, Native Instruments and a few others. Between the hope of getting a new opportunity I also lose faith in my integrity. I get three warnings from my current job for DJing in my freetime and I also need to show up at my health insurance office because they suspect that I am not ill. I have only been taking the piss for four weeks from my work as an accountant but if I look deeper into it, I’ve actually been feeling sick from it the entire time. After I passed the test I got the ultimatum to either stop DJing or to quit my job forever. If I don’t find something by the end of the next month I will not only have no income but I will also not be able to pay my rent.
My first gig in Berlin that month is one I get invited to by Anthea who I had met through one of my releases. Due to the always positive attitude I get from her, I feel extremely excited although because of my financial situation I also fail to buy a lot of records and so keep on rotating the same ones. I am not sure if at first I can get particularly into it on that day. It’s quite common during the week that most people only arrive after work resulting in coming after my set. At the back of my mind is the existential struggle that completely strangles my creativity. I get probably the best feedback of the year yet though also a hint from some of my closest friends that I need to put more energy into my craft. I wasn’t doing enough and I felt it. A criticism for me that wasn’t easy to deal with. Despite the huge amount of interest from friends and labels that want me to send them music and the motivational support, it gets increasingly harder for me to finish tracks or record a mix, something that I would have my problems with until after I get back from Robert Johnson at the end of this year. For all of my close friends music has become their lifestyle instead of just an activity and I believe we all work hard and are appreciative of the opportunities that present themselves to us but sometimes things go a little bit too fast to catch up with them.

The amount of finished tracks in 2018 ? 1
The amount of unfinished tracks? More than 50+
The tracks that have made it into an actual arrangement? Less than a handful.


My very close friends know that it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t bookmark every link about how to finish tracks faster or tried every program that’s out there to help me meet my goals. Stuck with the cognitive bias of which information is useful, I learn about more and more things without following them through.I start reading every book from the artist’s way to the inner game of music and end with feeling overwhelmed when processing the information into an actual plan of action.
I get a hint from The Artist’s Way, that I will be as old doing music as I will when I don’t. A hint that comes in handy in a lot of situations and struggles I would have to go through in 2018 and a book I would recommend a lot of my friends in the following months.

The overall problem? Comparing myself with the music of others and feeling it won’t be good enough. Comparing myself with the music of others and feeling like a copycat. The naked truth you might be a fraud exposing your undeniable taste to the public. A few times I feel inspired at CDV and go straight to the studio during the night to transform every little feeling of imagined relief that would come with believing to be able to finish a track. A feeling that would be destroyed a few hours later. I tried everything from staying up late, getting up early and making music with other people. Do I need hardware? Do I need software? Countless times I have my friends tell me to shut the fuck up and eventually I start to believe that what I choose to do might be not what I want to do. It should feel easy and not difficult to me right?

Mark

I studied audio engineering before and taught Syrian refugees about sampling before but after all I can say that it’s true that it should feel easy but there is also a time where things shouldn’t be pushed, especially if some other major concerns are in the back of your mind. We are the things that have made up our lives and to figure that out as artists we do indeed need time to sit around and do nothing sometimes.
As much as you compare your work with other people and as much as you look for advice in others as a DJ or Producer, it will always be projected by what they feel which will never be what you. Seeing the desperation to find a unique sound for myself and seeing this problem occur in any professional level imagined so far, I advise myself to regard the frequencies I create as the mashup of my own life and be proud of it. It’s a scary thing to stay who you are because suddenly you don’t have anything to blame.
It’s the lack of being in tune with your own ideas that makes you downsize the individuality of others and evaluate their progress rather than increasing yours. If people are more honest to each other about their art it will not only give them but also the work of their peers a lot more desired originality and on the other hand give everyone involved an insight about how much help is right at their disposal if they see through the often unproductive, competitive nature of their own selves.
At the end of the year I start to make more music and finish one or two tracks and get really excited about the process again. I thank my friends for putting up with it. In May I become unemployed and am about to go to London and Japan. I would have to use the money I earn in London to enjoy and finance my trip to Japan with the idea to come back and not be able to survive. It’s the time to finally face my fear and not lose any faith.





Uwe Schmidt is probably the name that comes up more in conversations in our flat than actually our own. I get invited by my best friend and studio partner Gwenan to share the decks with our all-time favourite at her Pickle Factory residency. Uwe is someone we had both already played together with at Magda’s and Hamid’s party, Perm, the year before and share the utmost musical respect for.

The night means a lot to me since I always remember how much I went to London to escape my boring hometown and how much our friends have developed themselves as DJs from a time six years ago when none of us had hardly ever played out. I wonder how the always mature appearing Senor Coconut would react to my goofy persona and what he would play on that night especially with a stunning discography of his own. We sit in an asian restaurant realizing we would be in Tokyo the same night the same month.
Juggling between the funny comments about what to expect in those countries and my friend Toby’s northern English humour we share several serious conversations about why he moved to South America, travelling and how he distances himself from his own music. Uwe, who said he has been remastering his back catalogue for the last few years talked about the obstacles that appear while working with other collaborators. Slowly heading back to the club I get the hint that he might be influenced by Synesthesia as much as I am although afterwards I can’t confirm if he is.

We had to do the sound check and where I have to warm-up for him. After his sound check I wonder if I might have packed the wrong music to warm-up. Following the last few weeks I did not have enough resources to properly prepare myself for the gig and I imagined my selection to be too low-key for the acidic live set that was to be played. Tributing Uwe’s early days with a few tracks on Ongaku that I had and a packed dance floor later I feel really satisfied with the party although I knew what I played might have not sounded interesting to someone that had probably been part of half of the production of the music I played. During Atom Heart’s liveset I see a few weird people skype their friends at home and got almost got kicked out by the bouncer as he confused my ear plugs with ecstasy. I was happy to see a crowded dance floor the whole way through with Gwenan and me sharing our first ever back to back that turned out to be a great finish to a successful night which makes it a good addition to her series.