The History of German Underground Techno

History, Emergence and Popularity

Techno music may have had its roots in Detroit’s underground club scene but has evolved into the most popular musical style in Germany. In fact, no other popular genre in the music industry has taken over the German underground scene in the past 20 years as Techno has. It has permeated the German culture over the years so much that you’d not be blamed to believe Techno was born in Berlin.

Loveparade 1992
Loveparade 1992

Germany seems to be the only country in the world where Techno still thrives in a big way today. Unlike other countries where musical trends hardly last a few months, the majority of Germans still consider Techno as the most advanced musical genre today.

However, the Techno underground scene in Germany is never in a static state. Germans are very creative in giving Techno music different labels and names, recent ones being Elektro, Minimal, and Nu Rave.

The 2008 documentary We Call It Techno! takes an important look back at the musical phenomenon’s cultural roots in Berlin, Frankfurt and beyond with exclusive interviews, unpublished film and rare photographic material from 1988 to 1994.

Berlin: The Capital of Underground Techno

The city of Berlin is, without a doubt, the capital of the Techno music universe. It is no wonder that most foreign DJs whose musical talents were never fully appreciated in their home countries have found a home in Berlin. Berlin is today the DJ capital of the world. It is a city where a DJ-based nightlife thrives exceedingly well without the huge expenses and overrated glitz found in places such as Las Vegas and Ibiza.

How did Techno find its way to Berlin?

Emerging as electronic dance music (EDM) in the USA, Techno came to Berlin in the late 1980s. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the Detroit-born Techno music found a home in the unused industrial spaces and dirty basements of East Berlin. And thus the club culture as we know it today was born.

Party in Germany after the collapse of the wall
Party in Germany after the collapse of the wall

For most Germans, and club music fans worldwide, the Berlin Techno scene has become the international benchmark for underground club music culture. Many DJs and music producers have relocated to Berlin to advance their careers and musical aspirations. Techno fans from all parts of Europe and North America flock to Berlin every year to enjoy the city’s internationally recognized club scene and an ever-vibrant nightlife. No other city in Germany boasts of having as many clubs, music labels, and musical events as Berlin. At the center of it all is Techno music, which defines itself as a distinctive and discerning style.

There is never a shortage of clubs to explore your taste in Techno music in Berlin, from Berghain, Watergate, and Golden Gate to the Ritter Butzke. The city is home to popular Techno music labels, booking and management agencies, digital music production companies, media, and distributors.

Berlin is the capital of the underground music culture.

A berlini fal (The Berlin Wall), 1989
A berlini fal (The Berlin Wall), 1989

Cologne is another notable city worth mentioning in the German underground Techno music scene. It is a vibrant city with big names in the Techno music industry such as Kombat, an internationally recognized Techno label, booking agency, record label, and distribution center rolled into one. Kombat produces what is popularly known as the “Cologne Sound” which is a blend of melody, minimalism, and melancholy with an upbeat pop background.

To Conclude;

Wherever you go throughout Germany, you’ll always find underground Techno music at the heart of people’s hearts, whether young or old. It is the soul and heartbeat of Deutschland.

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