Techno is so synonymous with Berlin that it can be tricky to find electronic acts who haven’t graced the city’s clubs – many techno bands, DJs and producers start off here in Germany’s capital. Want to find out more? Then check out our pick of the top local favourites you need to know.
Berlin-based duo Booka Shade originally set their sights on synth-pop and have since carved out a name for themselves as one of Europe’s most celebrated electronic acts. As electronic veterans, they have found international success and started their own legendary dance label Get Physical Music. However, their fanbase isn’t restricted to techno-lovers, and their body shaking thumping beats have seen them playing festivals like Lollapalooza. The duo’s exciting shows incorporate an electronic drum kit, plenty of hardware and electric lights.
Paul Kalkbrenner is a Berlin-born electronic producer, live-act and actor who starred in the cult-classic film Berlin Calling. Kalkbrenner grew up in East Berlin and was 13 years old when the wall fell – it was during this time that he started spinning records for his friends at youth clubs in the city, growing his love and talent for making music. On stage he breaks down his tracks into elements and reassembles them live, giving him the title of a live-act opposed to a DJ. One of Berlin’s most well-known and beloved DJs, his tracks have been an influential part of Berlin’s electronic scene.
Swedish-born DJ and producer La Fleur is now based in Berlin. Label manager for Power Plant Records and resident DJ at Berlin’s famous club, Watergate, she has carved out a name for herself in the city’s techno scene. La Fleur’s sound is simultaneously house and techno, bringing classic elements of these forms together in a futuristic manner.
Modeselektor is a Berlin electronic duo, whose sound draws heavily from IDM, glitch, electro house and hip hop. Comprised of Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary, the pair like to experiment with sound and hate being placed into a certain scene or sub-genre. Producing an original style and party-heavy beats, Modeselektor has turned up the heat at festivals and clubs across Europe.
A Berghain resident since 2015, and a fixture on Resident Advisor’s top-10 DJs list for almost a decade, Ben Klock is a household name among techno-lovers. He has established himself as a King of techno and is at the forefront of Berlin’s modern techno scene. An ever-present symbol of the city’s diverse and rich electronic music scene, when it comes to techno and Berlin, Ben Klock’s name and his sound is one that can’t be ignored.
Berlin-based German techno duo Pan-Pot started in 2005 and have since cemented themselves in the modern techno movement. Composed of music producers Tassilo Ippenberger and Thomas Benedix, who met while they were studying and were drawn together by their combined love of techno, their sound integrates electronic experimentation with minimal stylings while establishing their own signature ominous, murky sound.
Van de Papen is an electronic duo, consisting of twins Ronald and Christoph Lonkowskey, who have been exploring electronic music since purchasing their first computer and music software over ten years ago. Their sound has been described as a mixture of delayed sound over rumbling bass and subdued but driving beats. Adding a twist to the ambient dub techno template of the 90s, the pair are creating a fresh sound for their fans.
The man behind Monolake is Robert Henke – he was born in Munich in 1969 and relocated to Berlin in shortly after its reunification in 1990. Studying to be an engineer, Henke’s move to Berlin saw him change his focus to producing electronic music, making sound installations and film soundtracks. Becoming a solo project in 2004, Monolake’s sound explores sound, rhythm and structure, as well as the places they exist in.
When it comes to electronic music and creativity, Ellen Allien is an all-rounder. Shaping, supporting and driving the electronic scene, she is a DJ, musician, producer and label manager. As a true Berliner, she knows the city well and has grown up among its ever-evolving club culture. Coming up in the mid-90s, Ellen got a name for herself as a DJ and producer of Acid, minimal and techno and went on to launch her label BPitch Control in 1999, transforming it into a hub of techno, house and other electronic sounds. A Berlin veteran, she has helped shaped the techno scene of her city.
Tangerine Dream is a German pioneer of electronic music, founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The group’s line-up saw continuous changes over the decades, and their sound and music had a huge impact on electronic culture and scene. Their latest album release, Quantum Gate, in 2017, coincided with the 50th anniversary of the band’s original line-up.