Why it is important again today to live the values of the Techno movement
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, a period of reorientation began for East and West. Right at the beginning of this time, there were several years during which everything seemed possible – a driving impulse that had to be let out. It was essential to celebrate the absolute freedom that dawned on everybody. And it was essential to stand by the values of the newly emerged Techno movement: For tolerance, versatility, freedom, against racism, homophobia and hate. Now, thirty years later, there are totally different catalysts for electronic dance music like Techno to motivate people to become loud. The community of celebration should be sensitized to the fact that there is no place for exclusion and racism in Germany!
Dear DJs, label and club owners, Techno is the blood in your veins. We must defend this valuable freedom – which is the freedom to party as well – and the people are making it possible against the threat of nationalist and conservative ambitions. Take the lead, set a good example. The Techno scene has gained its firm place in the music landscape – let’s stand by the basic values of tolerance, versatility and freedom. Just like back then, it’s worthwhile, more than ever!
Kay-Uwe Lenk*DASFAX | Techno Berlin
The speechby Kay-Uwe Lenk *DASFAXabout the values of the Techno movement. Closing rally of the demonstration Splitter&Nackt (Splinter&Naked) by Reclaim Club Culture (RCC) against the Nazi march through Berlin Mitte on 3rd of October 2019.
Hello, I am Kay-Uwe Lenk and, as a DJ of Rosenthaler Dance Meeting–Dancing Against The Right, I want to say a few words to you and also to those absentees mentioned in this speech concerning an affair of the heart:
It was almost thirty years ago that electronic music – especially House & Techno music – spread like a virus as a statement of the youth of its time and that we had to stand up for the VALUES of the newly emerging Techno movement:
FOR tolerance, versatility and freedom, AGAINST racism, homophobia and hatred!
Exactly THOSE values for which we are assembled here today! It cannot be denied that these very values have shifted a bit out of the collective memory with the commercialization of Techno since the mid90s. Instead, the focus is on superficial issues like dress codes or door bouncers being idolized as art personas or outrageous salaries for DJs. Lately, French Techno DJ Laurent Garnier has reopened the debate about the future of Techno. In the course of his books and an exhibition which depict his view of the history of House and Techno music, one statement stood out:
„Which values does Techno still have today, what socio-political reasons does the movement carry to the outside world?“
Which brings up the next question to me: „Are Techno and its culture still a movement?“ After the fall of the Berlin Wall, a period of reorientation began for East and West. Right at the beginning of this time, there were several years during which EVERYTHING seemed possible – a driving impulse that had to be let out. There were pilgrimages in the area of music culture, the East Germans made their way for Techno parties in Frankfurt on the Main, in Hannover and Kassel.
For themselves or for the Techno scene, West Germans discovered abandoned houses and lacking legal regulations in East Berlin or East Germany, paradise-like conditions for party organizers. It was essential to celebrate the freedom that dawned on all of us after years of upheaval. A large part of the clubbers from the early 90s knew what the liberal values of the Techno movement stood for – one segment of the movement came from the gay scene, another large portion came from the Independent scene… freaks, artists and even hooligans celebrated side by side with squatters in peaceful communion and stood up for respect and equality.
Now, thirty years later, there are totally different catalysts for electronic dance music to motivate people to become loud, to exert pressure. This can take place, as it happened on Potsdamer Platz in early September with a new generation, by means of beats & basses to have the attention of the public directed to climate disaster.
Or as last year, when we opposed the Nazi marches with a lot of noise. Because ever since a right wing party has succeeded in making it into the Bundestag, the community of celebration should also be sensitized to the fact that there is no place for exclusion and racism in the clubs! That’s why it is of the utmost importance that clubs and DJs carry the values of the Techno movement to the outside world as a role model for their target group. After all, electronic music plays a major role for young people. The figures from a study by the Clubcommission show that a total turnover of 168 million Euro was reached in Berlin clubs in 2017.
This can only be achieved with a multitude of visitors and reflects that the Berlin Club is not only a motor extremely high in turnover but also a significant place for encounters, evening after evening. Don‘t forget, Berlin is a world-class player in the music clubs, and so the world also romps about on our dance floors. Information about line-ups and locations is mostly looked up at websites or the social media presence of clubs.
Right there, site operators can use the opportunity to point out fundamental values without much effort. For instance, it could say on the welcome page: „In our club, there is no place for racism, sexism, homophobia or transphobia!“
In this regard, my thanks to the club Griessmühle in Neukölln!
Dear DJs, label and club owners, Techno is the blood in your veins! Your DNA is anti-fascist in its orientation. Show this to the thousands of followers. They are all hungry for making a difference or countering the threat of the Right. We must defend the valuable freedom, which is the freedom to party as well, and the people who are making it possible! Take the lead, set a good example. Because while we are standing here, racist hatred and dehumanizing agitation are marching through our city right now! To quote the fitting lines from last year‘s statement by the Reclaim Club Culture alliance:
„Berlin‘s club culture is everything which Nazis are not
and which they hate: We are progressive, queer,
feminist, anti-racist, inclusive and colourful.“
The past has shown that clubs can be motivated more quickly in communion to pull together. Therefore, it is a first idea to design a unified and compelling link icon which leads to an information website that clearly highlights the values of the modern Techno movement. A dynamic weblog which could present an exchange and announcement for upcoming charity club evenings and demonstrations.
And finally, I want to call on all Techno producers and DJs: It‘s time again for dance floor hymns! We are more political than ever, and much needs to be done to pull the plug on the Right and to publicly stand up for our liberal values. Understand this: For three decades, we have had the opportunity to dance in self-determination and in peace not only in clubs but also in the streets and to celebrate life!
And so it is now – TODAY! AND HERE!
Many thanks for your attention, many thanks that you are all here, it is important!
Kay-Uwe Lenk*DASFAX | Techno Berlin