It’s impossible to deny the cultural fluidity that Berlin has been through since the end of the Second World War and the rise of the Iron Curtain. During the Cold War, Germany’s capital, prior to the country’s unification in 1990, was split in two: East Berlin was culturally suppressed and subcultures were quickly and violently chased by the GDR. Meanwhile, in the West, the chosen lifestyle was a hedonistic attitude and a DIY mindset.

Before Berlin became the techno-centered capital of the world as we know today, in the late-seventies punk was the chosen musical language and a form of protest. With the rise of the Neue Deutsche Welle in the early eighties, a bridge between post-punk and electronic music, the so-called New German Wave allowed artists like Nina Hagen, Einstürzende Neubauten, Kraftwerk or Nena to later rise to worldwide fame.

With the downfall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the city that was once home to David Bowie, Nick Cave et al, and that had once heard David Hasselhoff sing for freedom by the Brandenburg Gate was facing a turning point. During the nineties, the rise of trance and electronic music’s prime time was the starting point of a new musical era in Berlin. Drug-fuelled bunker raves, a blind devotion to clubs such as Tresor or E-Werk and an obsessive hedonistic leaning lifestyle, thus laying the foundations for the effervescent and ever-varying club culture it has become famous for.

However, Berlin remains a symbol of cultural freedom and is perhaps one of many reasons leading into why so many people have chosen to abandon the comfort of their homes for the embrace of this intense and somewhat chaotic city. Despite Berghain, one of the world’s most famous (and restricted) clubs now being a culturally recognised musical institution, there is definitely more to look at and listen to outside the considered church of techno.

I moved to Berlin at the end of 2015, mostly captivated by the historical, cultural, musical and diverse magnitude the city has to offer. Following my career goals, personal reasons and overall excitement about live music (I’m not that much of a techno guy), I’ve found my place, a space that just keeps on giving in every possible way. While exploring the local music scene I realized that Berlin, like any other major capital city, became a hub of multicultural immigration and the music scene is a wide reflection of that. It converges influences, ideas and nationalities from every corner of the world. There’s space for everyone, regardless of age, sex, gender, nationality, race or political views.

Ranging from various genres, backgrounds, countries, below I gathered twelve acts that have one thing in common: they all make the current Berlin’s live music scene a better, renewed, thriving and more interesting space to belong to.

A.S Fanning

Storytelling is a skill but singing them in a way that may touch you profoundly is a talent. Dublin’s own A.S Fanning, singer-songwriter, producer and a man of many projects, has his way with words and that reflects in his ability to convert elements of classical folk, reshaping them, crossing genres through krautrock and psych, in a way that sounds fresh, current and heavy on sentimentalism. Not everyone can be a troubadour of the modern world in a way this Irishman can.

Bitte Please

Self-described as ‘just a man in a mask with a time machine’, Canadian producer Bitte Please, living in Berlin for over two years, combines the art of sampling with threads of lo-fi hip-hop beats, looped for a soothing and fulfilling bedroom hangout or a live experience. Regardless of the environment of choice, chill vibes are guaranteed and reassured.

bow church

By relocating to Berlin, bow church was able to recreate the cold hollowness of the Scandinavian winter, where he formerly lived for two years, and the ability to compose dark electronic songs with a heavy cinematic dimension. Having recently released his third album, Canon, an album rich in eeriness, club bangers and darker moods, the British producer achieved another career milestone and future prospects and directions seem promising.

Candice Gordon

Garden of Beasts may have been one of the major steps for a promising career, but Candice Gordon is only now starting to discard the new set of tricks up her sleeve. Six years living in Berlin allowed Candice to restructure and channel her strengths on to her debut album as well as extensive touring around Germany and beyond. Having recently played with the likes of Nena and The Strypes, the Irish songstress is set to release her new single ‘The Kids Are Alt-Right’ this coming March 16th. Sounds political.

Magic Island

Powered with an endearing vibrato voice on top of soothing downtempo electronica, having recently toured in Japan, and also delivering exemplary performances while supporting acts like Xiu Xiu, GENTS or Xinobi, Magic Island is one of Berlin’s best-kept dream pop gems, one that keeps on giving. On her new single ‘Easy Babe’, the musician combines heartbreaking songwriting all the while dwelling, bluntly and incisively, on the adversities of life, love and the aftermath of what’s yet to come.


If there is one thing more certain than the sky being blue, is that Scandinavians know how to make pop music. Nora Mihle chose Berlin as her home in 2014, leaving behind her hometown of Trondheim, in Norway to pursue her goals and develop as a musician beyond the fjords. Taking her surname as a moniker, Mihle is a graceful electro-pop project merging elements of nostalgic and catchy pop with refined songwriting.


The eighties were a glorious era for music. Synth-pop duo Szalazar blends upbeat electronic optimism and dreamlike atmospheres with a darker, brooding undertone. Described as a ‘tapestry of anxiety, euphoria and delirium; as beautiful as it is brutal’, they converge paths in their sound with elements from darkwave and cultish EBM, to new wave and new beat whilst giving it a new and exciting finish.


Club culture and live music is what makes Berlin’s music scene so great and diverse. Even better when bands are able to converge the best of both worlds on stage. By deliberately not sticking to one genre, incorporating inspired elements of techno and house amongst occasional guitars, dense basses and hypnotic vocals, the best way to describe Schœneberg and what they bring to the game is pure and simple: versatility and determination.


It’s no lie that R&B and soul have been under a reshuffle during the last couple of years. Benefiting from this season of change and rebirth acts like Kllo, SZA, Kelela or Sevdaliza, were able to jump straight to success. Based in a city that, as we all know, is heavily electronic-centered, Relatiiv, a Catalan-German three-piece band, are soon to receive the credit they deserve for thinking outside of the box and proving the point that Berlin’s music scene goes beyond experimental electronics and techno.


Singing outside the English spectrum is a risk that few dare to take. El Guincho, Las Bistecs and…. Las Ketchup made it outside their home country of Spain, while singing in their mother tongue. It’s also a risk Usted, moniker of Tenerife-born Roberto Miranda, is willing to take, alongside his loyal ukelele, while constructing experimental psychedelism alá Ariel Pink with a Spanish twist and the most amusing and characteristic live performances. His debut album Odoro is set for release this year, and trust me, usted won’t be disappointed.

*Honorable Mentions*


Mentioning Easter in Berlin has two possible outcomes and neither are related to the rebirth of Jesus. Max Boss and Stine Omar make devotional synth pop and their minimalism and incisive spoken word is one of their strongest assets as a band. Two albums, two EPs and a self-produced lo-fi soap opera brought them the attention and a willingness to deliver even more seductive and luscious music worthy of an art performance. They are an institution.

Valerie Renay

French-born Valerie Renay has been making a name for herself for the past ten years around Berlin and beyond. Half of the creative mind of pop-noir duo Noblesse Oblige, as a solo artist, Renay keeps pushing genre boundaries, exploring fields of punk, electronics, songwriting and is also able to build a bridge between music, performance art and fashion.