Berlin is a city thick with Rock n’ Roll history. Today the tech world has joined the party and Berlin is a huge magnet for new creatives of all types. The rent is cheap, the drugs are many and the vibe energetic. If you’ve ever wondered if moving to Berlin would help your music career then check out the article ‘In Berlin, You Never Have to Stop’ by Robert Coleman. It’s a trip. Choice cuts below:
In April of this past year, my bandmates and I moved from Melbourne to Berlin for three months to write an album and play our first international shows.
..The city held an appeal for a young band like ours that Paris and London haven’t had since Orwell’s days — inexpensive living and a laid-back lifestyle. Defunct warehouses to practice in; gigs played in former spy towers; inspirational conversations with resident novelists and circus performers — these were all the scenarios we discussed in excited anticipation
…Initially, Berlin lived up to our romantic expectations. There were four of us — excluding overnight visitors — sharing a two-bedroom apartment in Neukölln for only 500 euros a month.
…Still in awe of the city myself, I asked if there were any drawbacks to living as a creative in Berlin. “In L.A., people actually get stuff done because you’ll go homeless if you don’t hustle. Here you can be superpoor for years and still live comfortably.”
…For us, it wasn’t for lack of inspiration that we weren’t producing music, but rather the number of distractions on offer. There is much for an artist to be inspired by in Berlin. The city has more bridges than Venice; countless museums and galleries; a healthy scattering of abandoned buildings and defunct amusement parks; and innumerable monuments and memorials steeped in history and emotion.
… The inexplicable energy of the city had taken us in, but instead of stimulating our music, it had only fueled our partying. We lost our “hustle.” And things disintegrated from there.
…Every day, rents are increasing and boroughs once dominated by artists are being gentrified. Will the artists contributing to Berlin’s economy be forced out? Will the increases in rent and the cost of living force the creative tourists to “hustle” more, and “get stuff done”? Or will they just move on to the next city where beer is cheaper than bottled water and a two-bedroom apartment costs peanuts to rent?
As for our band, it’s on a hiatus…even if we do get the band back together, outstanding fines will prevent us from returning to Germany. Sadly, future gigs in the basement of Berliner record stores are not in the cards.
It would be ridiculous to blame a city for lack of creative output…In the end, the city’s lifestyle, with all its distractions, outweighed our aspirations and our will to succeed. Three months in the creative mecca taught me an important lesson about creativity: It’s not something you will find in a place. (More here)