Her Damit looks set to be one of the Summer’s most interesting European Festivals, not just in terms of sound, but also location. The Waveform Transmitter’s Ste Knight takes a look at what the German festival has in store.
It has become more and more commonplace, in recent years, for festival organisers to seek out locations that not only reflect their ethos and the musical styles they represent, but which also provide a setting that serves to inspire festival-goers. Happenstance may have forced the brains behind Her Damit to find a new home for 2018’s edition of the annual homage to techno and house music, but it has led them to an incredibly impressive location.
Situated some fifty kilometres outside of the capital, lies the Bunkeranlage Freudenberg; a now-decommissioned nuclear military facility, which is to act as the location for a 3-day festival that has been dubbed ‘Berghain outdoors’. The novel location, we will venture, seems like the perfect setting in which to pitch sonic warfare, as some of electronic music’s most exciting underground artists – both established and emerging – are confirmed to grace the decks.
Taking a shuttle bus 50 km out of Berlin, to enjoy house and techno, might seem like a nonsensical move to some. However, what must be considered, is that festivals of this nature are an annual occurrence, with months of production behind them. This kind of production, as well as the sense of wonder that only a festival can instill, makes the short ride to the military complex seem like a no-brainer. Besides, who doesn’t want to rave in the surroundings of a once-classified nuclear bunker?
The organisers behind the festival are no stranger’s to use of historical locations. Prior to the Bunkeranlage, the festival took place on the island of Rügen; another relic of Germany’s past, which happens to be a beach resort developed and built by Nazi Germany. The complex has, since Her Damit left the location, seen developers take over, remodelling the huge structure as living apartments. It seems that gentrification is certainly a global issue.
Not to be discouraged, organisers went in search of a new location, which is what has brought them to their newfound home. With an ethos that sees location playing a vital role in their festival, those behind the scenes will be concentrating on what the bunker has to offer in terms of visual stimuli. Playing on what already exists, rather than insisting on building a humongous stage in front of it, the surroundings will act as a canvas upon which projections can be flung, rather than something to be hidden away. Ironic, given the complex’s original use.
Her Damit will be split over three days, between 8th-10th June, with each day offering a selection of what curators consider the underground electronic music scene’s most influential artists. The line-up is meticulously well balanced, with attention paid to ensuring that both house and techno are equally represented, by emerging and established artists alike. With names like Norman Nodge and I Hate Models cropping up on the roster, alongside Kobosil and Grizzly, it is plain to see that the music program has been impeccably judged; rather than packing the bill with the usual ‘safety net’ names, curators have opted for artists who truly represent the underground ethos. Artists who contribute to the scene by the manner in which they approach and interpret their craft, rather than their ability to hit top spot in Beatport‘s ‘techno‘ chart.
Day and stage splits aren’t going to be confirmed until we are a little closer to the festival. However, with the full line-up already released, there is nothing stopping us from making a few friendly recommendations while you’re here. We’ve already mentioned the Berghain resident, Norman Nodge, who will be taking time out from being a lawyer to grace the decks at the techno bunker with some undoubtedly ferocious beats. Also mentioned was I Hate Models. If the French producer’s latest outing, Requiem of Desolation, is anything to go by, then we’ll be treated to some crackling trance-infused techno.
Next up is Tristan Hallis AKA the far from true-to-his-name DJ Boring. It is always a surprise whenever Boring turns up to play, as he is such a diverse DJ. His recent set at I ♥ Acid was an uncompromising exercise in acid techno, so it remains to be seen whether he takes the same route this time around, or whether he opts for something a little different. We’ll see. Dutch dynamo, Mirella Kroes, will be repping the minimal scene with one of her stripped-down, loopy techno sets, following up from her appearance at Vrijland Festival, where she opened ‘Der Harde Klapper’ stage.
Berlin’s house prodigy, Uta, will also be making an appearance at Her Damit‘s new home. Uta‘s style is based around the housey, post-dubstep sound, which makes for some perfect sub-fodder, particularly in the planned surroundings.
The enigmatic ItaloJohnson trio will be entering the booth at the barracks, giving audience members an intimate experience in which the music, not the people playing it, is the focus. Their hypnotising house sound is genuinely something to behold. Konstantin Sibold & Leif Müller are going toe-to-toe on the wheels, and Oliver Deutchsmann is also confirmed. Shed‘s exhilarating techno sound continues to make its presence known throughout the underground. No surprise, as he is a regular at the Ostgut Ton imprint. Having missed Shed on several occasions, I for one can’t wait to check him out.
Ilian Tape mainstay, Regen, aka Serbia’s Milos Pavlovic, is a critically acclaimed producer. No surprise, then, that he was picked up by the Zenker Brothers-ran label. His sets represent a whistful take on the techno/breakbeat hybrid that was spawned out of the nineties sound. Bleak, will be on hand with his live setup. The SecretSundaze and Delsin staple offers techno by the bucket-load with his array of gizmos. A recent set at Tresor should evidence his DJ skills for you, but you really should check out the live set below to see what kind of thing you can expect from the Stockholm producer.
You can check out the full Her Damit roster, below, but be sure to check back here in the next few days when we add the day and stage splits. We can’t wait to agonise over clashes! In the words of festival organisers – Bring. It. On. We’ll be providing live coverage on our social media channels, directly from the festival, so be sure to follow us on Instagram so we can see that you’re all horribly envious about not being there, when we are.
Alternatively, you can avoid bouts of molten jealousy by actually going to Her Damit festival. Tickets are still available and, for the line-up they have curated, they’re well worth the 99 euro price tag. Grab yours, here. Who’s in?