Gordon Raphael is a musician and record producer best known for his work on The Strokes’ ‘Is This It’ and ‘Room On Fire’, plus Regina Spektor’s debut ‘Soviet Kitsch’. As a visiting lecturer for BIMM Berlin, Gordon helped our students record and produce the BIMM Berlin Album, as well as delivering some sessions and working with some of the students as artists in their own right. We caught up with Gordon to find out more about his favourite places in Berlin.
Tell me a little about yourself and your career.
I’m someone who is very inspired by the power of creativity that I’ve seen throughout my life. Discovering a unique and astonishing chord pattern, poem, painting – or even a fantastic way to prepare food – is often the highlight of any day. I learned piano,
and some guitar, wrote a giant bunch of songs and never looked back. These days I’m recording, producing and mixing music for people in many cities, as well as working on my own music in my new band, The Half Full Flashes.
If your friends were visiting Berlin for one weekend only, where would you tell them to go?
I’d say to walk through Hackescher Markt, and go by the Spree around Museuminsel.
That’s my favourite walk and view of Berlin. The old and the new buildings co-existing, a great skyline and, for me, the best area to people-watch. I’d also tell them to see the Flohmarkt at Arkonaplatz.
Where’s your favourite place to eat in Berlin?
I love Berlin because it has the most bio/organic grocery stores AND vegan options I’ve ever seen in a city. Being a vegan or a vegetarian is far easier here than in any other city I’ve ever visited and, believe me, I’ve travelled almost constantly for the past 16 years! My favourite restaurants are: Ryong on Torstrasse, Shiso Burger on Auguststraße, The Bowl on Warschauer and Sfizy Veg – a punk rock Italian vegan pizza and pasta place in Neukölln.
Where’s your favourite place to listen to music in Berlin?
What makes Berlin so different to Seattle, where you’re originally from, and Manhattan, where you once lived?
In many ways Berlin is similar to certain time periods of both Seattle and Manhattan
that I liked very much. In earlier days in both cities there was more of this sense of freedom
and daring and boldness that doesn’t exist so much anymore due to the extreme wealth it takes to live there! It’s not so expensive to live in Berlin and so it attracts many creative and artistic types, still to this day. Berlin is different to both of those places in that it has no real ‘downtown’. I think that’s a rare and strange feature of this place. It’s also different to London, where I also lived, because the tempo and pace of living here is just much slower and more relaxed. The only thing that’s faster is the BPM at techno clubs – but I’m the wrong person to ask about that!
Hear more of Gordon’s music here.