The minimalistic techno beats were pumping out from the massive speakers that hovered over the stage. The lightshow danced over the tranced crowd; people’s faces lit up for a moment, only to disappear into the dark the next. The last time I was in the Panorama Bar at Berghain was to see John Grant’s show, when the venue was used as a concert ground. Now it was in its element.
We had queued for half an hour, dressed in all black and trying to look as nonchalant as possible. We had discussed what to do if the bouncers were to deny us entry, even though we had been put on the Guest List. Are we just to walk away with our heads held high? Or should we argue with the tall men that blocked the way in to the infamous club? I was getting ready to do the latter. When we were first in the queue, I was preparing what to say in my head… but could I say it in German? The doorman took one look at us, then looked away.
”Who are you here to see?” he asked, with his eyes fixed at the queue.
”Monolake,” I said, hoping that I sounded cool enough to be allowed entry. He looked at us, then stepped aside and waved us in.
Monolake is a local Berlin DJ who, when he’s not performing at one of the most famous techno clubs in the world, goes by the name of Robert Henke. He’s a computer engineer who works for Ableton, but he also creates his own software to use whilst he’s on stage. As well as this, he has his own label called ’Imbalance Computer Music’ which he releases his music through.
The dance floor was already vibrating. We pushed our way into the middle of the crowd to get consumed by the experience. I was pleased with how much diversity there was amongst the crowd. It was 3am and Monolake was dictating our dance moves with his beats. He had a small desk set up on the stage and the Apple logo was clearly seen in the dark.
As this was my first time seeing Monolake live, I decided to take a walk around the dance floor to see if I could find some long-term fans of his. Under the staircase on the left side I found two men who were watching the stage like hawks. I approached them and asked if this was their first time seeing him play. Turns out that these guys never miss a show. They were praising his use of unconventional sounds and chain reactions, and said none of his sets had disappointed so far. I asked them if the venue had added anything to this particular set, but they both shook their heads frantically. ”Monolake is Monolake,” one of them said.
I made my way back to my friend in the middle of the crowd. The speakers kept pumping out minimalistic sounds and the light played over our faces once more.