Sample Music Festival: three days of handmade electronic music

26th June 2018


From Friday 31st August to Sunday 2nd September 2018, Berlin will host a unique three-day event called the Sample Music Festival. Held at several venues across Berlin, including the nightclub and cultural centre Cassiopeia, the Generator Hostel, HHV record store, Café Wendel and our very own BIMM Berlin, the festival is a showcase of handmade electronic music and one which BIMM Berlin is incredibly proud to be a part of. So we’ve invited the CEO of the Sample Music Festival, Alexander Sonnenfeld, to tell you all about it…

What’s the Sample Music Festival all about?

The Sample Music Festival (SMF) is a three-day musical interaction festival which has taken place annually in Berlin since 2015. It’s become an international symposium for handmade electronic music, also known as turntablism, finger drumming and live controllerism. SMF features jam sessions, a podium to exchange expert knowledge, open discussions and high-quality live performances. Making music by the live triggering of audio samples in electronic music will be explored and viewed from a theoretical standpoint at lectures, discussions and interactive workshops.

 How did SMF come to partner with BIMM? 

Since day one, our aim has been to work closely with cultural institutions and training establishments for music. BIMM is a big player in Berlin due to the variety of music education programmes and the artists who study there. At SMF, we’re happy to showcase a number of BIMM artists and bands including Min T, Lexodus and Eveline, who’ll definitely enrich this year’s line-up and hopefully attract people from outside the regular SMF community. 

Our mission is always to transcend boundaries between the underground scene of turntablism and finger drumming, and the students of music colleges, using research and development to build on existing knowledge to create new knowledge, to make music together and to link up. We can learn from each other, so let’s be a part of it together.


How does this musical exchange happen at the festival? 

Beside workshops, round tables and showcases, a big focus of the event is the connecting of manufacturers of music equipment with attendees in an intuitive way so that everyone who attends SMF 2018 can benefit. We strive to differ from a normal exhibition format, so we’ve set-up a ‘musical interaction room’ which is open every day from 4pm to 10pm. This area will be similar to a big rehearsal room, separate from the main stage, and many different activities will take place here. We’ve booked a variety of high-class sample music artists who’ll each initiate a one hour jam session, and the aim is to inspire attendees enough to jam with us.

Are there any other events musicians can participate in? 

During the festival, we run several competitions and jam sessions for different types of musicians. On Saturday at BIMM, a ‘Hands On’ finger drumming masterclass is planned at 12pm with BIMM Drum Tutor Tim Kroker. Anyone can attend, either with a machine and Mac, or just as a visitor to get an insight into how a pad controller can be used as a musical instrument. At 4pm there’ll be a big scratch competition called ‘Clash of the Titans’ featuring contestants from 12 different countries. In the evening we’ll run our annual finger drumming competition, and parallel to this is a beat making competition which takes place on the roof terrace of the Cassiopeia/RAW area.

 On Sunday we hook up with our friends from SampleSlam. Six music producers from different genre backgrounds receive a selected packet of samples four weeks before the slam evening. In that time they have to produce four tracks, with each track being no longer than three minutes. For the production of the tracks they can only use the given samples. Effects and tools for music production can be used, but no external instruments are allowed, and tracks can be in any genre. At the actual SampleSlam event, the producers then meet and battle each other in front of a jury and the crowd. The slammers can now use ‘organic’ instruments, such as guitar, beatbox or live vocals, to supplement their sets. The jury and the audience then decide which slammer makes their way to the finals and becomes the winner. Our partners are providing some really cool prizes for the winners of the different competitions too!

How do BIMM students get tickets? 

For the festival line-up and further information about the different events, workshops and competitions, please visit the Sample Music Festival website.

 To attend the festival, register by sending an email to [email protected]

 The festival is free of charge, except for Saturday night’s event which costs EUR 5,00 per ticket. See the festival website for more information.

 Thanks to SMF’s partnership with Generator Hostel Prenzlauer Berg, all attendees get a 15% discount on accommodation during the festival. Use the code SMF2018 when booking a room at www.generatorhostels.com

We look forward to seeing you there!

To find out more about studying music at BIMM Berlin, order a prospectus, book to attend one of our Open Days, or contact our Admissions Team on +49 303 11 99 186 or by email at [email protected]

 Photos by Scandalas and Ruth Zuntz.


Lucy Donovan

Lucy is the International Marketing Manager for BIMM Berlin and Hamburg.