Volker is a keyboard player, producer and engineer with an eclectic stylistic range.
Over the years he’s worked with Dixon and 4Hero and shared the stage with household names like The Temptations, Alexander O’Neal and Chuck Loeb. He has also played with acts as diverse as live drum ‘n’ bass band Analogue Freestyle, singer-songwriters Clara Hill, Astrid North and Erik Penny, and DJ collective Jazzanova.
His own bands include the electro-dub-jazz act Eric Schaefer & The Shredz, the 15 piece Sonar Kollektiv Orchester, the free jazz formation Projekt Schwedt, and the broken beat project Meitz.
Volker is also the BIMM Berlin Module Leader for Studio Management, and Audio Theory and Acoustics. Here we find out all there is to know about Volker’s best bits of Berlin.
IF YOUR FRIENDS WERE VISITING BERLIN FOR ONE WEEKEND ONLY, WHERE WOULD YOU TELL THEM TO GO?
I guess that would depend on what their interests were — and on the weather and time of year too. In the summer, they could hang and have an urban swim at the floating lido Badeschiff in Kreuzberg or, if they prefer natural waters, take the S1 to Schlachtensee lake – maybe with a stopover at the Botanischer Garten in Steglitz.
If they’re keen to take a stroll and soak up the vibe of the neighbourhood, a nice tour is from Oranienplatz down to Görlitzer Bahnhof, and then either south to the KreuzKölln area and down to Donaustraße, or follow the U-Bahn viaduct through to the Oberbaumbrücke and then to Friedrichshain.
If they were interested in Berlin’s history… or if it was raining… I would send them to the Mauermuseum in Wedding and the one at Checkpoint Charlie. There’s also the Museumsinsel in Mitte where the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Bode Museum, Pergamon Museum are located (and Chancellor Merkel lives literally across the street – look out for the security guys in front of the door).
If they could muster the patience to stand in line for what feels like forever, I’d tell them to go up the Berliner Fernsehturm TV tower at Alexanderplatz for a nice view across town.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO EAT IN BERLIN?
I’m really bad with picking absolute favourites, so I guess I’ll just have to name a few!
Korean food and sushi: Omoni @ Kopenhagener Straße, Prenzlauer Berg. The sushi master is amazing to watch and they serve great authentic food… indicated by the many Koreans who regularly dine there.
Chinese: Good Friends @ Kantstraße, Charlottenburg. It’s very authentic too – a couple of dishes on the menu are displayed in Chinese writing only, so I’m not sure what they are. Maybe chicken feet?
Russian: Pasternak @ Knaackstraße / Rykestraße, Prenzlauer Berg. It has an extensive menu, a classic atmosphere and great food – just the sort of place to take your parents to!
French: Brasserie Lamazère @ Stuttgarter Platz, Charlottenburg. This is in the upper price range, but those who appreciate fine dining will definitely get what they pay for.
German: Zum Schusterjungen @Eberswalder and Lychener Straße, Prenzlauer Berg. Classic German food (Hausmannskost) in a no-nonsense pub atmosphere.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO LISTEN TO MUSIC IN BERLIN?
Honestly, it’s the control room of my friend and sound engineer Martin Ruch, because he has a pair of the best monitors I’ve ever heard – the Strauss ME-2 – in a well-treated room.
Studio atmosphere and ultimate sound quality aside, I’d say Donau 115 because of its unpretentious charm and well-curated live music programme. I also like Wilde Renate because the mixture of improvised and artful decoration reminds me of the old days in the 1990s when most clubs had a similar appeal (and when most of the residential buildings in the eastern centre looked like the Renate building does today from the outside).
WHAT MAKES BERLIN SO DIFFERENT TO WHERE YOU’RE ORIGINALLY FROM?
I grew up in a small town in the catchment area of Hamburg, so in comparison to that, Berlin seems more vibrant and definitely more diverse when it comes to cultural life. As to it’s ‘melting pot’ quality, I’d say it’s a smaller version of New York or London.
Musically, it’s regarded as an international mecca, not only for electronic genres, but also for the field of improvised music and experimental jazz, which I’ve been getting into in recent years.
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