How to be a Successful Creative in Berlin

photo: BORSHCH

In recent years Berlin has become an international hub for creatives from all around the globe. Affordable living costs, creative freedom and living a life of the beaten track made the German capital an attractive moving destination, chosen over buzzing cities like London or New York more and more. And where there is creative energy, there are people coming together to start new and exciting projects whether in music, film, fashion, or something completely different. But, starting something new is oftentimes easier said than done. So, what do you have to reckon with when you start a “Do it yourself” project, and what role does Berlin play in that process? We met up with two “DIY” experts who know.

Mariana and Tiago should be quite content. They did it! They had an idea which became a dream, and then they struggled through all the different steps, phases and setback to finally realize their dream project: Their own Magazine. The magazine is called BORSHCH, and it’s first issue was released in late April. Both of them have always been fond of the printed magazine as a format. So, instead of following the easy road, and just publishing their magazine online, BORSHCH is only availble the oldschool analog way: On printed paper.

photo: BORSHCH

BORSHCH is a magazine about electronic music. But, instead of focusing on the DJ booth and the experience of a club space, as most mediums do, BORSHCH goes behind the scenes. “We wanted to talk to electronic artists, explore the mechanisms of creating electronic music. Not only the technological way but the emerging of ideas, how they become embodied,” Mariana explains. Starting a project on electronic music in Berlin seems to make a whole lot of sense. Still, not a guarantee for direct success. No matter what your idea is, and no matter where you are, the world is there to complicate things. But, how complicated is Berlin really?

Berlin, this city can be your blessing or your curse as a creative. So many artists, thinkers and self-starters move here, and this city becomes more international and diverse day by day. One big, inclusive playground to connect and get to know new and interesting people. It was essentially Berlin’s creative atmosphere that influenced Mariana to go from dream to making things happen. “Your ideas are valid in Berlin, nothing is just a dream. There is a certain vibe of: Yeah let’s do it” Tiago has similar thoughts: ”I don’t speak German but I am doing this in Berlin. That says a lot! I think there are certain circumstances that help you if you’re not from here. I mean, you go to Neukölln and it might be difficult to find someone who speaks German, you know.”

Then however, there is Berlin – The distracting beast. No other city makes it so easy for you to always ‘do’ something while your life is actually turning in circles. The BORSHCH team might have the most basic, but also the most important advice if your project should ever go anywhere: “Stay focused! Maybe, you have to do less of the things that give you pleasure.” So, it might be fewer night outs but many life steps more. And, if the people around you are truly your friends and supporters, they will understand your absence at the bar or on the dance floor.

Still, even if you have focus, aren’t there way more obstacles to overcome? Yes. But, Tiago advices everyone to not overthink the process. This will just get you back on your sofa. German bureaucracy, laws, restrictions, costs, and more costs, all these things might seem like obstacles, but they are just ghosts wanting to torment you. Even with a background in journalism and graphic design, do you think these two knew how to start a printed magazine? No. Where there is a problem, there is a solution. “Ask questions. Somebody will know the answer. Someone can connect you. You just have to know what you want!”.

photo: BORSHCH

In times of social media, we get easily scared. It is all out there, all these other creations already polished and seemingly perfect. We see, swipe and click too much and think we can never create anything remotely similar. But, we don’t know what the story, behind that ‘thing’ we admire, is. “You have to put something out and then you have to grow from it. It only matters that you like what you are doing. Other opinions do matter but ultimately, you have to like it,” Tiago explains and Mariana adds: “Everything is the result of someone’s development which is a chance for your development. Your first trial is not your final result.”

Things will go wrong and should go wrong. That’s the process! Mariana has a particularly horrifying example in stock: “I didn’t save a whole interview I did with Robert Henke. It was a long interview. I didn’t know what to say but I faced it and they invited me again. I learned while I was doing it. It’s always trial and error.” An error that let to a beautiful second interview published in their first issue.

These two creatives prove that you can have no excuses if you wanna make your ideas happen here. Whatever comes your way, it can be solved. If you use Berlin the right way, it can be a catalyst for your dreams. It certainly was for Mariana and Tiago. The second issue of BORSHCH will be published this winter, including new insights behind the scenes of electronic music with featured artist,  like Panorama Bar Resident Steffi and Techno super power Rødhåd, who talk about the process of creating their latest albums, and comprehensive articles on electronic music scenes in places like Kiev . The launch of their second issue will be at the 2nd of December at Blender Studio Neukölln.

So, when are you starting your project?

Andy by
on October 12th, 2017
updated on October 17th, 2017
in Art, People, Stories
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