Interview: Christian Vance & Claire Morgan

Australians just love Berlin. Christian Vance and Claire Morgan of Aussie record label Haul Music are the best examples. We talked with them about their fascination with Berlin and how the city compares to their respective homes in Down Under. Enjoy the interview after the jump and don’t miss their DJ sets on Saturday at the Goon of Fortune party at Backyard.

Since when do you live in Berlin?

Christian: Since last August really, although I’ve been here on and off over the last six years. Never in the winter though.

Claire: Since summer 2012.

How is your life different compared to Australia?

Christian: Right now? Heaps (that’s Australian for “alot”). I was actually just back home to play some gigs and visit family. The weather was really warm and I was looking forward to the German Springtime. Looking out my window right now at the snow is the main difference I’m feeling. Was für ein beschissenes Wetter!

Claire: I was gigging relentlessly in Australia, right up until the day before left, so it was great to arrive and take a deep breath, explore Europe
and soak up the endless inspiration around me. It’s difficult to establish yourself in any new city, I don’t think that is particular  to Berlin. It does feels a lot more like home now that I have shipped over some vinyl and my synthesisers, and I’m now finally setting up a studio. So…I think you guys are stuck with me now.

What is the difference in nightlife/partying between Berlin and Melbourne regarding people, clubs and music taste ?

Christian: Berlin really is like a world capital for clubbing and in particular for what most people would call underground dance music. Melbourne has some great parties but only a few every month or so. The world scene for this music is becoming slightly homogenised and you can see trends in Melbourne following those in a place like Berlin fairly soon after. The internet has really changed that. I feel that both cities are referred to as the cultural or creative centres of their respective countries and this is evident in the music taste too. I would say there are many similarities but in Berlin you can choose to engage in it any night of the week and stay out until the next day.

Claire: Berlin is a non-stop assault of the best artists in the business, every night of the week.The crowds are an international melting pot of locals and tourists,any given night can go on for days and people are generally a little ‘gentler’ in their partying habits here. Sydney is fast and furious, the crowds are tanned, healthy and totally nuts and the parties rock hard. There is much to be proud of in both cities!

How welcome is a dj from Australia?

Christian: Really interesting question really. I think for most Aussies they already had friends through the music industry already living in Berlin. This helps the transition on many levels. From all the times I’ve played here I would say very welcoming.

Claire: Berlin is rather swamped by DJs from all countries, and telling people you’re a DJ is generally met with a bit of an eye-roll and a change of topic, haha.

And which clubs do Australians like?

Christian: All of them! It’s true! Every European Summer my facebook news feed is full of Aussies and their Berlin club adventures.

Claire: Berghain and Panorama Bar, of course. Club der Visionaere and about:blank are also popular.

Why are Australians coming to Berlin? It is cold and nasty, what is the actual reason they come and even stay for a while?

Claire: Berlin is basically the polar opposite of what we are accustomed to. It’s cheap, grimey, covered in graffiti, steeped in history and culture, and full of artists who can actually afford to live and create their art. The city is completely land-bound, it can be tough to find a great meal but the beer is cheaper than water. Beer is very important to

Christian: Young Australians in particular can apply for a 12 month working visa in Germany and many love Berlin because of the vibe. For many creative Aussies they can also apply for an artist visa and stay on a little while longer. Regardless of the hype it truly is a beautiful place to stay if you love these things. Music, art and nightlife are attractive to many and the cold and snow is like an adventure.

Tell us about your dj life/label-what has changed since you came here? Is it hard to establish in Berlin after you did well in Australia?

Christian: It’s interesting because my decision to be in Berlin was for a variety of reasons and not just for electronic music. I think, as an Aussie, it’s quite amazing to jump on a plane and play a gig in another country after a 1 hour flight. You can do that from Berlin. We just don’t have that luxury back home – it’s 8 hours flight just to Singapore. This is an important thing for us. I think it will take some time to get the feel of the entire scene in the city just like anywhere but I literally love the fact that a friends of mine from all across the planet play here on a regular basis and it’s great to talk shop with them more often. It feels like all the interaction happens much more quickly and new ideas are coming on every day. Hopefully over time Berliners would like to hear what I might have to say through music. I’m feeling really open and positive to share all that and the music from our label.

Claire: I have been traveling a lot, listening to other people’s music for a change, andwearing many, many layers of thermal clothing.

What music do you favour?

Claire: House and Techno, anything raw, emotional and deep. I tend to favour music from Detroit, Chicago and NYC, but the UK scene, as it has always done, produces some ludicrous talent. I love old records, new records, and usually play a pretty broad range of styles, influences and energies.

Christian: So tough this one.. I’ve been playing house and techno since the 90s and my penchant for all things Detroit and Chicago will probably never die. I still listen to and play alot of this music. In a more intimate DJ set I’ve even been throwing some edits down of Aussie synth pop tracks from the 80s. It’s like a current fetish. I even have been making this weird hybrid of music for my live shows recently too.

Is there a typical Australian sound you’re keeping when playing here?

Christian: There’s some great Aussie electronic stuff right now.. from quite deep house and disco through to the dubby textured sounds of my homeboy Craig McWhinney. We run our label, Haul Music, with another mate Mike Callander. I will definitely be playing the spectrum of music we have on there.

Claire: I don’t think I have ever had a typical Australian sound, but since moving here I seem to be developing a rather healthy addiction to local techno.

Where have you been playing so far?

Christian: I’ve enjoyed playing at Tresor, Chalet for the Away party, Prince Charles last week for the T room sessions… there’s some great venues in this city.

Claire: I’ve actually been playing in other countries much more than in Berlin, Czech Republic in particular has been really welcoming and full of the most awesome people to share music with. I’ve just returned from a pretty hectic but incredible tour back in Australia, and in a couple of weeks I’m playing in Istanbul which I cannot wait for! In Berlin my favourite gig so far has got to be the first Unter Freundinnen party, such a brilliant crowd and run by a super sweet group of people.

And now tell us: Why should people come to Goon of Fortune on Saturday?

Claire: We’ll play you some killer music and teach you the joys of wearing Cheezels on your fingers.

Christian: Because it’s better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. (you might want to look that up) .. oh.. and because we want to bring a bit of proverbial Aussie sunshine to Berlin!

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