Berlin is known worldwide for being home to one of the most influental and thriving scenes for electronic music and club culture. Countless musicians and DJs are based here and are successful with their productions and in the clubs, not just here in Berlin but also all over the world, often with the “Made in Berlin” seal of approval.
Jan Blomqvist is one of the young talents of Berlin’s electronic music scene that managed to stick out of the masses and within only a few years he gained a huge fanbase that reaches far beyond the city limits. He grew up with the success of legendary clubs such as Bar25 and its follow-up Kater Holzig. Now he plays in the most popular clubs in the world and at big festivals. His music is a clever fusion of melodic electro-pop, deep house and minimal techno – a combination that melted the hearts of many club goers and music lovers. His last EP was released back in July and features his summer hit Time Again which is one of his most impressive tracks to date.
We visited Jan in his studio on a lovely Autumn day and talked with him about his music and his relationship to Berlin before we went with him to explore some of his favorite places in the city. Enjoy our interview and exclusive photo series with Jan Blomqvist after the jump. We would like to give a warm thank you to Italien menswear label Antony Morato who supplied us with oufits for the photo shooting and inspired us with its #antonymoratoplaces focused on creative European cities. Enjoy the perspective on our city through the eyes of one its most promising musicians
We are now here with you in your Studio. What is the ideal creative place for you? What does it require for you to make your music?
It’s really important for me to be in a bright and pleasant environment. I couldn’t work in a studio without a window, I would die. It shouldn’t be cluttered with unnecessary things. I like it puristic, rough, industrial and clean. Pretty much like in a good club. But without people in it. I also have a problem working when I am surrounded by plastic, that’s actually an odd thing. Wood, stone and metal really inspire me. But I couldn’t work in an airplane for instance, probably because there is too much plastic around me, haha. An old library would be perfect, but you couldn’t be too loud in there. With headphones it could work though, I should try this out. It’s actually a good idea, thanks for bringing up that question!
You live in Prenzlauer Berg. It’s pretty much the soy-latte-mom area of Berlin. What brought you here and what do you like about it?
I’v always been here, now more than 12 years. There used to be a lot of culture here, long before the soy latte. There were a lot of squat houses, it was very different back than. There was art and music and 1000 electro parties everywhere. It was really exciting. But it was always certain that it wouldn’t remain this paradise forever. But for me it’s still very nice and I love my apartment and my studio here. I wouldn’t want to leave my place here. And I have an old contract for my apartment, so I am not stressed out to find something else. And I got older, too, unfortunately. I don’t necessarily have to live in the most hip area of town. I like this peaceful neighborhood. It has a good atmosphere to work.
But this doesn’t mean that I am not critical towards the gentrification, quite the contrary, I’m referring mostly to my 12 year old flat, don’t get me wrong. I’m not the soy latte type either.
Here on the grounds of the Holzmarkt there used to be the famous Bar25. Across the river there was the Kater Holzig and in the meantime we have the Katerblau next door. Was this your playground? What special moments did you experience here? What connects you to this place?
For 10 years I was here pretty much every weekend. It was unbelievable. In the beginning there was just a sofa and a remodeled trailer with decks and mixers – a mobile DJ booth. I think it actually still exists today somewhere.
The Bar25 was magical. Once you entered it was simply impossible to leave again. Everyone played here.
I pretty much saw all of the most important and beautiful clubs of Europe by now and really have a hard time to imagine that there is ever going to be a club again as beautiful as the Bar25 anywhere in the world.
What other places in Berlin do you think are exciting and special?
I think Berlin is generally still quite exciting because it constantly changes and reinvents itself. Sometimes it hurts when beautiful places disappear, but somehow Berlin manages to open a new one the next day, one that is maybe even more beautiful. That’s why I wouldn’t name any specific places here, but the mere fact that everything constantly changes. And that is a good thing, because when things stand still that is pretty much the worst thing that can happen if you want to work creatively.
Speaking of the constant change of Berlin: In which direction should Berlin develope in your opinion? And what should Berlin definately always hold on to?
For me it’s really important that the music scene of the city remains alive and keeps growing. I think Berlin is pretty much the only retreat for us musicians in Berlin. It would be a cultural catastrophe if something would stop us from working here peacefully. I can’t understand what’s going wrong in this country where the administrations treats musicians and club owners like dirt. At least Berlin should remain the last cultural sanctuary. It would of course be even better if other cities would finally also leave some space for culture. But I don’t want to ask for too much so I would be happy if at least in Berlin they would stop kicking artists out of their studios and work places to make room for yet another department store chain. A society without culture will always lead to a catastrophy. We can’t live simply off of consumption. We can’t eat or kiss money. All of the “complaining neighbors” should not only think about themselves, but consider the club culture of this city and how to preserve it. Words like “Ruhestörung” and “Lärmbelästigung” probably don’t even exist in other languages. Why should they here?