top of page

The fall of the Berlin Wall: Underground techno scene's effect on the people

Kamryn Mansell

The collapses of communism, and subsequently, the Berlin Wall are icons of the political upheavals that mark the 20th century, but in reality, t

The collapses of communism, and subsequently, the Berlin Wall are icons of the political upheavals that mark the 20th century, but in reality, the roots of that upheaval were planted in a techno pop cultural desire for individual freedom.

Techno pop is a type of electronic stylized music that was rapidly growing in popularity around the world in the 70s and 80s and was already considered a subculture in Berlin. As the Berlin Wall was demolished, young people took their newfound freedom to unite through electronic techno music and carefree lifestyle. As the chains of communism began to loosen, and then finally fall off, what was a subculture climbed out of its underground and morphed into Berlin’s mainstream culture thus snowballing the growth of the electronic music scene not only in Berlin, but worldwide. 

The term ‘rush of collective ecstasy’ was coined and used to explain the atmosphere around these celebrations of new opportunities and self-empowerment in the heart of Berlin.

According to the 2008 film, SubBerlin - Underground United, people found themselves so entranced by the promise of a future filled with endless amounts of hope and peace they felt as if they themselves were able to conjoin and become one with the crowds filled with like-minded young people of Berlin. 

Original clubs such as Ostgut are no longer running in modern day Berlin due to the construction of current day buildings such as the Mercedes-Benz Arena, which is why the club Tresor is so infamous even in the current Berlin party scene. Tresor began in an abandoned department store bunker that was transformed into a safe haven for people to express themselves. Women and members of the LGBTQ+ community came to these underground clubs to escape prejudice and harassment from the outside world. 

Through the desire to have more possibilities to create and be creative, jobs such as a Techno DJ became more known. Work involving musical art was being recognized more and by the late 1990s there were various acclaimed techno DJs in the Berlin underground techno scene for instance, Ricardo Villalobos.

 Rough concrete walls and floors of the bunker were the initial inspiration for the harder underground resistance type of music and spirit. Various people that were actually involved in the Berlin 90s techno scene would argue that the music and raves were strictly apart from politics at the time, serving as a mere distraction from politics and solely focusing on feeling liberated.

 It is undeniable that the desire for liberation led to a powerful sense of autonomy amongst the young citizens of Berlin. Current German youthful rebellion is clearly founded in the social lives of their parents as we can discover from the archaeology of the now defunct clubs. 

The explosion of the techno scene in Berlin was monumental in the development of the future of Berlin. Not only did techno provide liberation for citizens who had just experienced huge changes within their political, economic, and governmental institutions, it attracted people from all over the globe to Berlin due to their electronic music raves. Techno pop unified the West and East Berliners and shaped the philosophies of current decision-makers of central Europe.

bottom of page