Roosevelt’s Guide To Cologne’s Perfectly Sized Scene
THE Cologne music scene is the perfect size. It’s small enough to know people personally and to be connected with each other, but big and vibrant enough to still discover new things, and for it to be relevant in Germany.
It has a lot of history in electronic music – the ‘Studio für Elektronische Musik’ was one of the first studios for electronic music in the world, founded in 1951. People like Karlheinz Stockhausen did their first pieces of music based there on synthesizers.
These roots in electronic music can be seen today still, with labels like Kompakt being still very present. But for me, the spirit in this city has been so inspiring, because it’s not dependent on particular genres.
It came quite naturally to me, to mix things up and to go my own way. Being a resident at Total Confusion – the party run by the Kompakt DJs Tobias Thomas, Michael Mayer and Superpitcher – had a big impact of my understanding of music as well. While this was more of a techno party, there was a huge sense of freedom to play whatever you felt like playing in the moment.
So it’s not a big surprise, or perceived as ironic by people if you took an unconventional turn in your set and played a disco track in the middle of the night – as long as it served the vibe of the room and people felt it.
In bigger cities, genres seem to be a bit more separated from each other and every style of music has its own infrastructure.
What I always liked about Cologne is that everything is somehow connected, and that was maybe important for me when creating my own style without the need to fit into certain genre limitations.
This mysterious collaborative fusion-jazz project from Cologne is one of the most exciting things in the city right now, and it’s made a big impact on the music scene.
Marius and Georg from Coma were my very first musical companions when I moved to Cologne. We were sharing a studio space back then and I did a remix for them that got released by Kompakt. I have been playing drums for some of their live shows over the past few years.
Von Spar have had a serious reputation for Kraut-influenced four-to-the-floor beats in Cologne ever since their most inspiring album Foreigner in 2008. Although my favourite track, ‘Chain Of Command’, is from their latest album from 2014, which took a detour into more loose yacht rock.