Paul Kalkbrenner is one of the best German DJs of today, having released various successful albums and even starred in the acclaimed film ‘Berlin Calling’, a film that’s a perfect reflection of contemporary culture in Berlin.
At the time of choosing our destination to travel, we have various cities that provide various different kinds of trips. If we go to Rome, it’s all about history; if we go to Paris it’s all about the monuments and romance; if we go to Barcelona it’s all about the food and the architecture; however, if we go to stay in Berlin aside from the important historical aspect of the city, it’s most striking side is how modern and contemporary the city is, what could be labelled as the avant-garde city of Europe. Electronic music is a huge part of Berlin’s culture, with some of the best clubs and DJs in the world performing every night in the German capital. One of them, however, stands out for his originality and ability to continually bring up amazing music and perform incredible live gigs: Paul Kalkbrenner.
Paul Kalkbrenner was born in the East German city of Leipzig, a few miles southwest of Berlin, in 1977 but he grew up in the German capital. At a young age he started learning music and playing the trumpet. He then began DJing in East Berlin youth clubs until he signed for the BPtich Control label, run by the famous DJ Ellen Allien, releasing his first EP in 1999. Kalkbrenner’s sound was different, there was something different to it that can be distinguished from the rest of the electronic music that we hear today, it was almost… soulful. He says that the city of Berlin influences his music, that when the summer is over, the rain and the fog that dawn upon the city bring that melancholic air that we can find in his music. He does not like to be called a DJ since he only plays his own music at the sessions he performs in and doesn’t play anyone else’s.
After the release of his first LPs ‘Zeit’ and ‘Sumperimpose’ , he started to make a name for himself in the Berlin club scene. In 2004, came his big break, ‘Self’ an album which caught the eye and hearing of many in Germany, especially the film director Hannes Stöhr. He wanted to make a film about Berlin’s contemporary techno scene and DJs, and he wanted Kalkbrenner to do the soundtrack for it. He then came up with the idea that Kalkbrenner himself should play the main role in his film, and that’s how ‘Berlin Calling’ was made, in 2008. This film is the perfect depiction of Berlin’s contemporary culture, and it shows what the nightlife in the city is about and the different types of personalities of people of the city.
The soundtrack to Berlin Calling was a huge hit all around Europe, especially with the song ‘Sky and Sand’, which has his brother Fritz’s vocals in it, and it broke many sales records and reached the #1 spot in charts around the continent. The album also has other huge hits like ‘Aaron’ and ‘Azure’. The film and the soundtrack opened the doors of Europe to Paul Kalkbrenner, who has been playing ‘live’ concerts around the continent ever since.
In 2011 he released ‘Icke Wieder’ a new album which has been highly successful and that promises to carry on where he left off with ‘Berlin Calling’.