Quadratic Wave from Italy to Berlin: an interview with TIQ
An interview with DJ NEUE K and Licia (TIQ)
How did happen that you came to Berlin and how have you discovered the Duncker for the first time?
It was 1999 and we were early 20s when we decided to make our first trip together indeed to Berlin: 15 days to accomplish a task, which was to be able to visit every clubs from the Underground – Gothic scene. The year before some friends of us spent a month here and they gave us a list of all gothic clubs in the city, where there was also the Duncker, naturally in first place.
So we arrived in town intentionally on a Monday and after a15-hour train ride we decided to quickly leave our stuff at the hostel in Schöneberg and take a taxi direction Dunckerstraße. The taxi driver didn’t know neither the club nor the street and the flyer we had from the past year didn’t help him at all. Then we made our first in a long list of mistakes in German language: we interpreted “ab 22” as the street number so we got out of the taxi in Dunckerstraße 22 in front of a closed shop. Bummer. We suddenly thought that the club was definitively closed and we couldn’t blame gentrification at that time. Happy ending of a great start: while we were drinking in a near-by bar we saw some Grufties on the street and following them (literally, not in a virtually like in some today’s social network) we wound up into a club which we never really left.This was 20 years ago and Ørlög is still one of the djs and promoters that we hold in the highest esteem.
Could you describe how in your opinion the dark-wave scene in Berlin has changed during the past years?
“Nothing is constant in life but change”.
We don’t feel enslaved by the past or hostage of the future. In our opinion, the dark-wave scene has evolved during the past years and we’re not worried about this changing as we are about global climate and political change. Every month at TIQ there are always someone who was present at the first event and someone who come for the first time. It often happens that some both veterans and newcomers express positive view about the night and say to us heartfelt thanks. We’re certainly grateful of. And we feel so lucky to have such a wonderful, motivated, crazy and polite crowd.
It seems like the minimal synth wave contemporary musical production is often crossing paths with techno music. Is the minimal wave scene getting swallowed by the techno oriented one?
Minimal Synth wave and techno aren’t two completely different worlds.
Looking to the dawn of techno it’s easy to understand how the distinguishing elements of this genre are exactly the same common denominators of what we call minimal synth wave: pulse/beat of the rhythmic structure, use of synthesizers and fusion of experimental code and pop’s tradition.Furthermore, the first instruments used to produce techno music were second hand cheap synthesizers (Roland TR-090 / Roland 808 / Roland TB-303).
Both kind of musics are born to hit a moving body using dry rhythm, a ritualistic approach, minimalism (obtained with the extreme reduction of the elements that make up the track) and repetition; also the desired goal is the same: to make dance concentrated like in a trance.
When we lived in Florence we were surrounded by fights between scenes (dark vs electronica, floor A vs B, people who dressed in gothic style vs people who dressed in fluo and coloured plastic) and since we moved in Berlin we got the chance to slowly overcome such Manichean-thinking and sectarian attitude. It’s for this reason that we are satisfied to have created and carried out a party loved and supported by different alternative scenes, managing to enlarge the scene or giving our contribute to create a new one.
So, to go back to the original question: we don’t think that the minimal wave scene is getting swallowed by the techno oriented one. Nowadays, anyone who goes to some good techno club can notice that more and more often djs are playing tracks with ebm and post-punk influences and dark sonority. Already in 2016 TIQ has been involved in an event which took place at techno’s temple Berghain, where Martial Canterel played alongside Qual and Fixmer/McCarthy. The “dark-spot” is spreading also in the fashion trends; black is the main colour on the dancefloor and some stylistic features belonging to gothic culture are even more frequent. Therefore, can we say that the techno scene is getting swallowed to minimal wave /dark oriented one?
Maybe it could be better to see this phenomenon as a two-lane road, a reciprocal exchange: nothing is getting swallowed, but some things are getting well chewed and digested.
What is your opinion about the new musical production in the minimal wave scene. Do you have favourite labels or favourite bands?
The new musical production in the minimal wave scene is prolific. Most of the projects have both melodic and danceable songs and we’re noticing that italo-disco’s influences are more and more common.
Rather then favourite bands, we have favourite tracks for specific moments. Taste can change over time but we there are two artists who have always a special place in our hearts: Petra Flurr, Sean (Martial Canterel).We have been thinking a lot how to reply about our favourite labels, but we don’t want to leave anyone out. We can say that our favourite label ever could be the one who will want to help us release a 10 years TIQ’s compilation. (That’s an open call!)
A big part of the Minimal Synth Wave scene moved from New York City to Berlin in the past years. Some of the causes of this migration were political, and even gentrification has played an important role in this process.
How do you see the future of this scene in Berlin now that gentrification is making difficult to find free spaces for creative people? How do you think that will influence the club culture in Berlin?
This migration is not only from NY, but from a great part of Central-South America, from most of all the European countries and from some part of Asia. Berlin is the current “Big apple”. In some ways gentrification makes gentrification and we all experiencing this situation day by day. Anyway, we really don’t care about nations and any kind of borders. Rather than being interested about where people are from, we’re curious to see where people will go.
The most creative people can find always spaces where to create. For example this could happen by “degentrifying” some areas and trying to avoid to do the same things everybody does in the same places everybody goes.
Anecdote: the first ever TIQ’s event (2010) took place in a small venue that now is Kili’s storage space. On an Internet forum of the time a guy wrote more or less so: “who are these stupid people organizing this stupid party in this stupid area” (Wiesenweg/Ostkreuz). And another one replied: “I was there to check the place and it seems like a shoebox, or better a boots-box”(alluding to Italy’s shape). If we’d have let us break down by these words (which actually made us laugh) there’d have been 103 occasions less to let people dance and have fun. (103 is the number of official TIQ’s event from that night to today).
It’s always more difficult to find free minds that free spaces.
We don’t know how the club culture will be influenced by gentrification, but we can quote a phrase which we saw in the early 2000s during a Fuck Parade: “A city without Subculture is like a soup without salt”.
Contemporary musicians from the minimal synth wave scene are nowadays widespread all around the world. How do you, search for music?
We use and integrate different sources: Discogs and all the internet platforms, advice from friends, regular visit to record shops. And sometimes music finds us.
Do social media and new media make your search for new music easier or more difficult?
How would you describe the difference between older and contemporary music productions?
We could talk about “loudness war” but we aren’t producers so we can’t go deeper.
How (and when) did the TIQ project start? Could you talk a little about the concept behind TIQ?
TIQ started in 2010, 1 year after we relocated in Berlin. Previously we were organizing with some friends events in Florence, especially at C.P.A. where we brought the best post-punk and death-rock bands from all over the Europe (and more) with a lot of fun. We learned a lot during these years and once we arrived here we decided to wait a reasonable time to understand better what do. At that time the most popular style was death-rock, but we were already minimal-synth oriented and especially we would never do something that was already there.
The story is long and also funny, because at the beginning everything happened in a natural way.
The initial push to start a project was to do something in the place where we used to go very often. Knochenbox wasn’t a club and nobody from the dark scene knew it, but we loved that place for its unique atmosphere and especially for the collective of people behind it (Coost & Czentrifuga). At some point we decided to ask them to give us the space for a night and we got a date; well, there was overbooking and we had to change the location last minute. A friend of us (actually the same guy who made us discover Knochenbox, grazie Mamo!) suggested us to try with this brand-new Kili which was, at the time, a simple storage space with a small bar (practically a shoe-box).
The right location was since the beginning an important point for us and that means a place where we could feel better than at home. When Knochenbox closed it was a blow for us and for our guests, but luckily we found Hangar 49, where we could start again with a great staff and also the possibility to host bands to play. concept was born from a brain with 4 heads that wanted to listen(and dance) to more music without guitars. This kind of music started to be called “quadrata” from one of us (Valentina B.) and then Licia decided to name the party accordingly to underline this idea: Tanz Im Quadrat, from Die Tödliche Doris song which, better of all, exemplify the play on words “quadratic-wave”.
No matter if the sound comes from the past, the present or the future:
“Wir tanzen im Viereck, wir tanzen konzentriert”.
Which are your plans for the future?
Our plans are to go on step by step, focused on the now and on the dancefloor.
Which is the perfect recipe for a successful party concept?
The ingredients list for a lasting successful party is very long and complex. We think that the success is mainly somethings of high quality and long-lasting; the basic ingredients are:
Create an own identity without copying what others do.
Don’t try to make everybody happy at the same time.
Make a party where you’d love to go.
High focus on the details.
Any interesting music store that you like in Berlin?
Berlin is full of interesting music stores and the people who work there make the difference. We like very much Oye (Prenzlauer-Berg) for the new releases and Galactic Record Store for second-hand.