As many artists make the move to Berlin, Darin Epsilon shares his experience on the popular scene.
Chicago born music producer, DJ, and record label owner Darin Epsilon has been heavily immersed in the music industry for over a decade. His productions have been signed to many of the top labels including Sudbeat, Global Underground, Renaissance, Hope Recordings, microCastle, Selador, and of course his own Perspectives Digital.
In addition to producing, he has DJ’d at many renowned music festivals and clubs all over the world and shared the stage with Sasha, John Digweed, Nick Warren, Hernan Cattaneo, Carl Cox, and James Zabiela, among hundreds of others.
I was lucky enough to chat with Darin and gain his view on the underground music scene in Berlin and its curious draw for many artists.
Hi Darin, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with me today. I would love to give our readers an insight into your reasoning for moving to Berlin and your view of the music scene there?
Hey Nila, pleasure speaking with you today and thanks for inviting me to do this interview. I just arrived here last week and loving it so far!
There were lots of good reasons to relocate. As an artist, I see the move to Europe as a step forward. The understanding of underground music and culture here is very strong. Unlike the US, where dance music collapsed with the death of disco, electronic music in Europe thrived and became hugely popular throughout the 80’s and 90’s.
Anyone that has moved overseas can tell you it’s not an easy thing to do. I spent several months researching and planning every step. Meanwhile, I had serious doubts in my mind whether or not it was the right thing to do. I left behind my family and friends, but as the saying goes, there is no progress without pain.
Where were you based before this?
I was born and raised in Chicago and later moved to Los Angeles in 2008.
What made you move to Berlin?
Believe it or not, Germany actually has a visa specifically for artists and musicians. The other places I considered were Barcelona, Amsterdam, and London, but the visa requirements for these places proved to be way too difficult.
For example in Barcelona, you have to submit an FBI background check, medical health record, and business plan, all of which need to be translated into Spanish by an official translator.
In Amsterdam, the application costs 1500 Euros, even before knowing if you will be approved or not! On top of that, they require you to invest 5000 Euros in a bank account and keep it there during your entire stay.
The things I like about Berlin are its relatively affordable housing, entertainment, and cost of living. It’s centrally located right in the heart of Europe, and if you’re lucky, a one way flight to another EU country costs just 10 Euros !!!
Do you see this as a milestone in your career? If so, why?
Well, it’s either going to be the best decision or the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life. Let’s hope for the first one 🙂
It seems that a number of artists have recently made the decision to move to Berlin, why do you think this is?
It’s probably because of the convenience and easy access to the work visa, as I mentioned above. This is the most affordable capital city in Western Europe, which can be a blessing if you’re an artist that doesn’t know when your next paycheck is coming.
Berlin is often regarded as the epicenter and capital of dance music! All of the major companies have an office here including Beatport, Mixmag, SoundCloud, Ableton Live, and Native Instruments. I’m sure there are many more that I’m not even aware of.
What is it that makes the music scene in Berlin so special?
There are parties happening every day of the week, and many clubs are open all weekend from Friday night until Monday morning!
Also, I have yet to see any poster or advertisement for Steve Aoki, Krewella, Tiesto, Martin Garrix, or (insert other bullsh*t EDM artist here).
Now as the owner of the successful record label Perspectives Digital, you obviously get a ton of good music sent to you from all over the world. What is it then that makes the music currently being produced in Berlin so special/different?
A big reason why I came here is because all of the best talent are based here in Europe. Being here, networking, and meeting with artists face-to-face is important for me, and I would say essential for this industry.
In my opinion, the best music at the moment is coming from Germany.
There are many great labels here including Parquet, Einmusika, Steyoyoke, Innervisions, Katermukke, Get Physical, Kompakt, etc.
You have also played all over the world at pretty much every notable music festival (ADE, WMC, BPM, Burning Man). What is it about the Berlin scene that is different to everywhere else you have played?
I’m the new guy so it’s sort of refreshing to start over with a clean slate. Even though I’ve been lucky enough to play some awesome shows, it’s humbling to be in an environment where not everyone knows about me or my label. I’m up for the challenge and willing to educate people on Progressive House whenever and wherever I can.
We have talked about the artist side of things regarding Berlin, lets talk briefly about the clubbers. With such a wealth of talent and so much happening in Berlin at the moment, what is your perception of the clubbers that attend these gigs?
The clubbers here are very well-educated and so naturally they’re harder to please. They pick up on things quite easily, like if a DJ isn’t up to par or if there’s a missed beat here or there. The people of Berlin (in general) are really serious about their music. After all, it’s the land of Bach and Beethoven!
Finally, what five things (other than those we have discussed), would you recommend to anyone thinking about visiting Berlin?
Come here if you appreciate the arts, nature, music festivals, beer, and sausages 🙂
New Release: Betoko – Shorika (Darin Epsilon Remix)
Feb 10 – RLGC44 – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Mar 04 – Cinema Hall – Budapest, Hungary
Mar 18 – Sisyphos – Berlin, Germany
Mar 21 to Mar 26 – MMW / WMC 2017 – Miami, USA
Apr 21 – Maximus – Kotor, Montenegro
Check out Darin’s 2017 NYE mix recording Live @ Jiro in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: