Berlin’s Watergate is back to hosting club nights again with artists such as Anja Schneider and Pan-Pot performing, but this time it’s virtually!
For the first time since the club was forced to close in March due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the Berlin hot spot is bringing a new type club night, this time to your screens. The doors are closed – but the windows are open!
YWO (Yes, We are Open) is a new online platform which is being introduced with this first virtual event. It transports a night out at Watergate into the clubbers’ homes. YWO operates as more of an interactive space that brings the club experience to life in all its facets in a virtual way. Watergate will be opening its 2 rooms plus terrace, with an internationally renowned line up of DJs, live acts and Watergate residents who will be coming to play for free, including Pan-Pot, Adana Twins, Who Made Who (LIVE), JAMIIE, Anja Schneider B2B Kristin Velvet, Biesmans (LIVE) and Yulia Niko all streamed in association with Beatport.
Guests and artists from all over the world gathered at Watergate to experience new music, dance with friends and enjoy a cocktail. With YWO that will now all be possible again, digitally. You can party alone, and meet new people, or invite your friends and have your own private party of up to five people. A private rendezvous in the toilets, enables voice and video chat with friends and strangers, with the added security of a ‘Call The Bouncer’ button. This allows clubbers to report any inappropriate behavior, racism and discrimination, with the power to boot them well and truly out!
The entrance fee is up to the visitor. A minimum entrance fee will be set at €1, which covers the cost of the servers to run the event. Any greater donations will go back to the future running of the club and helping our performing artists. Tickets can be found by clicking here.
With Anja Schneider being one the key residents stepping up to the virtual booth to perform at Watergate’s Virtual Reopening, we found it fitting to chat with her about how life has changed in 2020, her relationship with the iconic club and what this project means to her and our scene.
Hi Anja, thanks for jumping on this interview with us. Where about in the world are you right now?
I have been in my hometown of Berlin since we went into Lockdown. I think this is the longest period of time I have spent here in years! I haven’t been to an airport since the beginning of March, which is mad as I am there every weekend. Of course, it felt weird at the start and still does a little now, but as time goes on I think we have all stated to quite enjoy the time with family and friends, staying local and just coming to accept the situation.
Is that where you’ve been spending quarantine and lockdown?
Well, a lot at home with my family but I have been making sure I get into the studio every day. I do not get this much time to spend on making music, so it had been ideal for that even though sometimes the creativity hasn’t been flowing. I released some new music on my label Sous, with my ‘Seduction’ EP last month, and the next will be around August time.
How have the last few months been for you?
It has not been easy. My life along with everyone else who is a touring DJ has gone from 100% to zero, in the space of days. Especially even more so when you have children, home schooling has become a big part of my daily life. My time until the lockdown was dominated by schedules for everything and now I have nothing to schedule! We have all the time in the world to think about what you really need and have. I believe it’s been a time for reflection for many. It’s been a challenge, to take time and find yourself in a way that you like, and I needed this change to drive my creative output.
I bet you’ve been missing the parties and touring?
Of course, I miss the smiling faces, the sweaty clubs, the meeting of friends and colleagues all over the world and giving everyone a BIG hug! It’s those normal things in life which are the biggest things I miss. We all need places where we can let go of ourselves and I think that parties and music help achieve that environment for many, so to not have this is no doubt hard. I do need to socialise, I am a social person and I make music to make people happy. Happiness comes from seeing them dance and smile from the dancefloor.
What have you liked about the new change of pace in the last few months. Any positives come out of this for you?
For sure, I feel grounded again. To think back about our life concepts, relationships, the things we thought were important to what we realise now what actually isn’t important at all. It has put things into perspective, and that’s been very humbling. I believe it’s more important to focus on who you are, than who you want or could be.
I wanted to ask you about your involvement with Watergate’s exciting upcoming stream. First though, can you tell us a little bit about your history with Watergate? When did you first play there?
My very first parties were at Watergate in around 2005, and I have had a long relationship with them since they started their drum n’ bass parties under the brand ‘Hard-edged’. I always loved the effort and passion they put into the club scene here in Berlin and their understanding for sound and lighting, from which they have built up the perfect vibe in the club that it is today.
What does Watergate mean to you as a lover of electronic music first and then as a DJ also?
I would say that it’s kind of my home.
Watergate was at one point at risk of closure due to increasing rent prices and is now facing hardship due to the pandemic. What would a Berlin without Watergate be like for you?
I think this is an issue which concerns the whole music industry, and the longer this pandemic goes on, with no parties happening any time this year, I fear we will be looking at a lot of closures all over the world when it comes to venues. We need places like this to let go, discover new experiences, new music and make new friends. Clubs, festivals, live venues – all of them are so much more important than I think a lot of people may have first thought.
Berlin isn’t the same without Watergate, it’s that simple. We would miss the entire cultural experience it has offered us for years.
So… tell us about this stream and why it’s special!
This is actually my first stream that I have done since lockdown, and I agreed to this one because it’s a special club to me, and the team behind Watergate are dear friends. This is also not a stream, it’s a virtual club event – you can move around the rooms, see people playing live from the club and talk to friends and go in groups of mates or alone. I think it’s a very cool new experience. It could actually open up a whole new way of clubbing and meeting people from all corners of the world, as the reach online has no boundaries.
What will your involvement be?
I’ll be doing a special b2b set with the most talented Kristin Velvet. This is great for me, because I needed the fun and the contact/interaction with someone else behind the decks, so it’s really nice to be sharing this special event with her.
What do you hope this stream achieves, both for fans and the club?
Well, at least a bit of the Watergate clubbing experience with friends in your living room, no matter where you are in the world. So really, all that really matters is people enjoy it, dance a little and have fun.
One last Q before I let you go: what else do you have planned for 2020 as things currently stand?
This is a hard question, as really it’s impossible to plan anything in advance. I mean yes, only short term do we know whats going on, and that’s not parties or touring yet. The lack of security makes us all feel quite unstable I think. I will be focusing on the label, and its releases. We have the next EP out on the 17th July from REFORM, an Italian duo, followed this summer by Subradeon, Markus Suckut and then myself! I also have a remix for Re:you on Connected.
Cover photo of Anja Schneider by Patrice Brylla