It could have been like any other regular club, a shooting star that blinks across the sky of nightlife like a burning diamond, only to dissipate shortly after into a black hole of nothingness. It could have joined the countless others who fall victim of the short lifespan plague that permeates the nightclub scene across the globe. It could have, but it wasn’t.
Tresor Berlin made history, but no one would have expected that back on March 13th 1991 when the club first opened. Today, the techno institution is in the midst of blowing 25 candles to celebrate its life at the forefront of the electronic music movement, and is throwing a series of large parties to commemorate the special occasion. The celebrations began March 12th at the Berlin club and continued on to Milan, Denmark, Amsterdam, London and Spain before their upcoming US stop in Detroit during Movement weekend and a final flurry of dates in Australia and back in Europe.
Back in 1991, Tresor opened shop in a shack on Potsdamer Platz, located atop the the vault of the Wertheim department store. The Berlin wall had just fallen less than two years earlier, leaving the city’s youth in search for a connection and a sense of freedom many could only find through music. They found that connection at Tresor.
Armed with an art gallery license and a three-month lease, the venue owners woke up every day expecting authorities to barge in and shut operations down. Instead, things continued and the venue carried on to make history by connecting the music and artists coming out of Detroit with the rise of Berlin’s love and burning passion for techno. As the club itself proudly recalls, it went on to be the home of Jeff Mills’ first sets on three turntables, the brain behind the grandiose Tresor Park parties, and the mastermind of the various chapters of the Loveparade with Sven Väth in the 90s.
Despite complications, temporary closures and raids, the techno persisted and persists still to this day. Its location may have changed in 2005, but the club and its religious attachment to techno haven’t. Tresor is very much alive and well, and with it is the message of music and freedom it has been carrying for twenty-five years.
In 2008, a documentary directed by Tilmann Künze entitled “SubBerlin” was released. It highlighted the history of Tresor from its beginning in 1991 until the closure of its original location. The one-and-a-half hour video includes interviews with many of the artists that played at the venue, from Atkins to Sven Väth, as well as the people that made the club happen, such as original founder Dimitri Hegemann. The original documentary was released on TV, and later made available on DVD by the club in 2012.
Enjoy it in its entirety below.
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