As a techno enthusiast or technohead, there’s no way I would have missed Marcel Dettmann playing on a Thursday night.
And before you make any assumptions, techno isn’t the music you hear when a group of ah bengs zoom past with their LED-lit e-scooters or other PMDs.
Listen to: Frozen room by Charles Fenckler. Obviously, different genres.
Why do I love techno? It’s about the consistent, repetitive beats, thumping bass, rhythmic hi-hats and catchy basslines. I enjoy getting lost in trance and hypnotised by the music, especially when it’s being played in a club.
As proof I am a true technohead, I have my own 28-hour playlist of techno on Spotify, and while typing this, I’m queueing up outside Marquee to see Carl Cox lol.
But I digress. This is not about Carl; this is about Marcel— internationally renowned as one of the many pioneers of techno, so it took no convincing for me to see him play at the show organised by The Council last Thursday.
As a resident DJ in Berghain, Berlin’s most notorious club, Marcel Dettmann has done amazing live sets, spinning different or sometimes a fusion of techno’s many sub-genres.
I know nobody asked, but I prefer Berlin-style techno—industrial, dark, and acid—to any other sub-genres. I’d rather get lost in something that motivates me to violently stomp my feet than to happily twirl around.
$50 isn’t cheap. Who the fuck would pay that amount for a techno party on a Thursday night at an unknown venue right?
Apparently, me. I love techno; I won’t take no for an answer (please tell me you get the pun). And another thing that motivated me to go was the mysterious venue which was only released the morning on the day of the show—a ‘gimmick’ that’s typical of shows organised by The Council.
When I attended my first techno party featuring Fjaak, a trio (now duo) from Berlin, last November, The Council didn’t state the venue to the ticket holders until the day of the event itself either. We were only notified through their email, Facebook page, or Instagram Stories.
That event was held at a warehouse in Kallang. Gnarly.
Marcel, however, happened at Tuff Club. I’ve visited the place often enough after Headquarters closes at 3-4am, so the venue wasn’t as ‘different’ or ’unique’ as I’d hoped.
But as much as I enjoy the techno scene and music, it’s definitely an expensive ‘hobby’ or sense of escape. On the weekends, I’d pay $20 for entry to Headquarters then another $15 for Tuff Club, just to lose myself for the night. To do this almost every weekend is tough but worth it, since I can forget about everything for a moment.
With luck on my side this time, I managed to Marcel for free hehe. Yay, one-way ticket to escapism!
The ambience of Tuff Club seems odd to me for a moment, until I realise they use red lighting instead of the usual purple and orange, giving the venue an ‘industrial’ or ’underground’ vibe that fit the music being played.
Laser red lights in the shape of a cone rotate in a circular motion, shooting beams into every corner of the dim room. Dark, shadowy figures lightly headbang to the beat of the music, swaying their body from left to right to left again.
I don’t need to be told twice; I immediately allow the crowd to swallow me up, moving my body to music that never fails to give me eargasms.
After dancing sober for the first 10 minutes, I decide to pump myself up with The Council’s ‘exclusive’ drink. I order ClubMate with gin, a carbonated caffeine energy drink, take a huge gulp, then give it back to Tita (my favourite Filipino bartender) to pour my desired poison of choice.
With a bottle of ClubMate gin in my right hand and my left fisting the air, I soberly bop along to the captivating beat, sashaying back to the dancefloor, anticipating the next song that’s about to be played.
From my very sober third-person perspective of the local techno scene, 70% of the crowd appear to be Caucasian. It’s not a bad thing at all, but it’s upsetting that they are blessed with good genes; they’re tall, big-bodied people standing in front of the DJ, blocking my view.
At the same time, I don’t mind getting pushed side-to-side as I stand in the middle of the crowd, having the time of my life.
T-t-t-t-take your time.
Passionately dancing, I immediately lose myself when I hear Marcel play one of my many favourite techno songs: Take Your Time by Slam and Green Velvet.
Life? On hold.
As a woman living in today’s society, I can’t help but feel insecure whenever I’m out of the house. There’s a constant feeling that I’m being judged by others, that I don’t look attractive enough. And let’s not even talk about my worries about the uncertainty of my future.
But on the rumbling floor, I forget how much I dislike living in my own skin; I forget how tiring living can be. Nothing else matters but me and the tunes blasting from the speakers.
The music comes in waves, and I get pulled back into it over and over again, distracting me from any sort of troubling thoughts. It’s not like Marcel will know this, but as he spins for the crowd, he also helps me make peace with my pain and issues I face; giving me a temporary but much-needed release.
You spin my head right round, right round.
Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) plays while the crowd fists the air, and sway their bodies side-to-side, front and back ever so ecstatically.
Willingly, I become one with the rest.