Special greetings by Mogwai to all of you

Mogwai.Brian Sweeney

The start of Pop-Kultur gets Atomic! As you should know by now Scottish post-rock heavyweights MOGWAI are opening Pop-Kultur with a unique film concert experience as they bring their soundtrack for the BBC documentary ‘Storyville – Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise’ to live. Find more information right here and just in case you aren’t convinced yet, here are a few special greeting words by guiatrist Barry Burns:

Dear visitors to Pop-Kultur-Berlin 2016 and Admiralspalast.

Mogwai are honoured to be invited to play our live soundtrack along to a cinematic screening of Mark Cousins’ BBC commissioned film “Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise”.
The film recounts the experiences of the nuclear dawn, the A-Bomb, the following Cold War, nuclear power disasters, the moments of hope, the good we could use (and have done) with the technology, and also the mass protests against nuclear energy and weapons which are still highly relevant today. We feel this is a film not to be missed and – within a live setting – feels more powerful than even we had hoped.

We look forward to being a part of the festival and we hope that you, like us, learn something more about a subject that continues to loom over us.
30.08. / 20.00 /

Hendrik Otremba: About Writing

Everybody can write? Not really. At leastnot in the intensity  that really touches the reader. Hendrik Otremba is frontman and lyricist of the German post punk heroes MESSER but also a painter and cultural journalist. At Pop-Kultur 2016 he’ll not just present his debut novel “Über uns der Schaum”, but also host a course about writing lyrics in the course of our Nachwuchs program. Exclusively via Pop-Kultur Otremba has compiled his ideas about that subject.

Foto: Dirk Elsing

A text can suddenly be there. A text can take years of waiting. A text can develop in fragments or just appear completely. A text can serve a purpose or shut itself off to the world. A text can have a message or kill the author. A text can be waiting forever for you to write it. Or it’s you who’s waiting for something to turn into words. Apparently, the text doesn’t really exist. Anything can be text. Well, everything that can be read can thus be text – or: everything that creates significance. But what does that tell us about writing?

Nothing specific to begin with, apart from a myriad of possibilities to write – and I’m not even talking about the subjects. But this article is about a very particular form of writing, about poetry, about the writing of lyrics for pieces of music. Not in terms of a service, but as something that has to get out, that has to be written, that you have to write. How exactly does this find a form that is artful, one that gives back to you and others? To give something. For that, and here’s a huge disappointment, there is now recipe. Everybody writes differently and so this text can only be about my way of writing. But there are deliberations to be had, decisions to make, an awareness to be sharpened. Writing is most effective when you have understood which situations are best for you to write in. At the same time, you can’t know too much about your writing. That is a contradiction that cannot be narrated.

“It should hurt, otherwise, it doesn’t make sense”

Let’s play out one possibility: I wrote lyrics because there was a concrete occasion. That is possible and probably the case for many musicians. For such occasion-driven lyrics – I’m talking about social events, dying, systems, political assassinations etc. – you need a shock, at least I need it. I have to be so shocked, that I give up my security – the other (insecure) writing, that I’ll get to in a bit – and force myself to use the ink.

One should only sit down to write, when one feels indispensably prompted by circumstances that are not bearable or that carry you away.

That’s hard, as you would actually want to constantly write on against the whole world, against all the suffering, all the injustice, the pain, against the things that, in total, are so abstract, that the only thing making sense would be putting a scream on paper. But the more often you urge to do that, the more seldom should you do it. I plead for a household, that turns and flips, only allows sitting down when there is no other way when one feels – Caution! – forced to write by a higher power (???). The scream is supposed to be heard, that’s why its cacophonic sounds must be emitted clearly – and one should therefore really only decide to write decisively when there is no other way. I am convinced, that writing in this way only makes sense if one is concerned with the death of one’s own writing and when writing is something that is related to life and death. To put it another way (pardon my French): Do not just bust one out, do not write about a topic that has occupied you for some time, do not finally make a mark. It cannot feel like fulfillment, not like engagement, not like an attractive slogan. More like an unsolvable task. Then one will find words, but should, in turn, criticize these, should rethink them, grind them, beat them up, pep them up, sharpen them, turn them on time and again. Such texts actually have to be, really have to be, but they must not arise too often. Otherwise, they lose their power. If the ability for such writing lies within you, you should tame it and only let it out scarcely. It should hurt, otherwise, it doesn’t make sense. That’s why there are only a very few good protest songs. So, that’s the one thing.


Diffuse Feeling vs. Concrete Plan

But there is another form of writing, as worthy of protection as the one previously put into the light – that’s the other one. There surely are many more forms, but I want to talk about this one here. When you, as the writer, manage to outsmart yourself. When you manage to surrender yourself to the words. There’s no recipe for this one either. But it works a lot different than writing sitting down. Often fragmentary, at night, shortly after waking up, shortly after going to sleep, while being relaxed, while in ecstasy, in the meantime, with endless pauses in-between, on a train ride, with rediscovered notes, with sudden sentences in heads, in a pillow wet with tears. In short: a writing that you do not sit down for. It’s more of a form of writing that you kneel before. This kind of writing only calls for a whiff of an idea. A diffuse feeling. If you have a plan, you shouldn’t do it. You have to slowly figure out this way of writing, you have to learn to give in to it, learn to trust. Then, it will come to you. It’s the kind of writing you use a knife for, or scissors, slice things, so that they drift around somewhere, on their own. They begin to like themselves in their isolation. Numerous little particles that one forgets doesn’t take them seriously. If they’re worth it, they will come back, they’ll find each other, will crawl towards one another as if they’re pushed by a ghost, insects, fleeing from a giant’s warm breath, finally finding a breadcrumb.
You can observe, are barely part of the process, more of a marionette, performer.

The meanings that are created, don’t really need you anymore, even if they all but let you go. They are tied to you, become accessible to you later, make more sense than you ever thought they would.

When a text is done, you know it. It’s simply there. It has decided for itself to have taken form.

If it finished itself: that’s when it belongs to you, in the same moment, it only belongs to you and only to everybody else. This text obeys everyone in a different manner, evades everyone differently, everyone obeys its orders differently. A few verses enable worlds to coexist, that exclude each other.

If you have allowed yourself to create a text like this, if you had the patience, let go and tied it to you at the same time, you feel invigorated. You are allowed to be happy about that. And you are allowed to argue.

Those are two ways of writing, maybe it’s all of them. How should I know? I know nothing, apart from it being right. And that you’re probably dead when it’ drying up.

Hendrik Otremba

You want to participate in a workshop with Hendrik Otremba and other well-known characters, like Algiers, SassyBlack, Colin Newman of Wire and many more? Please click on the banner below before the deadline ends on June 20.

How to Pop-Kultur with … Patrick Siegfried Zimmer

Patrick Siegfried Zimmer
Patrick Siegfried Zimmer likes to describe himself as an interdisciplinary designer; a term that makes quite some sense when you talk about the filmmaker, director and songwriter from Hamburg. His latest film »ANHEDONIA: Narzissmus als Narkose« with Robert Stadlober and Dirk von Lotzow got that much attention that Mr. Zimmer is already working on a sequel. And he’s also planning a first full-length album under his real name for 2017, after already releasing a couple of records under his moniker “finn.”

Pop-Kultur can be indeed very happy to have Patrick Siegfried Zimmer on board for a new edition of “How to Pop-Kultur”. These are his recommendations for Wednesday, August 31.

»On Wednesday, I teleport at exactly 17.40 h, out of my private lodgings in Hamburg into the Prachtwerk, to attend the reading by Jon Savage, moderated by the equally interesting artist Phil Collins (when I was a child, I have to admit, I did like his singing namesake). Then I’ll take a quick breather and afterwards let My bubba stomp my feet. Thereafter, tipsy as I’ll probably be, I shall jump into the Heimathafen and listen expectantly to the compositions of Girls Names and Cat’s Eyes. Due to this intoxicating experience, I’ll float to the SchwuZ like a „Dandy im Nebel“, to steal the last backstage beers from my euphoric friends of Trümmer. Cin Cin.«


The entire program for the festival and the Wednesday as well as the timetable can be found right here. If you’re planning to compile the schedule of Patrick Siegfried Zimmer for yourself you can get a 10% discount with the help of the »Wahl-Abo«. Zimmer’s film  “ANHEDONIA” will be released on DVD and as Video on Demand this fall.


How to Pop-Kultur with … Mirna Funk

Mirna Funk
Foto: Jessica Barthel

Everybody’s becoming a party animal for Pop-Kultur and prepares itself for the conquest of Neukölln’s nightlife. Author Mirna Funk is not exception to the rule. The East German-born lady is the latest participant in our “How to Pop-Kultur”-series and took care of Thursday, September the 1st. These are her recommendations.

I used to be a wild party girl, but nowadays no one gets me out of my apartment after 19:00 h. You’d have to shackle and kidnap me. But I’ll make an exception for Pop-Kultur. Well, I’ll begin early and quiet and end early and half-way loud. I’ll watch Mark Farrow and Scott King talking about graphics design at 17:40 h. I guess I’ll take my husband and our daughter. Thereafter, I’ll take in another talk on my own, cause talking is good for the brain. Fatima Al Qadiri shall tell me something about Kuwait. I’d like that. Or about art. Or about how you make art in Kuwait. That kinda stuff.

Because I usually go to bed at 21:00 h, my strength leaves me, but I’m going to watch A-WA. That’s simply a must. If I’m lucky, these Yemeni super girls from Israel play first. If not, I’ll stay until they come up, get a cab after the last chord is played and close my eyes on the way home.

Mirna Funk worked as a freelance journalist for »Neon«, »L’Officiel Germany« and »Süddeutsche Magazin«, as she writes about culture and life between Berlin and Tel Avid. Her debut novel “Winternähe” was released back in 2015 and awarded with the acclaimed Uwe-Johnson Prize for the best German debut. A film version is currently in the making. More information on her homepage. If you want to compile the plan of Mirna Funk or your own schedule for Pop-Kultur you can get 10 % off with the »Wahl-Abo« for Thursday.

The Sound of Keøma: An exclusive Pop-Kultur Playlist


Australian artist and Berlin resident Kat Frankie doesn’t need an introduction anymore. Keøma, her still quite fresh project with Cologne-based musician Chris Klopfer maybe does. They both are about to bring the melancholic and melodramatic electro-pop of their self-titled debut live to the stage of Pop-Kultur on September the 1st. That’s reason enough to ask Mr. Klopfer about the origins of the Keøma sound. The answer comes – unsurprisingly – in the form of music and this exciting playlist, compiled exclusively for the Pop-Kultur Spotify account.

This playlist is showing pretty well how we found inspiration for our Keøma album. It was as colorfully mixed as the playlist: there’s RnB from Miguel as well as classic Rock music from Bruce Springsteen.

As we recorded the album ourselves, we had a lot of time and could include many styles that we liked. If you take a look at the list, it’s remarkable that most of the artists come from the USA. For both of us, it was the possibility to make a very free Pop album, that we probably wouldn’t have made for our solo projects.

Keøma perform live on September 1 at Huxleys Neue Welt. Tickets for the show are available here. If you buy three or more moduls for Pop-Kultur, you get 10% off. Just click »Wahl-Abo« at the shop to receive your discount.

How to Pop-Kultur with … Birger Schmidt

Birger Schmidt
What a tournament! The battle calls of the Icelandic vikings, the crazy Irish fans and the almost endless penalty shootout between Germany and Italy. Well, okay, some people might not be thaaaat interested in the current European Championship but Birger Schmidt definitely isn’t part of that group of people. He is the head of the football film festival “11mm” as well as the founder of Lernort Stadion e.V. and a well-known figure and popular expert whenever you are taking about football. So, there’s no need to seperate pop and football and that’s why we asked Birger Schmidt for his Friday plans for Pop-Kultur 2016.

How am I looking forward to September 2nd and a whole lot of Pop-Kultur!

I’ll begin my tour in the Prachtwerk at the reading by Jens Balzer whom I deeply appreciate for his well-meaning tone and for gifting us with golden observations from the lowlands of Pop. Thereafter, the trip goes to Malcolm Middleton at the Heimathafen. I really liked the subtle electronics and the strumming charm of Arab Strap and I will enjoy ballads such as „of fuck all“.

21:20h: Huxleys Neue Welt, Incredible 35 years after the founding of the amazing Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore and his band will enter the stage. It’ll surely get loud when they’ll celebrate finest New York „Noise Rock“. And to be able to level with my music-crazy daughters, the day is ending in the Keller with Pins and Best Friends, yet unbeknownst to me. .

If you want to compile the plan of Birger Schmidt for yourself you can get 10% off with the »Wahl-Abo« for Friday.

Pop, Lyrik, Behinderungen, Transhumanismus, Post-Kolonialismus, Depression und wieder POP

Pop ist Performance, liebe Freunde der Pop-Kultur,

und nie war ein Klick in unseren Ticketshop besser als heute, schließlich haben wir brandneue Bestätigungen! Und diese drücken Pop in all seinen Facetten aus. Oder heißt es »in all ihren«? Der-die-das POP? Vielleicht sollten wir das ja beim Festival nochmals klären … Jedenfalls:

Die wunderbare Discoband Metronomy hat ein neues Album am Start. »Summer 08« heißt es und wird von Mastermind Joseph Mount ganz summer ‘16 like nicht als Konzert dargeboten, sondern in exklusiven DJ-Sets vorgestellt. Der Meister will es so. Und wir auch. Ergo findet die einzige Deutschlandshow während unseres Festivals statt.

Metronomy Mastermind Joseph Mount

Und wo wir schon bei Solisten sind. Der Kulturstaatssekretär und ehemalige Universal Deutschland Präsident sowie Ex-Geschäftsführer des Indies Motor Entertainment, Mr Tim Renner, wird mit Pop-Redakteur Jens Balzer über dessen neues Buch »POP. Ein Panorama der Gegenwart« sprechen.

Und überhaupt wird bei Pop-Kultur viel von und über Pop(-Kultur-und-Musik) geredet. So auch von Isolation Berlin-Sänger und Texter Tobias Bamborschke, der Schriftstellerin Kathrin Weßling und dem Radiomoderator und -Redakteur Andreas Müller (Deutschlandradio Kultur/ radioeins). Zu dritt sprechen sie zum Thema »Pop & Depression«, während ein weiterer Talk Pop, Behinderungen, Avantgarde und Transhumanismus gewidmet ist: In der vom Deutschlandradio Kultur konzipierten Runde treffen der MC Graf Fidi, Dr. Heike Raab und die beiden Redakteure Hartwig Vens und Dirk Schneider aufeinander.

Juliana Huxtable im Talk und mit exklusivem DJ-Set

Richtig konfrontativ wird es bei Ryan Mahan von der auch während Pop-Kultur auftretenden Band Algiers. Er verhandelt mit dem Guardian-Journalisten Josh Hall die Eindringlichkeit von Horrorfilmmusik unter dem Blickwinkel, was sie uns über strukturellen Rassismus und die (westlich) gesellschafftliche Leerstelle namens Post-Kolonialismus verraten kann. Nicht weniger avanciert geht es bei den beiden All-around-Künstlerinnen Fatima Al Qadiri und Juliana Huxtable zu, die, nachdem sie für die Berlin Biennale erstmals gemeinsam zusammengearbeitet haben, nun die Zwischenräume von Lyrik und Musik auf dem Podium ergründen. Huxtable, deren Arbeiten im New Yorker Guggenheim zu erleben waren, die die legendäre Party-Reihe »Shock Value« mitgegründet hat und Teil des House of Ladosha ist, wird zudem ein exklusives DJ-Set bestreiten.

Last but not least, freuen wir uns, verkünden zu dürfen, dass unser Festival Art Director Scott King einige seiner raren Pop-Artefakte im Rahmen des Festivals im Vollgutlager ausstellen wird. Darunter: das Prachtstück seiner Sammlung, das Feuerzeug Kurt Cobains, welches Sie natürlich bereits aus Paul Kellys von Pop-Kultur produzierter Dokumentation »Kurt’s Lighter« kennen.

Das komplette Programm gibt es an dieser Stellle. Und nicht vergessen, wer mindestens drei Module im Ticket Shop mittels »Wahl-Abo« kauft, der kann 10% beim Ticketkauf sparen.

Pop-Kultur. Programm 2016


How to Pop-Kultur with … Sonja Eismann

Foto: Alicia Kassebohm

If you need to ask yourself the important gender questions, why not doing it with a proper expert? Sonja Eismann is not just co-editor of acclaimed German Missy Magazine but also likes to deal with the representation of gender in popular culture, feminist and journalistic writing and fashion studies. The diverse line-up of Pop-Kultur 2016 is just way too perfect for her to have a closer look on it. For our newest “How to Pop-Kultur” we got Sonja Eismann selecting her favourite gigs for Thursday, September 1. These are her tips.

As someone who stays in her quarter – a Kiezbody as opposed to a Kiezhopper if you will, or is that something supposedly outing me as an uncool not-long-established Berliner, like Kreuzkölln, where I live and that’s supposedly not called that at all? It doesn’t matter – in the end, it’s the ideal. On September first, I’ll just have to hop on my bike and roll down Karl-Marx-Straße (Beware of the traffic!), and that’s where everything goes down. I would like to start with Fatima Al Qadiri’s talk in Passage Kino and do hope that she not only talks about her Hipster-Fashion-Friends such as Telfar Clemens and if Berlin is now going to participate in their glory (which the Berlin Biennale-merch seems to suggest), but also gives enlightening input on Gulf Modernism.

In Heimathafen Neukölln, I’ll then be waiting in suspense for A-Wa, just like everyone else I guess. They immediately got me with their desert chic video for „Habib Galbi“. Maybe I’ll even get to see some of ESKA, the „singing mother“. That would be awesome, and not only, because I’m a „writing mother“ myself.

Afterward, I’ll quickly check out SassyBlack, and I look forward to finding out how her afro-futuristic sound, also known as „Granola Hip Hop“, sounds in a solo DJ-set outside of the TheeSatisfaction context.

Then I’ll hurry into the Keller to see Skinny Girl Diet. I want to know how WoC-Riot-Grrrl sounds and is performed in 2016, even if not primarily sound-wise, definitely in its political aspects.

I’d like to see at least a bit of Fishbach because the french magazine Les Inrocks has proposed them to me as the hype of the hour more than once. And of course, I’ll have to check out Fatima Al Qadiri’s DJ-set.

Sona Eismann’s Pop-Kultur Plan for September the 1st

18.30h – 20h Passage Kino, Talk Fatima Al Qadiri
19h – 22h Heimathafen Neukölln, ESKA und A-Wa
22h – 1h Keller, Skinny Girl Diet
22h – 4h SchwuZ, Fishbach, Fatima Al Qadiri, DJ SassyBlack

If you want to compile the plan of Sonja Eismann for yourself you can get 10% off with the »Wahl-Abo« for Thursday.


How to Pop-Kultur with … Michel Abdollahi

Foto: Tim Bruening
Photo: Tim Bruening

Performance artist, painter, journalist – Michel Abdollahi is many things but mostly a person full of surprises. His humorous and investigative reports clearly help to support the intercultural feeling in Germany. He’s putting his finger in the wounds of right-wring parties and fights those forces with irony. Since Pop-Kultur is packed with diversity in terms of the origins of our artists and their musical variety it makes total sense to have Michel Abdollahi on board for a new edition of “How To Pop-Kultur” right here.

Well, at first I wanted to see Phil Collins on Wednesday until I saw that it isn’t the singing frog from Genesis, but the British video artist. Now more than ever. After that, I’m going to relax with The Weather Station (I hope it will be very tender) and get drunk, to be strengthened for listening to Kathrin Weßling. I love listening to Kathrin. She is such a good storyteller. We have known each other for so long. I hope, she’ll be a little drunk too. Then sleep.

On Thursday it’s Selda Bağcan & Boom Pam, wild mix, gotta hear that. She reminds me of so many things. And I like that Anatolia and Israel meet on a musical basis. Friday is Heimathafen day. This time, with Algiers. Feels like delicate Brit-Pop, but comes from Atlanta. I hope it’s gonna rain. Then it’ll fit even better.

If you want to compile the schedule of Michel Abdollahi for yourself you can get a discount of 10% with the almighty »Wahl-Abo«.

How to Pop-Kultur with … Robert Stadlober

Robert Stadlober
Foto: Christian Pitschl

A person like Robert Stadlober doesn’t needan introduction. In the past almost two decades he became a stable figure in Germany’s cultural landscape as an actor, musician and passionate person when it comes to ambitious art projects. Expect the unexpected. It’s no surprise that Mr. Stadlober enjoys the diversity of Pop-Kultur Berlin as much as we do. This is his personal schedule for the final day of the festival on Friday.

At first Jens Balzer. I usually read him in the paper every morning, which helps me through the day most of the time. I hope that, as a cherry on top, there will be a witty heckling of Tim Renner by some audience member. He did leave a lot of burnt ground. Then Heimathafen. Exploded View and Malcolm Middleton. The first I don’t know but want to urgently change that, the latter lead me through more than one drunken night, why not see him sober for once. Algiers might be to IN for me.

So, I’ll go back to the Prachtwerk to watch Joel Gibb. His Hidden Cameras used to be very IN as well, back when I had an NME subscription. And as an exception, they were right that time. Nowadays the NME is something like the 030 Magazin in Berlin used to be, only for England. But Joel Gibb still makes very good records and more importantly: he plays very good concerts. That’s a fact. Then I’ll run to the Passage Kino. Maybe Hendrik Otremba started late. If not, I’ll just get to watch the end. He’ll tell me the rest, following his enlightening reading. And after he introduced me to Richard Hell, with whom we’re going to do a little tipsy good night dancing to the music of Zebra Katz and check out the rest of the party in the SchwuZ.

Robert Stadlober remains restless. He’ll be reading “The Aesthetics of Resistance” by Peter Weiss together with colleagues within 10 days at Berlin’s HAU in the course of a festival celebrating the 100th birthday of Peter Weiss. He’s currently also working on a new play which will be premiered at Ackerstadtpalast in Berlin in early 2017.

If you want to compile the Pop-Kultur Plan of Robert Stadlober for yourself you can get 10% off via the »Wahl-Abo« .