The Best Recording & Rehearsal Studios in Berlin
By Walid Farruque
So, you want to be a Rock Star in Berlin, eh? Well why not?! There’s a huge thriving buzzing music scene where seemingly anything goes.
What you will need though is a rehearsal room, in German “Proberaum”, so that you and your crew can sit around and talk about what you are going to buy with the millions you are sure to earn, and also to practice…
In my capacity as a 9 year long stay-cationer, having come over to Berlin precisely to make it big musically, I start with a list of 3 rehearsal spaces I have used in 3 different musical projects, along with pros and cons of each space:
1. Funkhaus, in Lichtenberg, Nalepastr. From 1956 until 1990 this was the premise of the East German broadcasting services in Berlin. It is the world’s biggest connected building on a 50.000 sq m area, owned now by an Israeli property entrepreneur. I had my first musical grouping in this astounding and frankly terrifying building. The corridors are seemingly endless and the only other non-band-member human I saw there in the entire time was a sound recording pro doing sound for movies. He had to have his own skateboard to expedite water closet emergencies! The place is huge and foreboding; even Jack from “The Shining” would feel nervous in there! I rented my own room eventually, but at the time (2006) security was not exactly reassuring.
2. “Oceanland” was a privately leased basement of a former aluminum factory from World War II in the heart of Berlin-Kreuzberg. It’s now a defunct large underground complex of recording studio and sleeping rooms, exclusively for members of THE OCEAN. Five albums were recorded at Oceanland before the band was evicted from the place in 2008. Now if the Funkhaus was “The Shining”, Oceanland was the abandoned space at the end of the “Blair Witch Project.” Blood curdling! I tried to take photos of this basement hole, but none could be developed, since from within not even light could escape! Regardless, in that godforsaken pit of desolation “The Ocean” released 5 critically acclaimed studio albums on the MetalBlades record label. A quote from their website:
“Praise of their 80 minutes concept-opus “Precambrian” (2007) spread like wildfire in the community: “Epic in scope and flawless in execution, ‘Precambrian’ reinforces The Ocean as one of the most exciting names in modern heavy music. Behold mind-blowing metal on a wagnerian scale”, ROCK SOUND (UK) (I’m sure those reviews were referring to my 23 second guitar solo on disc 1, track 2!)
Foreboding for this rehearsal space’s future were the buildings surrounding it. They housed everything from doctors offices and logistics companies to Turkish family private residences. Not surprisingly then, the powers-that-be were unwilling to allow technical-mathcore-progressive-metal music to bellow out unchecked. So, out the with the Oceanland and soon after, out with me. Oceanland RIP.
3. Rockhaus is a five-story tower block also in the East Berlin neighborhood of Lichtenberg, originally built under the GDR in the 1980s but modernized in the 2000s with renovated rooms and wheelchair access amongst many other things. This rather unremarkable building is much closer to the city center than the isolated and lonely Funkhaus, and unlike Oceanland, it is still going strong. It is very secure but the sound proofing is a bit lackluster and it’s a bit of a broil fest in summer. Still, it’s the best of the 3 by far.
Good luck with the rehearsing!
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