Inteview with the Michelberger | 80 artists full creative freedom

by | Festival, indieBerlin, Music

Yeah, you know the Michelberger. Everybody in Berlin knows the Michelberger or has hung out there. To dive into the rich creative atmosphere of style and music. Great vibes, cool concerts, nice bar, friendly people. BUT: now they’ve übertrumpfed themselves big time!

The Michelberger Hotel will host 80 artists for a whole week


Bryce and Aaron Dessner form the National Portrait picture, indieBerlin
To spend time together, hang out and create music. And when I say artists, I mean biiig names like Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, S.Carey and Matt McCaughan, Aaron and Bryce Dessner from The National,  Mouse on Mars’ Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner, Erlend Øye of Kings of Convenience (new album coming…), My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Nova, Lisa Hannigan, Alt-JDamien Rice, Alexander Ridha (aka Boys Noize), Yoann Lemoine (aka Woodkid), Fog’s Andrew Broder, Hauschka, Sam Amidon, Naeem Juwan (aka Spank Rock), Poliça, Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak, the Staves, Stargaze and more. You can find the line up with the individual artists names at the Michelberger Music Website.

funkhaus_michelberger_event_indieberlinA two-day music event at Funkhaus

The week will highlight into a two-day music event at Funkhaus, the biggest recording studio worldwide, where the artists will present their new albums, show work in progress, rearrange old music and collaborate on new projects. But there’s no official program for the gigs. The artists and organisers decided:

“To keep the surprise and mystery element as big as possible so guests will have little idea what to expect. There will be no official line up or schedule published beforehand. Performances will pop up and people will discover the spaces and sounds.”

The Funkhaus spaces range from the largest recording studio to ones the size of a telephone cabin, from concrete vaults to corridors to the wide open industrial space which will form our main communal area. Each has its own unique character. The artists will perform in various scenarios and set-ups. They will show new songs for the first time, or try things out, collaborate or improvise on the spot.

This will be a one of a kind gathering of friends

And also the whole event is done completely non-commercially – all production, travel and accommodation costs are covered by the Michelberger.

“Everyone is excited to dive into this adventure and we want to open it up to as many people as the spaces allow. What happens if you give 80 artists of that character and musical talent the opportunity to spend a full week together with full creative freedom? We will find out. This is an event by the artists. As they would love to experience music themselves.”

says Tom Michelberger about the collaboration. But of course we wanted to know a lot more about the whole thing and asked Nadine and Tom, the founders of Michelberger and organisers of the event some more questions in our interview.

indieBerlin interview with Nadine May and Tom Michelberger

indieBerlin: We are pretty blown away by the Music Collaborative Event that will take place in a couple of weeks at Michelberger and Funkhaus Berlin. Over 80 artists – including Bon Iver, The National, Mouse on Mars, Erlend Øye, Woodkid, Boys Noize, and My Brightest Diamond – will come together at Michelberger to create music, inspire each other and just kind of vibe the greatness. Did you contact the artists or did they contact you? How did you pull this one off?

Nadine/Tom: Nadine and I had the idea to do an evolution of our mystery musical festival we did in 2011 in our hotel. Doing it how we always do everything.

Independent and together with friends. So we hold the frame: mystery, no brands/partners, fully non-commercial, money out of the equation, communication only direct with the artists and between the artists, full creative freedom. Creating a space where we can spend time with our closest friends and create something together, where we give everything that we have.

Then it’s like you are at the edge of a river rapid. We jumped in and everyone jumped right after us.

Now we all go with the flow. By now… we are flowing down a superpower river. No chance of fighting against anything. Suck in the experience and see you down in the calm water.

indieBerlin: What’s your expectation of the event?


Raw music, raw emotions, everything that music can be and do to us people.

indieberlin: Is it true that you’re closing down the entire hotel to make the hotel into a backstage for the artists?

Nadine/Tom: Yes. we will be all here working on it together. No distractions. Everyone doing what they do.

indieberlin: How, where and in what way will we be able to see and hear the output of this great get-together?

Funkhaus Außenaufnahme, Michelberger event, indieBerlinNadine/Tom: On site. We’ve now sold 3,500 tickets. We are very grateful! So many people coming along for that adventure. We expanded our capacities, now 1,500 seats left on the boat.

In addition Vincent Moon will capture moments with his favourite 4 filmmakers. As artists themselves. So here and there, not everything, but something that will touch the real experience.

indieBerlin: Have you stocked up the booze and are you prepared for the side effects of a great bunch of musicians staying at Michelberger?

Nadine/Tom: We have enough. And the bar will close at midnight.

So we can do some spontaneous sunrise shows on Warschauer Brücke

indieBerlin: You’ve said that the concept of the hotel should be that it’s always open to change, that it should always remain fresh – do you have any further new ideas that you’d care to tell us about?

Tom und Nadine: There is so much stuff going on in the world right now, and actually always has been. So what is there to do, apart from doing what you can do to learn, expand and hopefully inspire some people to come along or even better to do their own thing. The moment to fully put ourselves in charge is around the corner. Everyone self-empowered and together. Not guided or controlled, or part of any big machine. If there are solutions to anything, we find them inside. From there we can create new things.

indieberlin: Thank you very much for the interview and we’re looking forward to the Music Collaborative event as well as other great projects to come!

Tom und Nadine: Thank you !

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