At the end of the 1990s I had a job at the German army. The base where I worked was in Regensburg, a city in the conservative state of Bavaria, about 500 km south of Berlin. After spending Monday to Friday camping in the forest, doing 30 km marches or otherwise being pushed to my limits, there was only one goal: Berlin.

Every Friday afternoon at 3 pm the direction was northbound. On Saturdays during daytime I would go digging for new records. In the evening I would shake off the weight of the week in clubs like Tresor, Maria am Ostbahnhof, Casino or Metronom. There I was able to share incredible experiences with total strangers, and have at least a thousand conversations about everything and anything. Everyone was the same: No matter if rich or poor, north or south, east or west. Regardless of what occupation one had, if experienced or verdant – it was the moment that counted.

Come Sunday, without much sleep, but with a broad, seemingly never-ending grin on my face, I had to get through the six-hour ride back to blue Bavaria. Sometimes the contrast between week and weekend felt almost too sharp. But at least turntables were allowed in the army base, so I could practice mixing with the speakers set to full volume. A track I remember especially vividly from that time is System F feat. Mark Almond – Soul on Soul. I used to play that one non-stop. The first time I heard it was at the SonneMondSterne festival, and it has given me goose bumps ever since. So this meant: Military’s drill and standing at attention during daytime – techno and house in the evening.

Since techno wasn’t as much part of the mainstream as it is today, I surely had to endure some strange looks from my fellow Bundeswehr colleagues. Notwithstanding, it was a very intensive and formative period of my life.

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