HYTE’s 2018 edition of their famous 24 hour extravaganza was once again held in the world capital of techno; Berlin. The city that never stops dancing is home to the most exclusive and reputable techno clubs, including Watergate and Berghain. In recent years HYTE has too found the city as a place of residence, for it’s annual NYE show. An event which is not for the faint-hearted with 24 hours of the industry’s greatest electronic artists playing non-stop around the clock.
The venue playing host to HYTE NYE was once again Berlin’s industrial playground; Funkhaus. Located in the east of the city, the multi-purpose space built in the 1950s was once used as the world’s largest radio broadcasting site. Today the assortment of large open rooms are used for a range of events including conferences, concerts and product launches. HYTE took control of the gritty concrete Shedhalle, with the two rooms in action offering a 9000 capacity dance utopia which was soon to be filled with ravers.
Being situated in a country which is keen to combat plastic consumption, HYTE operated a environmentally friendly bar system, whereby returning your cups along with a small black HYTE token would result in cheaper drinks at the bar – a great initiative. The drinks themselves were paid for by using a scannable HYTE wristband, topped up by cash/card once inside the venue. Prices were reasonable on the whole, although a spirit & mixer was on the more expensive side. Menu below :
Beer – 4 euros
Spirit & mixer – 8 euros
Water – 2.50 euros
Soft drinks – 3 euros
Bar staff at Funkhaus were helpful throughout, as well as being quick on their feet to keep queue times to a minimum. After each purchase they would also inform you the remaining balance on your wristband, so that you weren’t caught short next time.
Security on the night were thorough with checks, whilst also being sure ravers got through the doors as quickly as possible. Medical teams were also on hand should any assistance be needed.
The venue’s temperature at times did become overpowering, this could be combatted in future by the addition of a few industrial fans dotted around the two rooms.
With Berlin’s known passion for techno, the likeminded crowd came with it. Ravers with a real knowledge and love for the artists playing, whether they lived in the city or travelling from around the world. A welcoming vibe and energetic atmosphere could be felt throughout the day/night, with not a single trouble-starting Dsquared jumper in sight; perfect.
Production & Sound
With enough beam lights to send you into an epileptic fit, it’s safe to say HYTE were not lacking in the production department. The venue was brimming with spot lights, upward facing strobes making full use of room one’s various pillars and of course HYTE’s signature red laser cage encasing the DJ booth.
Heading over to the more compact room two saw more strobes, sunstrips and overhead lasers running the length of the room. Further into the closing moments of the day saw this smaller room take a dark turn, as a foggy mist consumed the space intensifying the lighting and creating a trippy abyss to finish off the proceedings.
Another highlight from the event, the truly unrestricted sound offering which sent shivers across your body. With an army of line array speakers and stacks in every corner of the venue, it was simply impossible to escape the bone-crunching bass. Piercing sound rippled the walls of the Funkhaus in both rooms, delivering the full force of the techno being played.
Seeing in 2019 as the clock struck midnight was one of the leading lights in techno; Richie Hawtin. The three time DJ Awards winner has been influential in the techno scene for decades, with his musical story beginning all the way back in 1990. During this time he’s established two extraordinary record labels; Plus 8 (co-owned with John Acquaviva) & M_nus. In recent years, Hawtin has developed his very own technology company; PLAYdifferently under which he released the famous MODEL 1 mixer, co-designed by Andy Rigby-Jones.
Richie’s unique stripped-back sound was the perfect way to see in the New Year. Heavy kick drums matched with driving basslines erupted through the venue’s sound system, reverberating off of the stone walls. Gradually picking up the pace as his set progressed, Richie showed his experience and pulled out all the stops to keep the crowd exhilarated, as we reached a cornerstone of the night with the countdown into 2019 rounding off his thrilling performance.
A set which had been building in anticipation since the night began; a live masterclass from Stephan Bodzin. The artist who currently stands at the forefront of the industry has amazingly only been involved with techno since 2006. Before this, Stephan lived as a musical composer for European theatres. Describing himself as “The Melody Man”, his unique orchestral take on Techno is something of pure genius, often displaying his passion for music with emotion and charisma in his performances.
90 minutes of atmospheric and uplifting live melodies would soon follow, as the crowd became hooked to Stephan’s infectious energy. With his set in full swing, the 2017 release on Afterlife Records “Strand” echoed through the Shedhalle, with the instantly recognisable synths raising the hairs on the back of our necks. Composing many of his own releases, “Zulu” was another key highlight, with the track’s raw power and emotion flowing through the speakers. A magical showing from the one of a kind artist.
Butch b2b wAFF
As the 24 hour marathon was coming to a close with just 4 and a half hours left, we turned our attention to room two where Butch and wAFF were setting up camp. Ready to take it down a notch and provide groovers rather than rollers, it was exactly what the tiring crowd needed. Both renowned for their diverse track selection matched with formidable talent in their own production, we knew this would be two hours to remember.
Butch’s own disco-infused track entitled “Joy” sprung life into the room, as the upbeat rhythm and looping vocals kept us moving along to the undeniably groovy sound. A real highlight from the set came towards the closing stages, with Manjane and Dragans’s take on Switch ft Andrea Martins – “I Still Love You”. The iconic vocals rang around the venue with the entire room singing them back. After hours of thumping techno, this change of pace and injection of soul was exactly what we needed to see out the marathon.
A reality-defying spectacle from HYTE, which left us drifting into another dimension at times, with visually compelling production and deafening audio. Throughout the 24 hour marathon saw breathtaking performances from the electronic music elite, which will stay with us for years to come. The expertly organised wristband system, comfortable chill out areas and convenient venue location with cheap shuttle busses to and from the site make this a must see event. Bring on next year! 9/10