NFOP x Kometenmelodien: LA Priest, Laura Clock & Lea Porcelain

30 Nov 2015 — Henning Lahmann

After our smashing first edition last December, our Berghain Kantine night in collaboration with the admirable Kometenmelodien returns this Thursday, December 3. This time, headlining outré pop wizard LA Priest will be accompanied by no less then two promising local projects: recent Berlin transplants and newcomers Lea Porcelain, whose debut EP (out this week) shows all the compelling feats that make post new wave-informed, noirish guitar pop exciting in 2015. Aside from the boys, we’re especially happy to welcome (back) a true veteran of the city’s subterranean pop scene, Berlin via Paris artist Laura Clock, who you might still remember under her former nom de guerre ButterClock. On Thursday, she will present material from her criminally overlooked EP Baby Part One, which was released by Rinse FM in June.

Doors open at 8. Find more details about the event on Facebook.

Read more →

Interview: Sun Araw

10 Sep 2015 — Lukas Dubro

Long Beach, California is where Cameron Stallones has chosen to live and to work. The musician is one of the most celebrated experimental artists of our days. The music of his alias Sun Araw is a synthesis of various styles of krautrock, electronic, dub, funk and afrobeat. With his recent project Duppy Gun he collects and puts out dub music from Jamaica together with M. Geddes Gengras, a modular synth wizar he met in the L.A. experimental music scene. Although Stallones is featured on the soundtrack of our fav video game Hotline Miami, he isn’t a big gamer. What he does like is playing pool, eating noodles and petting animals. We asked him a few questions about zoos, pets, his artwork, veggie food and dinosaurs.
 Read after the break.

Stallones and his band are presenting their latest record Gazebo Effect and are spinning records as Duppy Gun Soundsystem at ACUD on Sunday, September 13. No Fear Of Pop is media partner of the event. RSVP here.

Read more →

Your hometown Austin seems to have a cool zoo. Did you go there when you were a child? What was your most favorite animal?

I went there once or twice, but the most prominent feature of the Austin Zoo was these commercials they had that ran endlessly late at night, they had this persistent jingle “Gotta be Austin – Zoo!” But the commercial was mostly just pictures of a tan deer running around in tan grass and tan wood and chicken-wire enclosures. Maybe they had a big cat of some sort, but most of it was local animals, kinda budget. We only had five TV channels so I’d see that commercial several million times in a single sitting. My favorite animal was and remains the giant tortoise. I had some powerful moments with some at the San Diego Zoo as a child, my grandfather was in San Diego. I’m pretty conflicted about zoos, but I’m pretty conflicted about a lot of things in human civilization.

Now that you are in L.A., what do you do in your free time? Do you have a pet to take care of?

I had an amazing rabbit for several years named Sissy Spacek. She only had one eye and she was a fantastic companion. She died two years ago or so, haven’t ventured back into pet world. For free time, mostly I play pool when I can afford it.

The artwork of your 2012 album The Inner Treaty shows a picture of an animal – what kind of animal is that?

That’s a good question and I do not know the answer. The important thing for me is that it is a fish that looks like it’s having a good time with it’s beak. You might notice that the back of the record shows a pack of hyenas tearing apart another hyena. Something about those two things existing at once. Or those two things being different levels of the same thing, more precisely.

Animals are sort of like eddies of consciousness. They seem flavored a bit less evenly than us, and so we can see them exemplify some particular essence all the way through their being, from the shape of their body to their temperament and special skills like bats with sonar or whatever. That can be useful for understanding aspects of ourselves. Some ancient people thought that a person contains all animals. That’s basically saying the same thing: they are effective illustrations of different states of the soul. Effective most likely because we are made out of the same stuff on a consciousness-level, which is pushing into the physical world and making shapes in it.

Are you an animal-friendly eater, what’s your favorite meal?

I am not a vegetarian. Lately I’ve been exploring this Szechuan world in San Gabriel which is a suburb of L.A. that has all the best noodles. I hunt for the noodles.

Let’s end with something philosophical: Were dinosaurs the better humans?


Guest Post: Efterklang’s Rasmus Stolberg Recommends By the Lake Festival 2015

16 Aug 2015 — Editor

Rasmus Stolberg, member of Copenhagen veteran experimental luminaries Efterklang and Liima, is not only in charge of acclaimed radio station The Lake Radio but is also hosting and curating Berlin's By the Lake Festival, which is set to happen at the Freilichtbühne Weißensee on August 29. In anticipation of the event, Rasmus is introducing each of the performing artists. Watch videos by all of them and read his thoughts after the break. (ed.)

Find more details about the festival over here, and buy tickets here.


2:30pm Liima
4:00pm Lonnie Holley
5:30pm Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit
6:50pm Omar Souleyman
8:40pm Wildbirds & Peacedrums

Read more →

Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit

We are absolutely thrilled to have these two gentlemen playing By The Lake. Jaki Liebezeit is of course famous for being the innovative drummer of krautrock legends Can, but this duo has a language of its own and it is a wonderful language. Burnt Friedman skilfully runs the electronic machines, Jaki Liebezeit plays the drums and together they conjure music that is captivating, foreign and totally mesmerizing.

Wildbirds & Peacedrums

Mariam and Andreas are married, they are good looking, they are master musicians, songwriters and performers. We’ve been fans and jealous for years.

Omar Souleyman

We are proud to have Mr. Souleyman from Syria headlining this very first edition of By The Lake. He knows how to conduct a party and he will be visiting in the wake of his brand new album Bahdeni Nami.

Lonnie Holley

Most people fall in love with the music of Lonnie Holley the minute they hear it. Just take a listen below and you might be in the same situation. Afterwards you should read up on him. An underground hero in the visual arts and now also in music.


I’m in this band together with my two band mates in Efterklang (Mads and Casper) and then the fourth member is Tatu Rönkkö, a finnish percussionist who is a dear friend and great musician, in fact I just read somewhere else on the internet that Tatu is inhumanly tight :-). We will open By The Lake with a set of entirely new music that still has to be recorded and released.

Holly Herndon and the Fortress of Music

11 Jun 2015 — Henry Schiller

Last Thursday, June 4 I saw Holly Herndon perform at Brooklyn's The Wick in support of her fantastic sophmore album Platform. Below, I've provided something of a play-by-play of my experience. 

Herndon has five more dates on her current tour, including one at Berghain tonight.

Read more →

I’m a few days late (or at least a few days behind the New York Times) but it will be a dark day indeed when a No Fear of Pop writer goes to a Holly Herndon show and can’t think of anything to write about it.
I showed up to Bushwick’s cleverly(?) named The Wick at around 8:50. Doors had, one day earlier, been moved from 9 p.m. to 8 p.m., which disappointed me because I had assumed that the show’s surprisingly late start time (this was a weeknight, after all) was something of a nod to the Berlin club scene to which Herndon owes allegiance.

Is Brooklyn finished? I ask myself.

Does music at hip indie venues like Bushwick’s hilariously(?) named The Wick have a curfew because owners must now live in fear of being shut down by wealthier neighbors?

Who’s to say.

A bit about Bushwick’s terribly(?) named The Wick: The venue occupies the ground floor of a shuttered brewery, and comes pretty close to earning its self-appointed title of “music fortress”. The Wick is cavernous – I count at least four separate “spaces”, including an outdoors – and the performance area is remarkably beautiful-- a razed-looking brick foundation with a wooden pyramid of a ceiling. The stage itself looks like it was very much built for rock music, with stacks of speakers and amps lined up at the front. I feel as though the owners of The Wick have set the room up to blast people in the face with music. I worry that this is a place for “rocking out” to music that Pitchfork approved of in 2001, and not really the place to “vibe out” to music that Pitchfork approves of in 2015. I worry that this is a good venue to see Spoon.

That said, I really like The Wick, and it pulls of the impressive task of feeling like both intimate and spacious. I am sad that it will be closing this December to make room for an apartment building with a Whole Foods in the lobby.

I worry that sound at The Wick will be bad, because the place reminds me of a run-down Scottish farmhouse and I have never seen electronic music performed in one of those. I move as close to the front of the stage as I possibly can (note: I’m an idiot.)

I could dedicate the next 2,000 words of this review to my experience as an audience member at The Wick. I could describe, in painstaking detail, the feeling that appeared in my gut every one of the six hundred times I heard the word “tech” or “startup” or “south by southwest” while I was an audience member at The Wick. I could try to determine the amount, in billions of dollars, of student loan money paid to Oberlin College by the collective audience members at The Wick.

But music.

Around 9 p.m. Evan Caminiti took the stage and performed a mesmerizing ambient piece that lasts roughly 40 minutes. At one point Caminiti earns the derision (and, I think, respect) of everyone in the audience by issuing forth a sharp blast of sound that is not so much heard as it is felt. Painfully; in the throat and chest.

Are you still paying attention? It almost asks.

Next was a downright immense performance from experimental composer and vocalist GABI (nee Gabrielle Herbst). Herbst was joined on stage by an ensemble of percussion, guitar, violin, viola and laptop.

Herndon was joined on stage by Mat Dryhurst and Brian Rogers, who typed out audience questions (texted to a number that had been projected behind Herndon as she set up) and answered them on a word processor projected behind Herndon.

The following exchange received a loud smattering of deserved applause:

“What should I say to the girls next to me?"

"A: Respect their space”

While a request to pit Berlin against New York received a response of visceral anger from a man standing near me who I am 100% certain was not born in New York. The answer: “Kingston”.

It was fun to watch the questions and answers be typed out in real time, and also fun to see how much Dryhurst and Rogers seemed to enjoy it, especially when they came up with a particularly cutting jib. Herndon kept turning away from her laptop to read the exchanges, and I always find a little pleasure in any indication that a performer is still having fun, still excited about what they’re doing even after months on tour.

Meanwhile, I receive a text from my friend Chris telling me that he forgot to come to the venue and instead went home.

“We’ll have to go back” I respond, and I mean it at the time.

But I may never go back to The Wick, which will probably be a Trader Joe’s wine outlet by the end of next week.

All of these text exchanges occurred in the simmering ambience before (and between) Herndon’s actual songs, where she really cut into things.

There was a feeling of loose improvisation to Herndon’s performance, though this was possibly artifice (who knows what’s going on behind that laptop?). Nevertheless, the wonderful clatter of electronics gave the performance a feeling of malleability. It felt as though the crowd’s reaction to the music – much like our text messages – might by Herndon be consumed, considered, and responded to: the black “A:” replaced by a particularly hefty beat or a dazzling slurp of distorted vocals.

As she whipped the air of The Wick along her furious carnival of synthesized sound, there was a lot going on behind Herndon as well. Namely, a crazy, reactive video program (this is the kind of thing that Max was designed for) created by Akihiko Taniguchi that resembled this Windows 95 screensaver and was filled with flattened images of human beings (Herndon and a Lidl-bag toting individual stood out to me) which toppled as they neared the “viewer”, and also oblong three-dimensional shapes with photos of fruit skin mapped to their virtual skin. If all of this sounds crazy and incomprehensible, it is only because I am a terrible writer. In the moment, surrendered to the safari of sonic structures through which Herndon’s music was pulling me, it all made perfect sense.

But it was also something else: It was fun. For a performance so concerned with the troubling link between humans and technology – a performance that explicitly addressed, in its text message game, our need for immediate gratification and constant interaction – this was a difficult thing to pull off.

It is difficult at live performances of “laptop music” to really gauge how much is actually being generated in front of you versus how much of a song is pre-programmed. Herndon’s performance seemed to engage directly with this issue. In fact I realize, looking back on the show, that at no point was I entirely sure of who was controlling what: was the video’s wild interactivity in fact determined by the shifts in the music? Were the audience’s text messages contributing in any way?

It’s hard to find the controller amidst the mounting chaos, and Herndon’s performance reminded me of a sort of performance art ventriloquism piece. A good ventriloquist doesn’t just disguise the fact that she’s talking: She creates a sense of interaction between herself and her dummy, such that you aren’t even watching to see how she’s doing it anymore; you’re just watching a conversation between two people. You forget that the whole thing is being manipulated by one person, let alone how that person is doing it.

Holly Herndon is a great ventriloquist.

A City Is An Island – Interview with Timothy George Kelly

10 Jun 2015 — Editor

In anticipation of the German premiere of Montréal music documentary A City Is An Island we have talked to the director Timothy George Kelly. The film will be shown at Kino Babylon Mitte on tomorrow, June 11 at 8pm followed by a Q&A with the director, musician Sean Nicholas Savage and artist Jason Harvey.

This interview was first posted on the website of Torstraßen Festival. Read it below the break.

Read more →

Your film illustrates how ambivalent many Montreal musicians are about self-promotion and even success. Did you encounter resistance to the project of documenting the Montreal music scene? If so, how did you convince people to be involved in your documentary?

There were different levels of resistance from different people. Younger artists are more often self-conscience, excited for a platform to talk and then afterwards sometimes wishing they had never done it at all. I think there is a real pressure now because of the internet, having to tour, having to have a press photo and music videos, it asks for an identity from young artists who may not know who they are yet and they are forced to cement that in recorded document that is in someone’s else’s control, which can result in a neurotic episode from some.

A lot of the older people who didn’t want to be in the film were just passive aggressive, which I would fire back with my greatest weapon, the never ending persistent weekly email. Mauro from Godspeed You! Black Emperor straight up told me to fuck off which I thought was pretty cool. There was this strange attitude from some of the nineties and early 00s crowd that making a film about the Montreal scene would somehow reveal the secret of the place and the floodgates would open. I grew up on a farm in Australia pretty much the furthest distance from Montreal possible, it ain’t a secret no more. The secret they are thinking of is just nostalgia for a time when their hangovers were more tolerable.

Most of the musicians in the film are solo artists. Is there something particularly solitary about Montreal life?

It’s economics of time and money. You have to tour now, touring with one person is way more affordable than multiple – and technology, people are create huge sounds with gear that didn’t exist ten years ago. Macbook Pro rock stars. And of course, winter. If you are solo, you don’t even have to leave your room.

You use a lot of live performances in the film — in venues, homes, and outside in Montreal city space. Why was that important to you?

I asked the artists where they would like to play. It was a way to document the space of the city whilst giving the audience what they want from a music documentary: music.

You spend a significant amount of time on language politics in Quebec, and the tension between French-speaking Quebecois and Anglo “ex-pats” who are mostly from other parts of Canada. Not knowing French is a weirdly big aspect of living in Montreal. Do you speak French? In your film, Brendan Reed compares asking this to asking someone about their sexuality. Do you agree?

One of my first jobs in Montreal was delivering sofas, my French never really improved from what was required there. I wouldn’t say Brendan is directly comparing sexuality and language, he is using sexuality as an example of something that is very important to someone’s identity which could result in people feeling isolated or ashamed. Anglophones feel guilty for their laziness in not ingraining themselves in the predominant language of Quebec, but the shame comes from language politics being in the fabric of Montreal culture and the anglophone being the perpetual outsider, the voluntary outsider, the lazy outsider, which leads to for so many to be the temporary citizen. It is this that makes them eventually leave.

What compelled you to make this film? Put another way, why did you feel it need to be made?

I am a filmmaker. I had no money to make a film about something made up, so I made a film about what was in front of me.

What kind of response has it had, in Montreal and outside?

Really well. I am just happy people completely ignore the technical issues the film has and see it has a heart, it was shot on a camera that is worth $150 now so I sit in the cinema at these film festivals and just feel like a kid, a pretend filmmaker, a liar, where all the other films that play have logos of companies and state support at the end credits. It is strange how something doesn’t look official until you put some kind of logo on it. Our brains love symbols.

Your film is about artists in Montreal, but your voice is absent. Why did you choose not to include yourself in it?

My voice is in it. It is everywhere. 90 hours of footage cut into 72 minutes. What is in it, what isn’t, that’s my voice right there.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

Australian. Moved to Montreal in 2008. Now based in London, UK. Have very little patience for shit fruit. I like painting, whisky and napping.

What are you working on next?

I am making a documentary about a techno collective called John’s Kingdom in Moscow right now. They are pretty interesting, all friends who somehow have a very similar sound, which in the world of Ableton and digital music creation where anyone who can work a torrent basically has an endless palette of sounds, is quite rare.

And then when I am back in London I will start another film in reaction to what Katie Hopkins has been saying about immigrants. The window of what has become reasonable to say in the right-wing press in the UK is disgusting and needs to be fought against, we are in an information war and it is very loud and very confusing and very fucked up. So I am going to make a film asking only egalitarian revolutionaries their opinions of the police, what it is to be human and if a policeman can be one. No one will care about the film of course, but it’s worth trying anyway.

Win: Paula Temple Presents “Decon/Recon” Live in Berlin

10 Jun 2015 — Evelyn Malinowski

Noise Manifesto's series "Decon/Recon" will be deconstructing and reconstructing live June 19th, at Arena Club Berlin. The project involves rRoxymore, Aquarian Jugs aka Planningtorock, Jaguar Woman aka Paula Temple, and Oni Ayhun. The showcase will involve cooperative visuals from queer-feminist porn director Marit Östberg and video artist Tania Gualeni. Apart from the project saying hoards about the aesthetic significance of collaboration, it moreover offers a kind of game where you might try to pick up on whose distinct styles appear during varying parts of each segment or track. Much to our surprise, styles prove superfluous, as these artists mimic each other and end up producing sounds that are utterly unique to the circumstance. It is true human synthesis performed within the aural dimension.

We are giving away two sets of a pair of tickets for the event. In order to win, write to and let us know that you know the true identity of Oni Ayhun. Deadline is next Wednesday, June 17th. 

Read more →

The NFOP Guide to Torstraßen Festival 2015

09 Jun 2015 — Henning Lahmann

First things first: For those of you who are experiencing a feeling of confusion and disorientation right now, silently wondering in mild despair, "How did this year pass by so quickly?" – fear not! Your memory and sense of time are totally fine. Due to a couple of more or less interesting, somewhat disruptive circumstances (in case you're actually wondering: the end of Berlin Music Week, its replacement Popkultur, and in some way probably even this superfluous oddity named Lollapalooza® Berlin), NFOP's favourite local music event Torstraßen Festival has been moved to early June instead of the last weekend of August. From now on marking the beginning of the summer festival season rather than its end, the shift entails the additional benefit of further underlining the humble festival's forward-looking, adventurous stance that keeps focusing on both Berlin talents and artists positioned subtly yet firmly left of the field.

Unlike the last years, the fifth edition of TSF not only occupies the better part of this weekend's Saturday but will have a bonus night on Sunday, with an official closing concert at the mighty Volksbühne. No Fear Of Pop is once again proud to be official media partner of the Mitte brouhaha – and as things are already so close, please allow us to make some recommendations for the festival below. Be sure to check the complete schedule in a neat map over here.

Read more →

Gaststätte Prassnik

The cosy little pub will be coloured in red and white for an all-Canadian experience with some of our favourite artists at the moment: Berlin resident and Urban Spree master of sounds Lief Hall should be familiar to our readers by now. Her recent show at West Germany featured some staggering new material, so you should definitely come by at 5pm to finally check her out if you haven't done so yet. Lief will be followed by recent Berlin via Montréal transplant Antoine93, who you might also know already from his superb performance at the NFOP four-year anniversary bash at Sameheads last year in February. If not, be there! Antoine now comes with the additional merit of having been selected as one of the three Welcome to Berlin participants for some extra fame courtesy of our friends at BCR, i-D, and Musicboard. Well deserved, we'd say (we've also voted for him, cough). Antoine93 will perform at 7pm The maple leaf trio will be completed at 9pm by wonderfully out of control Pascale Project aka Pascale Mercier fka Mathematique. We recently had the honour to interview her and premiere the first single from her forthcoming LP, check that out right here.

Roter Salon

Volksbühne's Roter Salon is set to host some serious Berlin art school vibes with appearances by local luminaries Deaths at 6pm and Golden Diskó Ship at 8pm. Just like Antoine93, the former have just officially been announced as participants at Welcome to Berlin, and the video for "Sold" should be sufficient to tell you why. Comparisons to various hyped projects have been made by others, but we don't do such things. Mostly. Usually. Sometimes. Compared to Deaths, multi-instrumentalist and Berlin Current alumnus Theresa Stroetges aka Golden Diskó Ship is almost to be considered a veteran, having performed at Berghain's main stage opening for Kuedo and Forest Swords last year. Stroetges' take on contemporary pop is sophisticated and remains pretty unique this side of Berlin city limits, and the dignity of Roter Salon seems like the appropriate venue for this sort of thing.

Ackerstadt Palast

So, we like Hamburg duo Zucker. We like gritty guitars and we think Ramones covers are okay if translated into German and post-ironically performed by two women. We even think that they can pull off naming a song "Trümmerfrauen". This is punk, after all. No post. Then again, their Soundcloud states "Genie-Noise-Minimal-Avantgarde-Pop". So indeed very post, after all. Come see for yourself and argue with us about classification. And listen to something German, ffs. 7pm. By the way, we are aware that we just said that you should be at Gaststätte Prassnik at that time as well. But that's really not our fault come think of it. The same issue reoccurs two hours later when Istanbul-based Biblo enters the stage at Ackerstadt Palast, and here we're truly conflicted. We stumbled across this highly talented artist two years ago when she collaborated with Brazilian beatsmith Pazes, but her solo stuff is actually so much more compelling, which is why her show would deserve everyone's undivided attention – were it not for all the other things going on simultaneously. We're afraid that we really can't help you here.

Platoon Kunsthalle

Dark and forward-thinking, Platoon is responsible for the artsy electronics. Torn Hawk, to whose 2014 Let's Cry and Do Pushups at the Same Time LP on Mexican Summer you absolutely need to listen to, is one of the many guises of Luke Wyatt, and it's arguably his most adventurous and compelling venture. See for yourself at 9pm (if you're not somewhere else, see above). Teengirl Fantasy on the other hand shouldn't need an introduction, really. The Brooklyn house veterans and nicest guys ever (who I interviewed for EB years ago) return to Berlin for a one-off show at 11pm. The duo's most recent material shows laudable creative development, so be there.

Also highly recommended:

And on and on, there's so much more to be seen, so let's quickly point to Emperor X, who will present his very own take on familiar folk tropes at Z-Bar at 4pm. If you're a reader of this site and/or came to our five-year anniversary at Urban Spree the other day, you'll already know what to expect from a Godmother show: the most queer fun/fun queers in town. Usually only coming out after sunset, their 5pm spot at Sankt Oberholz is one of the rare opportunities to see them in broad daylight. Just in case you need further arguments. Speaking of queer culture, Lotic's widely reported response to the recent GFOTY and Ten Walls outrage is today's essential reading material. Once you're done with that, be sure to see his avant-garde approach to contemporary culture live when Lotic exhibits one of his live performance/DJ set hybrids at ACUD at 10pm.

Volksbühne // Sunday

As already mentioned above, this year TSF will feature a second day, which really consists only of a highly compelling closing night at the Volksbühne main stage: the excellent Young Fathers will share the evening with Berlin mainstay and local pop majesty Molly Nielsson – the appropriate way to end what is set to become the most exciting edition of Torstraßen Festival yet. See you on Saturday.

This Sunday: 5 Years of NFOP at Urban Spree

22 May 2015 — Henning Lahmann

If you follow this humble website, you've probably already seen it all around the web, but if not, here's what you should not miss this weekend: No Fear Of Pop turned five years in February, and now that the sun is out and the Berlin summer is finally near, we want to celebrate our birthday with you. The magic is happening at Urban Spree in Friedrichshain on Sunday, May 24, starting from 4pm. There's really not much else to say other than that it's surely gonna be a wonderful day and night, so head over here for more info and to RSVP, and find the timetable below. If you're reading this it means we love you, so we'd be more than happy to see you on Sunday.


Urban Spree:
5pm Kohwi
6pm Small Wonder
8pm Fiordmoss
9pm UMA
11pm Lucrecia Dalt
12am Godmother

Back garden:
4pm Jason Grier
6:30pm Holly & Wade // This Thing
8pm Michael Aniser // Noisekölln
10pm Perera Elsewhere
1am Heatsick (inside Urban Spree if too cold)

Poster design: Alexander Palmestål

Read more →