Felix Denk, Sven von Thülen

The Sound of Family - Berlin, Techno and the Reunification

English edition published by Books on Demand in 2014
(German title: Der Klang der Familie)
ca. 423 pages
Felix Denk
Foto: Felix Denk
© WillemThomson

Felix Denk (1975) came to Berlin in the mid-90s in search of hidden clubs and secret parties. He is currently an editor at the Berlin-based magazine zitty and is also a regular contributor to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Tagesspiegel, and Groove – Magazin für elektronische Musik und Clubkultur.

Sven von Thülen
Foto: Sven von Thülen
© Willem Thomson

Sven von Thülen (1976) has lived in Berlin since the mid-90s. He is an editor at De:Bug – Magazin für elektronische Lebensaspekte and also writes for zitty and die tageszeitung. He is a resident DJ at the Berlin club Watergate and under the monikers Sven VT and Zander VT he releases house and techno records on the Berlin labels Suol and Bpitch Control.

Sold to

Spanish world rights (Alpha Decay), France (Allia), Korea (Mmmnnn)

The city is throbbing to the beat of freedom.


Post-reunification Berlin was one big playground filled with infinite possibilities. In the former no-man’s-land places suddenly sprung up out of nowhere, often lasting only for a few weeks, where history was going to be written. Techno, the new youth culture that would unite East and West spread out from here at 180 beats per minute.

After the fall of the wall, Berlin is full of disused spaces and abandoned buildings, just waiting to be filled with new life. It is unclear who owns any of this, which allows the techno scene to take over these new empty spaces in both halves of the city. Clubs, galleries, ateliers and studios spring up – only to disappear again a few weeks later. Soon Berlin has become the epicentre of a new culture, attracting enthusiastic followers from all over the world to clubs like the Tresor and the E-Werk. Wearing gasmasks and welding goggles they dance the night away to the jackhammer sound of previously obscure Detroit DJs. Among them are writers, artists, photographers, and designers. Techno quickly develops into a mass movement, finding its most coruscating expression in the Loveparade.

DJs, club-owners, music producers, bouncers and scenesters, people from the centre of the movement and from its peripheries – in The Sound of Family they all get to have their say and paint a vibrant picture of a time when it felt like everything was possible.


»A monumental work of pop history.« Berliner Zeitung

»...well worth reading.« Tagesspiegel

»For anyone wanting to understand techno and post-reunification Berlin, there is no way around this book.« Welt am Sonntag

»Yes, we needed this book! But more than that: It has the makings of an indispensable, definitive work.« Groove

»We played in clubs that didn’t belong to anybody, in parts of the city that weren’t under anybody’s jurisdiction, in buildings that officially didn’t even exist. We were alive at a time when normal people were asleep.«


»A brilliant book about one of the most amazing things ever to happen in the history of pop.« Tobias Rapp, Author of Lost and Sound. Berlin, Techno and the Easyjet Set