- Hello Bernd, how are you? We are glad to have you here.
I am fine, thank’s a lot. It’s a great pleasure to be interviewed by EDM Nomad.
- How did your passion for music get started? What or who inspired you to do what you do?
I discovered the musical gene early on. I learned to play the piano at the age of six. Followed by the keyboard. I built my first personal recording studio at 17 and received my first gold / platinum record at 23. “Oh, the world is simple,” I thought. But I quickly realised that it wasn’t that simple. In 2000 illegal downloads arrived, so it was time for a rethink. Dance music and media collapsed, programs like VIVA Club Rotation or the HR3 Clubnight were cancelled. Then my eureka moment arrived, I thought. “Hey, millions of people go to the clubs every weekend. What can you do with it? ”. Because (club) music simply reflects the pure attitude of living life at the weekend. So we organized the first party, expecting 400 people. Instead there were only 80. But you learn from every mistake, 1,000 people came to the second party. And in 2018, the BCB events welcomed more than 400,000 party guests worldwide.
- Did you encounter haters and naysayers along your journey? How did you manage to overcome their disapprovals?
Never say never. Never think this isn’t possible. Nearly everything is possible with belief. We never thought we would teach an astronaut to DJ and celebrate a WORLD CLUB DOME on the ISS. Or build a club in zero gravity. We want to create clubs in “impossible” surroundings and places. And we have absolutely turned some unbelievable places into clubs over the last few years. So quite simply, haters gonna hate, let them…
- How would you describe the ‘weekend feeling’ and why it is so important for people to have it in their lives as much as possible?
Everyone knows it, everyone feels it: By Friday afternoon at the latest, the anticipation to finally start the weekend begins. Forget everyday worries, put an end to your lapidary habits and conventions. Don’t worry about your teachers, trainers, or parents. It’s time to celebrate! It’s time to free yourself! This feeling, combined with the thoughts of the silhouette of the big city, where the sun sets on the horizon – that’s the feeling we’re all magically attracted to. That’s the BigCityBeats feeling. But it’s more than “just” clubbing. It’s about fashion, it’s about food (dinner or cooking with friends at the weekend), it’s about meeting friends, it’s about nightlife and of course it’s about the music. This all merges together to become the ‘weekend feeling’.
- The World Club Dome concept revolutionized the ‘clubbing’ industry. Can you tell us how it came to life?
The idea of the WORLD CLUB DOME came about because, as a native of Frankfurt, I drove past the enormous stadium time and time again and I thought: “Make the arena the biggest club in the world.” An idea that previously I had seven years before the first WCD . This grand stadium, this imposing coliseum, however everybody advised me against it, because prior to WORLD CLUB DOME huge stadium festivals had pretty much flopped. It was a suicide mission – if we had started with only 5,000 people, in a stadium with a capacity of 50,000 people, it would have been an incredibly bad business venture. But instead the first edition was a complete success.
- You’ve ventured through many jaw-dropping endeavours already. In 2019, we’ve witnessed the first ever DJ set from space, performed by ESA astronaut and commander Luca Parmitano from the ISS. Was it difficult to make it happen?
“One Sunday morning, I was watching TV and saw on the Adventure Channel a programme about zero-gravity astronaut training, and I said ‘BINGO’! I want to build a club there. The first time I called them they just hung up the phone and said ‘Okay crazy guy. No.’ But I persisted, and eventually the idea evolved “like a virus” within the ESA. You witnessed really well-known engineers, technicians, scientists and so on, tapping along to the rhythm with their feet, until eventually they said: ‘Hey, let’s do it.’ By the end everybody was smiling, all the teams had this uncontainable excitement. We reached one billion people overnight with the WCD Zero Gravity Edition because it was all over the news; BBC, CNN, everywhere.”
- Which one of the events you’ve hosted so far was the most challenging to organize? Do you still feel the pressure on your shoulders when it comes to creating the best experience for the attendees?
I suppose the most challenging event and equally the most exciting, from idea to fruition was the idea to create the first club in space. Broadcasting from the ISS and educating the ISS commander on how to be a DJ, Luca became responsible for being the first DJ to play a set from outer space directly to earth. Our reach allowed us to connect with 9.2 billion people. Of course it was also the smallest club in the world, because there was only one person and he was DJing, however I would definitely say this was the most unique moment from creating in my head to actually watching it become reality. Thanks to my amazing team, the incredible team at NASA, and because everybody was focussing together with one thought, one project, this historical moment became reality.
Of course there is a lot of pressure, even when the events begin to happen year after year. For example an event like World Club Dome in Frankfurt. I’ve done it seven times and gained years of experience in doing so. Nevertheless, every year there’s always incredible pressure, because when you have so many people there, you have the responsibility for everything, everyone, as well as the countless number of international acts on your lineup. I want everybody involved from our fans, to my team and of course the DJs to feel like they’ve come home. Our aim is to create a world away from the world for our guests, without them ever seeing the stress behind the scenes. This is always challenging, but it’s so exciting and if it comes to the point where we stand as a team on a Sunday with tears of joy and contentment in our eyes. Together we can say: We did it again! They’re always challenging events to create, for example building a club on a mountain with room for only fifty people, it offers so much excitement and it’s unique because prior to us no one had tried it before, but you’re always a bit unsure what might happen. Of course there are so many influences involved in our decisions and the World Club Dome is an incredibly efficiently organized event. Whether there is only one, fifty or 180,000 people. We leave nothing to chance.
- The world as we know it right now is all about technology. How do you see the clubbing and festival industry evolve in the near future?
Technology is changing the whole world on a daily basis, it has changed the world in insurmountable ways and will continue to change it in the future. But it is always a collaboration, because it’s only with the development of modern technology that allows us to transport this unique feeling, the emotion we create, together with the acts, light shows and technical effects. They all have to work together as one, which means you can never create a huge emotionally connective event with only technical effects, because a human being wants to see more, they want special light shows, special interactive moments within the tracks, but as a result of human nature we become desensitised after only a few minutes. So our shows use a combination of all seven senses, which increases the excitement, heightening the emotional experience, and we do this by making the most of the technology available at our disposal. If we bring it all together as one, then we all have the power to create magical events such as World Club Dome as well as other huge events such as Tomorrowland etc.
And of course it will continue to change as we move into the future, but technology doesn’t change the future alone. If you take everything into consideration it’s only with the whole package that the future can change. So it has, is, and always will be a combination of music, artist humanity and the technology that helps us shape the possibility of tomorrow.
- Do you believe that we’ll see a decline in the number of people attending music festivals and clubs in the near future due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Well, nobody can say what will happen in the next couple of weeks, months and so on. There will be medicine, there will be tests, there will be this and that. We at BigCityBeats don’t speculate on those kinds of things, because we believe it’s our job to offer people some hope and that’s why we continue with our work. If like us, you are responsible for so many large festivals, we simply cannot become sentimental and say: Oh it is October now or November now. We couldn’t host the festival because we wouldn’t have the time to organize it. It is our intention to create this feeling, and carry out what we believe to be possible. Our belief is that scientists will find the vaccine and we can return to normal life, whatever that normal life may be. So this is a question that every human being has to ask themselves, because we have to change something about our reality, and we have to build upon the solid fundamentals of what each of us has experienced, and how it has brought us together, making us stronger than we ever thought possible. And after witnessing how quickly the stability and structure of our entire society and way of living can be crushed so easily. Caused by a little virus. That is the question we all face today. But I mean people need to be entertained, without entertainment our networks and entire communities cannot function as we know them. It’s definitely a culture thing, and so we are working towards it, the belief that we will get back to normal life.
- What are your words of encouragement for the young generation who are to become the creators of tomorrow?
Be creative, have incredible dreams and work toward making them true. Nothing is impossible. Who ever thought an ISS Commander would play a DJ set on the ISS or a club could be built in zero gravity?
- This is all, for now. Thank you for answering our questions and we can’t wait to see what you come up with next 🙂
A lot of things are coming up. We’ve had challenging times, and we are still not completely through them. But we are fully focused on the BigCityBeats WORLD CLUB DOME Winter Edition at the beginning of January 2020 in Düsseldorf. Our aim is to have the first big event after the corona crisis. I hope you can all join us, and celebrate together.
Get your tickets for World Club Dome 2021 – https://www.worldclubdome.com
Follow Bernd Breiter – https://www.instagram.com/bernd_breiter
Photo credits: azzato.com