Letter From the Editor

It's Boris' World, And We're Just Living In It

In 1978, more than a decade before the Berlin Wall came down, a new club opened in West Berlin called Metropol. It was rumored that the owners of NYC's famed Studio 54 advised the new club's owners on the build-out, and it showed: the new space completely wowed Berlin with its grand theatrics, its booming sound, and futuristic lighting, and it is now widely agreed that the seeds of Berlin's famed nightlife scene were first sown there.

A young Berliner named Boris Dolinski was among this club's first regulars, and it soon became a second home to him. Metropol's resident DJ Chris was Boris' early inspiration—so much so that Boris soon started to purchase every record that he heard Chris play in this club. Concerts by luminaries like Kraftwerk and Grace Jones were held there as well, and soon after, with the advent of Hi-NRG, the local record shop that tried its best to carry what Metropol played the weekend before couldn't keep up with Boris' appetite for new music. He decided to move to New York.

The year was 1985.

To say that New York City in the mid-eighties must have been a mind-blowing experience for a young gay Berliner has to be an understatement. Boris' curiosity and voracious appetite for new music was unleashed onto what was then the very birth of world dance music culture; clubs like The Funhouse, Danceteria, The Pyramid Bar, The Boy Bar, Save the Robots, the infamously influential Area (the most artful club of all time, in our humble opinion), The Palladium, The Roxy, The Tunnel, 1018, and, of course, The Loft and Paradise Garage... this wasn't some extended vacation or a hobby; this was real passion, this was true devotion, applied methodically.

At night, Boris made it his job to be in all these seminal spaces, and during the day he prowled various record stores chasing the sounds that moved him the night before. And at this early point, he was not a DJ; he was just a Berliner in New York, collecting records...

The years passed quickly, and in 1990, after the closure of both The Loft and Paradise Garage—and in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall—Boris felt that it was time to go home, to see his broken city unite.

A newly-fluent English speaker, an owner of an outstanding record collection, and a walking and breathing database of American house music producers, labels, and even catalog numbers, Boris found himself Employee #1 of a tiny new record store called Hard Wax. His knowledge of the record business on the American side of things was so thorough that he was immediately put to work establishing direct imports for the store from American record distributors.

Within a few months' time, the early—and most important—years of Detroit techno and Chicago and New York house came to Berlin. The city was suddenly flooded with so much new and exciting music that a new understanding emerged among the Berlin scene DJs and club promoters and owners: "You could now DJ without compromise, without having to stretch out your set with diluted stuff," recalled Mark Ernestus, the owner of Hard Wax. "It was intense – so much inspirational music virtually at a single stroke."*

And once you could have hours of new music pumping through the speakers, you could have new clubs that didn't close at 4am, and clubs that didn't play what the other clubs played. "Almost immediately," noted Ernestus, "the first clubs worthy of such music opened: Tresor and Planet."*

The rest is literal history.

Years later, Boris became the resident DJ of a place called Ostgut, a small club operated out of a disused train depo by a pair of gay sex party promoters. This was the precursor to Berghain, and all those wonderful things that we now know Boris for… But it is his younger years, his headless and seemingly irrational trip to New York, his obsession with collecting new music, and his hard work of connecting the impossibly distant dots between post-apocalyptic Berlin and New York City, Detroit, and Chicago that we here at UNTER want you to focus on.

It is through Boris' ears that the foundational blocks of what we know as Berlin Techno were laid. It is his determined passion that has brought us here. It is his devotion to his craft that lies humbly hidden under his friendly and nonchalant ways.

This Pride, we invite you to celebrate one of the most important electronic dance music artists alive.

* Der Klang Der Familie, Felix Denk, Sven von Thülen, 2014