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Quepasa Mexicana isn’t hard to miss on the corner of the buzzing street. But then again, nothing there really is. The Mexican restaurant vibrates with the laughs of many, downing tequila after tequila while sipping delicious margaritas.
On first inspection, you may think this was the middle of Mexico City. On closer look, the Turkish waiters who speak German, Spanish and English might throw you off a bit. In the midst of it all sit Thor Rixon and I, two South Africans who blend in seamlessly with the background. What is this place, you may ask? This, my friend, is Berlin. And in Berlin, absolutely anything goes.
It’s no wonder Rixon and I have both returned to this side of the world more than once. While I’m here for personal reasons, Rixon is here for more creative reasons. “A handful of performances in some of my favourite Berlin clubs and a few festivals in EU like, Afropunk Paris with Petite Noir, and Garbicz Festival in Poland,” to be exact.
Unsurprisingly, the ‘Fuk Bread’ extraordinaire caught the attention of fans across the globe – his music uniquely allows him to connect to a diverse range of people and musical cultures. Whatever may tickle your fancy, Rixon’s probably got it. ‘Death Part I’ (from Rixon’s most recent album “Songs from the Bath”), with its folksy feel, would be my song of choice for a casual cycle around Berlin – Rixon’s favourite mode of transport in the city – while I would most certainly be glad to hear Rixon’s banger ‘Theresa Toy’ on the dancefloor of Berlin club Sisyphos.
Sisyphos also happens to be Rixon’s favourite performance space in Berlin. “It’s open from Friday to Monday and has like 4 dance floors with some of the best music Berlin has to offer. It was an honour to play in the halls of Sisyphos.”
Spaces like Sisyphos were more than just about the show for Rixon, they’ve also been hugely inspirational for him – especially in how he interacts with electronic dance music. “It’s everywhere in Berlin: in restaurants, bars, coffee shops, you can’t escape it. So yeah, whenever I’m in Berlin it always ends up pushing me to write more dance orientated music, whereas in South Africa I find I usually find I’m writing more ambient and softer works.”
I think I speak for many when I say, “We’ll take whatever you’ve got, Thor”. And something he’s got but is adamant to remain mum on, is upcoming collaborations. Something to look forward to for us then – Rixon has previously set the colab standard hella high. From the dreamy voice of Alice Phoebe Lou to the one-of-a-kind vocals of Diamond Thug frontman Chantel Van T, Rixon’s got a knack for pairing up with powerful female vocalists and producing tracks that completely complement their style. In the age of #MeToo, supporting female artists is as important as ever and Rixon is definitely one to look out for in that department.
So although Rixon and I both agree that Berlin is the place to be, it’s back home sweet home for us… for now. “I’m back in South Africa now to finish up the album and a few projects and then hopefully, if all goes to plan, move to Berlin for a while next year to tour Europe for a few months, and then back to SA. I plan to keep doing this for the foreseeable future,” he says.
Like Alice Phoebe Lou and Rixon, I know I have Berlin Blues leaving this magnificent place which encourages me to be myself completely. But I’ll rest easy knowing that I can look forward to Europe-inspired new music by this brilliant artist and some dance floor sessions at Rixon’s gigs on home soil. This South African summer, like every one before it, is sure to be a groovy one!
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