“Lights Out, Berlin!”, music and pandemic

In Interviews, Music 3 June, 2023

Aleix de Vargas-Machuca

Aleix de Vargas-Machuca


It is only a few weeks since the end of the COVID-19 health emergency was declared, but the speed with which we have regained our daily lives and freedom of movement, human interaction and leisure habits makes it seem much more distant. However, we have not forgotten the difficult times, when uncertainty and security requirements to prevent the spread of contagions made it impossible to go out dancing and to keep concert venues, and clubs, open.

Lights Out Berlin! is a music documentary directed by about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Berlin’s music & club scene. Berlin has always been a vivid and colorful city, full of inspiring spots, artistic opportunities, and loud nightlife. A city with a huge cultural background that was for two years on hold. The film had its premiere in Berlin last April and after the film a Q&A followed with the director & participants, as well as an After Party with DENITE in the same location.

Lights out, Berlin!

Lights out, Berlin!

For those who could not be there, it is possible to watch the film at this link. We hope that this interview with its director will encourage you to get to know a stimulating documentary, which tells us about the terrible moment when the lights went out in Berlin.

EL HYPE —Where did the idea for the documentary come from?

DIMITRIS ARGYRIOU —Berlin has always been a vivid and colorful city. A city that was full of inspiring spots, artistic opportunities, and loud nightlife. I discovered that when I moved to Berlin as an Erasmus exchange student in 2008. And I stayed in Berlin all these years for this very reason, Berlin had a huge cultural background. So, when the pandemic came, everything had to shut down for a long time and I was thinking about what I am going to do now that this city has nothing to offer me. At the same time, my “full-time DJ” friends became unemployed, they had to find another job and make a living somehow. Then I started wondering what all these established DJs, producers, musicians, and artists that have Berlin as their home and studio base are doing. What did they do during the lockdown? How did they adapt to the new circumstances? What are their plans for the future? Questions like these were the initial idea. And since, my professional activities as a film director were on hold, too, I decide to do this documentary to explore how the pandemic affected the life, mentality, and businesses of artists, cultural venues, and music business entrepreneurs in the German capital. It ended to be a very creative experience and mostly kept me sane and productive during the pandemic madness.

Were you already in touch with the clubbing scene in Berlin?

—Yes, I am myself DJ, I became part of Berlin’s clubbing scene already since 2008 and my most friends are coming from the scene.

Lights Out, Berlin!

Craig Walker in Lights Out, Berlin!

Is this a topic you were already interested in prior to the pandemic?

—I was dreaming to make a music film one day. Partly, this is the reason that I became a film director, to combine my love for music and films. On top of that, I wanted to do a project about this unique music scene in Berlin. It is quite ironic that the pandemic “gave me” this opportunity to make a film about that.

How was the process of orchestrating and getting in touch with the artists and promoters?

—I started the production of the film, quite fast, we did the first interviews a month after the initial idea. It was a now-or-never mentality. My initial aim was to interview friends and friends of friends and quite quickly many more established DJs, producers, promoters and musicians came on board. So, this gave more legitimacy to our project and we felt more comfortable approaching people that we didn’t know having some really big names on board from the very beginning helped a lot to book more interviews and more people to accept to participate. Production-wise, I kept the filming team very small, to comply with pandemic rules and limitations. I formed a team of three people including me, but on some occasions, I had to go alone and handle everything on my own.

—What did you want to express through this documentary?

—As I see it now, it is my love letter to Berlin! What it means to me and to other creatives. It is about not giving up and be creative and continue even in hard occasions.

Considering the evolution of the clubbing scene in Berlin from more underground to a predominant role of tourists, do you think the changes that have been taking place in recent years and the rising prices in the clubs will persist from now on?

—I totally believe that the rising prices in clubs will persist from now on. I don’t see any reason why not, clubs are full, and queues to them are longer than before. There is no way back, except if people cannot afford it anymore and stop going, but in a city like Berlin, there will be always people willing to queue for hours and pay the price.

Lights Out, Berlin!

Lights Out, Berlin!

—Were you made aware throughout your interviews whether there is still a place for a local scene in Berlin’s party scene?

—Sure, it is a place for a local scene in Berlin.

You have done several shorts in the past, will you carry on with more documentaries or jump into fiction? Do you have any new projects in mind?

—I did many short fiction films and many short documentaries. I am choosing the form/genre depending on the story that I would like to tell and how I believe that it will touch more people.

While, I was in post-production with Lights Out, Berlin!, (which is my debut feature documentary) I shot my sophomore feature documentary, which is in post-production now. The title is Memories of Occupation & Dialogue for the Future, it has quite different subject than Lights Out, Berlin! After that, I would like to come back to fiction films, in which my heart beats. I have already written two screenplays and I have an idea for a third. Let’s see…

Lights Out Berlin!

Dimitris Argyriou, director of Lights Out, Berlin! Foto © El Hype.

If you want to know more about Lights Out, Berlin!, you can check out on Facebook, and Instagram.

Suscríbete a nuestra newsletter

* indicates required


BerlinElectronic Musicdocumentary filmsDimitris ArgyriouLights Out Berlin!clubbing

Related posts


You have to be login to leave a comments.

No comments

No one has posted any comments yet. Be the first person!