Experimental bass-botherer Joney is about to release his third album, so we asked him for a quick guide to the nightlife in his home town...
I have to be honest right from the start, and tell you that Hamburg, at night, is often full of spoilt rich kids and drunk tourists. It's also home to the Reeperbahn, Europe’s largest red light district, which draws in droves of drunken stag parties and unsavoury types… turning the quarter I live in, St Pauli, into an alcohol-fuelled zombieland every weekend. In fact, most St Pauli locals avoid their own neighbourhood when it comes to clubbing, while people from everywhere else get really drunk and vomit on our doorsteps. Lovely!
BUT… even though Hamburg nightlife is mostly superficial and can hardly be associated with a defining (sub) culture, there are nevertheless some really sweet hidden spots that I would recommend, and some venues that enjoy an international reputation due to their resident DJs and their work in music, politics and scenes that I do consider cultural.
1. Golden Pudel Club
Right next to the Elbe river, the Golden Pudel is the place for music lovers, and almost every Hamburg-based house and techno label hosts a residency night there. A lot of international superstar DJs started out here, and most people who make the club are producers, musicians and artists themselves. If you want to avoid the tourists and enjoy some really interesting bookings, Thursdays and Sundays are the best nights to go.
More info: pudel.com/
Not a club, admittedly – and I haven't been there in a while – but this huge quarter got squatted by artists almost 10 years ago, and now the collective owns this big, old area that was supposed to be deleted from the city. A lot of political and musical groups and also the Free Radio Collective from Hamburg call this place their home, and it's definitely worth a visit or three.
More info: das-gaengeviertel.info/
If you like to visit hardcore and punk rock shows as well as afterhours raves, innovative live acts and indie rap, this bunch of cool people and their headquarters are the ones to visit. The Hafenklang crew have been hosting some of Hamburg's most forward-thinking club nightsfor the past 15 years, and have put a lot of love into the city."
More info: hafenklang.com/
If it's a Berlin-style rave and three days without sleep you're looking for, this is the place to head! The bouncers also seem to like to create a Berghain-like situation on the door sometimes, but generally if you can still walk straight and don't act like a total idiot you'll get in. This club is not too much about innovative sounds, it's more of a rave thing, but it's also run by some really cool people.
More info: suedpol.org/
5. Übel & Gefährlich
Housed inside a huge old bunker, this club offers a broad variety of fresh bookings as well as huge party nights, with interesting sounds ranging from future grime to female cloud rap and Berghain-like techno nights. Always keep an eye on their programme when visiting Hamburg: a lot of very close friends of mine work here, and the programme offers a round-up of everything that is relevant today and will be tomorrow."
More info: uebelundgefaehrlich.com/
Words: Jonas Schiefferdecker Pic: Sami Grill
Joney's third album Bananarchy is out on 26 July on Audiolith/Anette Records