Smuggling, negotiating, Russian TVs …

How electronic music got made in East Germany

Despite a dictatorship, a few 70s musicians in found a way to do their thing. An Oral History of Electronic Music in East Germany is an intriguing look at a little-known corner of music-making history.

Other bands had to put up with lots of official lecturing and change loads of their lyrics, but as an electronic band you were spared because there were no lyrics….

Getting hold of equipment was quite an ordeal. For a start, you had to earn loads of money to be able to afford stuff from the West…. On top of that, you also needed someone to bring the gear across the border. Most people charged a hell of a lot for that, so you’d end up paying up to 40,000 East German marks for a synthesizer….

I once gave this guy – you’d probably call someone like that a dealer today – 13,000 East German marks and then didn’t hear from him again for ages. Of course I was really worried the money was gone. In winter I was told to come to a certain place and he appeared with a Yamaha keyboard under his arm. It was hair-raising!

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