Creamcake looks back on a decade of partying in this exclusive playlist
Crack Magazine is marking Pride season with a series of specialist mixes and playlists dedicated to LGBTQ+ club nights and promoters. From the iconic parties of bygone eras through to the emerging events breaking through in 2022, we’ll be highlighting the sounds of these parties and the artists that shape them.
Creamcake is a club night, event promoter, record label and collective based in Berlin. Much like the city it calls home, the project has evolved considerably in the years since its launch. That was in 2011, some time after one of its co-founders launched a queer party named Milkshake that laid the groundwork for the exciting venture to come.
The parties may take place in Berlin, but the Creamcake ethos is one of global connection and celebration. The internet, and the flurry of artists and hybrid genres that came to the fore online – be it through SoundCloud edits, niche music blogs or quick-fire music sharing – remain the bedrock of Creamcake’s work as a self-dubbed “global queer-feminist creative community”. Its musical direction plays into this ethos and homes in on emerging and experimental styles that deviate from the sounds more commonly associated with Berlin. Deconstructed club or ‘post-club’ music, for instance, found an eager audience at early Creamcake nights.
Creamcake’s offshoot projects, including 3hd Festival – which shines a light on the crossovers between art, music, performance and digital culture – and its forthcoming anniversary event series are yet more celebratory affairs. The birthday proceedings are entitled 10/11 to mark Creamcake’s decade (or so) years of operation and commence on 29 July with a party at clubbing institution Berghain. It will feature artists such as Total Freedom, LYZZA, umru, Namasenda and more.
Plenty of these artists are represented in this exclusive playlist curated by the collective. Check out the selections below and scroll down to read an interview with the Creamcake crew.
A collective of art and music lovers, raised with the internet and interested in its effects on culture and creativity. When we started putting on shows and club nights at Südblock in 2011, one of us had already been co-producing another queer night called Milkshake with another friend. That event [prioritised] more unambiguous electronic music than what Creamcake covers.
Can you expand on what it means to be a collective raised alongside the internet?
Although we understand it’s gauche to admit out loud, we would say that we definitely started as part of the 2010s ‘post-internet’ milieu, which not only engaged more politically with its online context but also broke down barriers around ideas of what qualifies as ‘art’ and who is allowed to make it. That presented fertile ground for deconstructing and reconstructing canons and identities in art and music free from the restrictions and limitations of ‘meatspace’. It also proved incredibly productive for creating an inclusive, imaginative and self-determined queer-feminist space for art and community.
Ultimately, as the scene has grown and become established, so has Creamcake. We now organise all sorts of events and exhibitions, work on our annual 3hd Festival – as well as other collaborations with Klosterruine, HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlinische Galerie – and, of course, Berghain for our 10/11 birthday party this year.
© Ink Agop/Creamcake
What are you focused on when it comes to the music and artists soundtracking your events?
When we started Creamcake, we were looking at the kind of music that lived online. We wanted to invite the people behind it to Berlin in real life, not only as an alternative to the dominant techno and house music scene of the city, but also because we really wanted to meet these people! Due to its online and interdisciplinary nature, visual aesthetics were also very important to representing the kind of music Creamcake loves, and we would often pair an artist with each show to do the poster art.
As a result, not only were we one of the first to bring performers and producers like SOPHIE, Mykki Blanco, Kelela, Yung Lean, and Grimes to Berlin, but we also featured some very talented and influential artists and designers early in their careers, including Amalia Ulman, Hannah Diamond, Pussykrew, Sam Lubicz, WangNewOne, Sam Rolfes and so many more. As a collective birthed from ‘post-internet’ culture, it makes sense that we have developed into a multifaceted project covering all fields and practices, because so has the internet.
© Ink Agop/Creamcake
“As a collective birthed from 'post-internet' culture, it makes sense that we have developed into a multifaceted project covering all fields and practices, because so has the internet”
© Ink Agop/Creamcake
Can you sum up a Creamcake party in three words?
Queer, global and fun.
Which venues do you typically frequent – and why?
Although there are plenty of proper venues in Berlin we could name – including past and ongoing partners such as HAU Hebbel Am Ufer, Trauma Bar und Kino, OHM, Vierte Welt, Südblock and Galerie im Körnerpark – we’ve always been more interested in the unusual spaces. As Creamcake, we have previously repurposed [these spaces] for our mock ‘temporary autonomous zones’. There’s the abandoned Park Center Treptow shopping mall for 3hd 2021, the 22nd floor of the Postscheckamt Tower postal bank office – with its epic view of Berlin – in 2019, and the swimming pool at the Sommerbad Humboldthain recreation centre for TROPEZ.
Some refurbished current venues that have really been spectacular to work with include the old Wasserspeicher water tanks and the Franciscan monastery remains of Klosterruine.
What did you want party-goers to take away from your events?
That anything is possible and you’re not alone. As people who have lived through the online revolution and have seen how the culture has changed in the last 20 or so years, we can safely say that one of the best things to come out of the internet’s proliferation was the ability for outsiders to find friendship and connection across the world. There are other far less positive outcomes of this capacity to link up with like-minded people, but LiveJournal, queer Tumblr and other more contemporary social web platforms for weirdos have made it easier for a global queer-feminist creative community like ours to exist.
Let’s talk about 10/11. What are you celebrating and who is involved?
10/11 is our – kind of – 10th anniversary. We say ‘kind of’ because it’s hard to know when Creamcake truly began. Whether it was with Milkshake that started a few years earlier, or when we came up with the new name and direction in 2011. We also collectively lost a couple of years during the height of the pandemic. For many of us, that period is a wash of anxiety and trauma; we can’t really remember the details and have reemerged older and more grey, though with little yet cavernous sense of loss to show for it. Family and friends – even artists we’ve worked with – are now gone. The world has drastically changed.
So, we’re opting for a redo and are setting back the clock to that liminal space beyond time, where anything is possible. That’s why we’ve invited friends old, new, and ongoing, such as bod [包家巷], DÆMON, LYZZA, DJ Paypal, Jam City, KESH, Namasenda, Petal Supply, Total Freedom, TYGAPAW and umru, to redefine Berlin nightlife at its center of Berghain, and hopefully build a better future.
Tell us a little about the artists you’ve chosen for your playlist?
As a platform, we’ve supported and represented well over 600 artists to date. Obviously we couldn’t account for everyone on our playlist, but we chose some of the producers, musicians and performers that have been the most influential on our scene. They’re the ones who have brought a non-binary, avant-pop, post-internet, post-club sound to a broader audience. We’ve also included music by artists we either love or believe to be on their way to defining the next generation of intersectional and indefinable artists creating some of the most exciting and dynamic music right now.
© Ink Agop/Creamcake
Would you say the genres explored here are the ones Creamcake is best known for?
Absolutely. Most of these artists have participated – or are about to take part in – Creamcake-organised events and releases. Others like Anne Imhof, Eliza Douglas, Loraine James, Kelman Duran and TSVI are (for now) aspirational.
What memories do you have of these tracks at past events or parties you’ve hosted?
There are too many to recall, but we have a personal and even heartbreaking relationship to many of them. Bladee – part of Gravity Boys and Drain Gang – defined the malaise of post-internet alienation with 2014 album Gluee. He didn’t play our favourite early Sad Boys show at the iconic (and now gone) strip club-come-post-club hub Chesters when they were still teenagers, but he is – with the rest of the Yung Lean crew – a hugely influential component of Creamcake’s favourite sounds.
Elsewhere, Golin’s live performance at Berghain’s Säule room during our 2018 3hd Festival was a highlight, while SOPHIE – a giant of the post-club, avant-pop scene – played Creamcake in 2019. She returned to DJ our last 3hd festival right before pandemic hit and the world changed forever. There’s a bittersweet feeling to looking back at the changes and endings that have come over the past decade, but there’s still something to look forward to; there’s still hope in the next generation.
10/11 takes place from 29-30 July at various venues across Berlin. Find out more here