What better way to get insider insights to Leipzig’s Wave Gotik Treffen (WGT) than by chatting with two local aficionados and introducing them to two of my passions; Gohlis and good food. Whilst eating good Croatian food at Konobo Laterna I got to know a bit more of the background on why our city has become the global hub of activity for the Gothic scene. It probably intrigues a lot of people that Leipzig, as host of the world’s biggest gothic fest, happens to be the hotspot for this music genre and sub-culture.
A long love affair with Wave Gotik
Eva Schoeneberg explains it as “something to do with the longtime isolation during the formerly known GDR. Of course Leipzig was equally open-minded because of the annual fair. I remember that after the wall came down for the first time ever I realised that Eastern Germany had (and still has) one of the biggest Depeche Mode fan scenes worldwide.”
Although Eva does not think Depeche Mode counts as Goth, it was her way in. On the flip side, her sister Uta’s initiation of sorts was through the Neue Deutsche Todeskunst, with Satura by Lacrimosa being the first album she bought with her own Deutsche Marks. I knew she and her sister have been long time fans: Apart from the music for Eva, it was the outlook on life and death, and for Uta her love of dancing, that kept them hooked.
But to elaborate a bit more, Eva believes the Goth scene has a “more relaxed, more of a ‘life and death belong together’ look… sometimes very philosophical: Is there an afterlife? What is religion and why does every religion claim to be the only one?” She also has a fascination with vampires, as much as Uta has for dark comics. Any newbies to the scene should, according to the sisters, try Novelle Vague, Die Form, Projekt Pitchfork, Haujobb.
Back to black in 2016
As locals born and bred in Leipzig, they have the happy accident of being in the right place at the right time. Eva has even deepened her involvement by running the pre-WGT meeting on the Thursday before the bonanza weekend. I have had the delight to attend a couple of these, and was curious to know the reasoning behind setting it up.
“A lot of people, including Mark Sadgoth, wanted to meet up… so we were looking for a nice place to get together with no forced charge for drinks/meals and ended up in Bayrischer Bahnhof… and that’s how it all started with the open-for-all-English-speakers-pre-meet”.
Thanks to the Schoeneberg sisters for this brief insight into the WGT. And you can find Eva at the recommendable Novelle Vague gig, while Uta will be dancing in her kinky Goth boots at Moritzbastei on Thursday and Sunday, like every year.