Hundreds attend 'techno mass' in Berlin church with renowned DJ priest

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Hundreds attend 'techno mass' in Berlin church with renowned DJ priest
File image of a DJ at a party. Photo: Depositphotos/kiriak09

Twin decks perched on a candlelit altar, Robert Hood mixed trademark minimalist techno with God, as the charismatic producer and ordained priest wowed a packed Berlin church on Friday night.


Hundreds of hip Berliners, most of whom had come to dance rather than pray, were swept along by Hood as priest-cum-DJ, as well as an amateur gospel choir and two female priests at St Thomas church (Thomaskirche) in the cool if dilapidated district of Kreuzberg.

The thumping bass beat did its best to make the walls of the 19th century Protestant neo-gothic style church -- one of the city's largest -- shake as a black-clad Hood led the proceedings and professed himself much moved by the occasion.

"It's a beautiful sanctuary, I didn't know it will lift up so much energy. I am so glad to be here, I've been dreaming of this night for so many years," enthused Hood, a renowned producer of Detroit techno but who was also ordained a priest in 2009.

"This is the first time I ever had the opportunity to do something like this, to witness fellow believers. You'll be swinging from all over your body," said the 53-year-old known for his Detroit politically-infused collective "Underground Resistance" label performances.

The St Thomas Church in Kreuzberg. Photo: Depositphotos/narimbur

So-called minimal techno and its hypnotic repetitive beat emerged in The Motor City -- the home of Motown -- and Berlin in the early 1990s.

The variant's now virtually vintage status has also inspired countless Euro clubbers.

Friday's gig-as-mass gave a sizeable tonal nod to the religious setting as the DJ pastor produced a set blending house music with gospel, notably with his 2011 chef d'oeuvre "We magnify his name" which entranced both young clubbers in the audience as well as some among the church's more regular congregation.

Hood, an Afro-American now based in the Alabama countryside, still produces music despite taking the cloth and has brought out a stream of work both eponymously and as Floorplan, the Vision, Underground Resistance and via a range of collaborations. 

Referring to the religious side of his persona and taking holy orders, Hood explained: "I was living my life outside of God, as a stepchild, but not his child. I had to be born again.

"The Lord is good, he is the source of my strength, my creativity."

Hood spent the latter part of the evening not at church but in Berlin's high techno temple Tresor, known for its clammy basements and 48-hour megafests.


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