The seminal Hard Wax record store, opened in 1989 by Mark Ernestus right before the Wall fell, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a gigantic event at the legendary WMF club in Berlin. With performances from Soundstream & Prosumer, Shed, Mark Ernestus featuring Tikiman, and a host of other techno demi-gods, it is sure to be one of the don't-miss events in Europe this autumn. But why such a grand affair for a record store? For the uninitiated (or those unfortunate enough to have never visited Berlin), a history lesson is in order.
Ernestus opened Hard Wax in 1989 because he found that the record shops in Berlin were increasingly unable to fulfill the demand for the house and techno music coming out at the time. The shop quickly became one of the focal points of Berlin's burgeoning electronic dance music scene, and with Ernestus co-producing some of the most influential records of the '90s with Moritz von Oswald under the Basic Channel moniker (among many others), the specialty store became a legend and a mecca for traveling techno fiends. Stocking a significant amount of vinyl that other stores can't get access to, Hard Wax is now home to one of the most astounding mail-order operations in the world, and by next year, the online store will be selling digital tracks for the first time.
Hard Wax XX is happening on December 5 at WMF.