Marten Berger has been driving around Europe in his rolling studio the past two years. He recorded an album with the street musicians from all over the continent, and he is making a documentary about it.
Marten studied for four years of Media Music in Enschede. He is German, lived in The Netherlands and couldn’t decide where to set up his base after graduating. ‘Whether it was starting a company with some of my closest friends in Holland or working as an audio engineer in a German recording studio. I felt like there were so many more places to explore. Maybe I would feel home there, too?!’
So, he decided to travel and see a bit more of the world. But addicted to his work, his work had to come with him. Combining ‘recording street music’ and ‘travelling’ would go along pretty well together. With is instruments, gear and a bed in his van, this idea couldn’t turn off.
Nowadays he is living in a rolling studio, recording music wherever he goes!
What gives you your drive in your profession?
I loved my study years. I loved being surrounded by artists and professionals, and I loved my work.
However, I always felt something was missing. It was not balanced.
Whenever I asked people how they were doing, they replied “busy”. I thought this would change if you finally reach the higher budget jobs, but it didn’t.
Music, for me, should be about passion and expression. And ever since I found the confidence to really commit myself to do what I really like doing, I felt I found the place where I belong. In other words: I do what I do because I love it.
The business around it is just a necessity to pay the bills.
Who or what are your primary sources of inspiration?
I used to analyse famous artists and producers a lot, to discover some “tricks” they do that I can use for myself. This helped me a lot to level up my skills.
Now I like to discover new and foreign places, and whenever I do new ideas pop up like hiccups. And sometimes you can combine some of these ideas into something concrete.
What is your vision of entrepreneurship in the arts?
Difficult question. I believe the only task entrepreneurship in art has, is to enable you to do art. However, you are well advised to do it well. Because when you do, you have fewer troubles on your mind, plus it is very likely that you then reach a much larger audience to share your message with.
How did you start your project?
I had an idea, and I jumped right into the deep end. I had no idea whether I could pull it personally, whether I can find the necessary funding or whether this is a good idea in general.
But I believe its sometimes easier just to do it than to not do it.
What difficulties did you encounter, and how did you resolve them?
To be honest, I was stressed, and even a little scared of all the encounters I just created.
In the worst case, during university, you only had to survive until the next month. You had the stressful weeks before the deadlines, and you had your breaks in the summer. But suddenly I was on my own, and I never knew for how long the money I had had to last. But the only way to learn to deal with this situation is to be in it.
How did you finance this journey?
I worked many audio engineering jobs to have a base to start with. Then I was doing a small crowdfunding campaign and have been lucky enough to find some sponsors that helped me to pull this off.
I did everything I could, but still, I left on my journey, knowing the money would not last for the whole project. Not even close. I just trusted the universe, and I still trust it.
How do you envision your future?
Difficult question. Throughout this journey, I discovered the joy of documentary filmmaking, and I would love to keep doing this. Making music documentaries in different countries meeting incredible musicians from around the planet really close and face to face is for me is so inspiring and joyful. But on the other hand, I do miss ‘nerding’ around in the studio, doing productions and having my friends and colleges close. It has to be a hybrid of both. I have plans to build a proper studio on a truck as well as an off-grid log-cabin studio somewhere in the mountains. Let’s see how long this is gonna take me.
What is a real ‘Must Have, Do or See’ for every artist?
I think it is questioned. I think every artist should ask themselves over and over again: “What is it? I really like to do if money was no object?”.
Because it’s precisely this moment when we do what we really like doing when “art” is happening.