Photo by Rasa Urnieziute
At 26, born-and-bred Berliner Matthias R.* has already developed a thriving business selling party drugs to clubbers. Walter Crasshole invited him to his kitchen for a very private chat on the realities of dealing in Berlin.
I started 12 or so years ago. At 14, I started to party in Tresor, Polar.TV, the usual. Not too often, mind you, but I was going out. It wasn’t long, I think around 16, when I started my ‘business’ – just to pay for my evenings. It was simple, really. I decided to use a little money to buy drugs in bulk, getting five pills for €25 instead of €50 or something. I would use the same tactic in the beginning all the time: hit the club with five pills, take one myself and sell the other four. It was a really, really small thing at first.
There’s not much risk in Berlin when it comes to drugs. I’m not really nervous about it. If you are the nervous type, you’re in the wrong business.
But by 17, I started to think a little bigger. It had become my ‘day job’ and with that came the stresses that are common to pretty much any job – probably more. You don’t get holidays, they’re big nights in the clubs. Sometimes when your ‘shift’ is over, you don’t go home to sleep, you party or you may have to go buy some new stuff. Supply and demand hits you like in every other job: sometimes everybody wants ketamine and you didn’t buy enough. Then it’s just running around.
I got my first runner when I was 21, and now I have four. It’s turned into a proper small business, selling MDMA, LSD, speed, ketamine, ecstasy and cocaine (by order only). The popular recreational drugs. I don’t do the hard stuff and I absolutely don’t tolerate GHB. My drugs are for a good time.
We hit all the major electronic music party spots in the city – KaterHolzig, Ritter Butzke, Berghain, Magdalena, Renate, Sisyphos. I don’t need to do shifts so much anymore. It’s not important for me to be at every party and probably not wise either. There are enough of us to cover everything and people have fun doing their work. And I have time to be more relaxed and rely on the bigger picture. I also have time to think about the business. Books have to be kept! Last month we made €63,000 – but that’s a good month. On average it’s more like €700 a night.
I get most of my drugs from Amsterdam. I actually went on a four-day holiday to see the kitchen where it’s made. If you buy in bulk from there, say 20,000 pills, you can have your choice of logo on them. Now I have three drivers that take it from there to here and it’s not much stress.
Overall, there’s not much risk in Berlin when it comes to drugs. When people smoke joints openly in Prenzlauer Berg, that says something about the opinion of drugs in Berlin in general. Even in clubs – the attitude is toleration. I’m not really nervous about it. If you are the nervous type, you’re in the wrong business.
Of course, there are cops. When it happens that there are undercover cops, I can usually spot them myself, and I’ve been partying in these spots for so many years that the door people clue me in as well. Luckily I also have two friends on the police force who are kind enough to tell me about bigger checks in the clubs or near Jannowitzbrücke – they warn me about three to five days in advance. Contacts are everything.
As far as risks with the actual clubs go, it’s also fine. But I’m no ‘house dealer’. I’ve been partying in these places for years and years and I get in every time. I keep my business rather private, though. Once you’re in, it’s easy on its own. When I get new runners, I just go enough times with them at first to make sure the door people know “this person is cool”.
I am a normal person. I’m faced with the same decisions as everyone else. I’ve been married before. It didn’t work out and it’s over, but it happened. I am not partying constantly like I did when I was a kid. I do have plans. Eventually I would like to have my own alternative electronic space somewhere out in Brandenburg. I want to make a little wonderland for people, the same people that love the party scene here in Berlin and are really invested in it. Almost like the clubs here, but much, much bigger. I want it to be like its own country, with places to sleep and trains – even a bit sustainable with growing vegetables and such. I’m working hard on that. Hopefully I can start by the time I’m 35.
And that’s life. That’s my life. Would I do it all over again? Well, it really is a stressful business... if I could go back and tell my 14-year-old self what to do, I’d tell him to reconsider.
Originally published in issue #116, May 2013