“01099” about East Germany: “Dresden is great!”

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Written By Maya Cantina

The rap crew “01099” comes from the Elbe city. In the interview they talk about dealing with the AfD, the power of musicians and the Saxon dialect.

Three guys from the hip-hop band Zero Ten Ninety Nine

They like to come from Saxony: zero-ten-ninety-nine Photo: Jo Hannes Klingelhoefer

weekday: 01099 – you named yourself after the zip code of your place of residence, Dresden-Neustadt. What does it mean to you to be from Dresden?

Paul: Dresden is great! If you drive through the Neustadt in the evening and the evening sun shines in: it is brutally beautiful. We know every corner there, every sticker. And I also like that we come from Dresden and not from Wuppertal or something like that. You automatically have underdog status and can really only surprise. I really like this.

Do you feel like an East German?

This text comes from the weekday. Our weekly newspaper from the left! Every week Wochentaz is about the world as it is – and as it could be. A left-wing weekly magazine with a voice, attitude and the special taz view of the world. New every Saturday at the kiosk and of course via subscription.

Zachi: Certainly, that’s a big part of our identity. It feels good to set an example and make sure people hear something else from Dresden than just how many percentage points the AfD gets.

Someone on the Internet called you “Three Ossi Ottos”. Do you find that an insult?

Zachi: No, we like to come from Saxony.

Gustavus: Although sometimes we feel torn between the many cool oriental things and the other – All that ultra-right stuff.

Two weeks ago, SPD MEP Matthias Ecke was in Dresden brutally beaten while putting up election posters, he had to undergo surgery. The criminals were four apparently right-wing teenagers, the same age as you, who grew up in your hometown. That could have been your classmates.

Paul: First of all, this makes me sad. I have such a great love for my homeland and I am always shocked when I hear what kind of people live in Saxony. How much aggression is there.

Does that surprise you when you think back to your school days? How present were right-wing slogans on the schoolyard?

Zachi: I am surprised by this radicalism. I wonder, that you attack politicians at the age of seventeen or eighteen. We did not notice this at the time in our cocoon at the St. Benno Gymnasium or in our living environment in the Neustadt. Of course there were also conservative tendencies…

Paul: …but they didn’t go that way. The rebels there were more left-wing radical.

Zachi: On the other hand, I remember this becoming a big topic, when Pegida was founded.

How?

Zachi: We were twelve years old and Pegida scared me. I talked to my parents about whether this protest would get bigger. I was so shocked by how extremely angry many of these Pegida people were. We went with our parents and classmates, also from other high schools, to many counter-demonstrations. We were stunned because Pegida revealed such a striking truth about Dresden that we could no longer close our eyes to.

Paul: Yes, Pegida played a big role for us. We had nothing to do with Mugge at the time, but I remember writing a song against Pegida at the time. That really hit you hard: Dude, there’s so much crap in Dresden!

And do you have the feeling that something is brewing again: a new right-wing youth culture in the East?

Paul: Through our band we spend a lot of time on social media and there’s a big right-wing scene there, which is incredibly active in both the West and the East. This is downright terrifying! Gustav and I have developed a new hobby; we report any right-wing comments we see. But there are so many that reporting them has only a very small impact. And the right-wing scene on the internet shows a lot of solidarity with each other; they seek confirmation within their own peer group. You cannot influence them from outside at all.

In one of your songs you rap “You vote for the AfD”, in another “Look down on the AfD like a hummingbird”. Do you see these political references as your job as a young band from the East?

Zachi: Yes, if you have as wide a reach as we do, it would be irresponsible not to take advantage of it.

Paul: We absolutely do not want to leave our homeland to the right. We must participate especially this year. We will play demos against the right and we will donate to youth clubs in rural areas. There are really cool people doing fantastic work fighting against far-right dominance.

Were there enough alternative spaces for you as young people?

Paul: A very, very important place for us was the music school, the Heinrich Schütz Conservatory. It wasn’t necessarily a left-wing space, but it was a cultural place. And we had church, we grew up in a Christian environment. We didn’t have a traditional youth club. But we in the Neustadt perhaps needed it less than the young people in the provinces.

You come from a left-wing neighborhood, went to a middle-class school and the conservatory. Do you reach right-wing young people?

Paul: Of course, most people who listen to our music don’t vote for the AfD. Young people who grow up in a right-wing bubble do not come to our concerts; they reject us. But now that the festival season is starting again, we can reach a wider audience at festivals. And there too, announcements against the AfD are worthwhile.

What can music actually do against a partly right-wing mainstream?

Gustavus: I believe music is important. And we are not the only ones: Kraftklub and Trettmann from Chemnitz also write left-wing texts. After There was the concert ‘We are more’. That was super important to me and many others. We didn’t exist as a band at the time, but then I realized how much difference it makes when the art scene comes together against the right. That showed me that they support us, that they have the same opinion as us, that we are not alone.

How do you view people leaving East Germany?

Paul: We don’t have any similarities in the band (laughs). We no longer live in Dresden ourselves – two of us are in Leipzig, one in Berlin. But somehow we live all over the place right now because we’re on the road so much. But of course we wonder if it isn’t a betrayal. to leave Saxony in the long term.

Zachi: For me, leaving would feel like giving up. If you leave, you leave room on the right and also on false attributions, that would be a defeat.

Saxon is beautiful. Why not rap in dialect when you’re so close to your hometown?

Gustavus: Well, we know Saxon, we also speak a lot of Saxon behind the scenes because it’s fun. But there are many things that come with speaking Saxon…

Paul: … of course the prejudices: It Immediately sounds somehow uneducated, potentially right-wing and always a bit excessive. Therefore it was out of the question for us to make a song in Saxon; it would sound like a parody. But I find dialect rappers difficult in principle, it’s such a very patriotic niche. But still interesting: Because we actually love the dialect, but sometimes we are also a bit ashamed of it.

Gustavus: Actually, we should reclaim the dialect. Rieglaim Säggsony!

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