It's been a very fruitful and exciting week as the Brighton Music Conference returned to the seafront for 3 days of panels, networking, parties and glorious sunshine. Not only that, we welcomed an old friend to the city who not only rocked the Thursday club night but also glided and smiled with us throughout the conference. We caught up with Timo Maas.
Timo is a storyteller. For him, it's never about back-to-back bangers or brainless hits, but about crafting, building, teasing and eventually pleasing. From hefty concrete funk to stripped-back and brain-altering techno via psychedelic synths stronger than any drug, he knows exactly what to play and when. He has done so at every major club and festival on the planet from Tomorrowland to Kazantip, Creamfields to Coachella, while for 18 years during the golden years of Ibiza's Circoloco party at DC10 he was a regular guest, which is a testament to the fact that he has always stayed ahead of the times.
Two-time Grammy Award-nominated Timo has made every shade of electronic music from famous remixes of Azzido Da Bass and Depeche Mode, leftfield reworks of Afro-Peruvian group Novalima and Indonesian all-female heavy metal band Voice of Baceprot via work with pop greats like Paul McCartney, Madonna and Placebo. But his pure love of techno keeps him coming back to his most famous sound. It's all united by his ability to craft weighty bass and rolling drums that lock you in. To dream up unusual breakdowns, freaky vocal treatments and deftly designed details that sound like nothing else. He has released on majors like Warner and Virgin and underground staples like Stripped Down Records, Cocoon, Mobilee, Tenampa and Last Night On Earth. But whatever he does and wherever he does it, Timo is always investigating new musical grounds.
Hi Timo, how are you and what have you been up to this week?
I'm great! I had a blast at BMC (Brighton Music Conference), really loved the vibe, the party and especially all the nice people around me. Brighton is indeed a nice place. Besides that, I'm working on some remixes at the moment. Some very diverse stuff.
You attended the Brighton Music Conference last week, which was hosted right on Brighton seafront in and around the iconic i360. It was your first time there. Did you have fun?
I really enjoyed it. There were a lot of familiar faces, cool panels, awesome weather and the location was top. I'll be back next year, I hope.
What were some of your key takeaways from the conference?
Obviously the development of the music market in general in all its facets, how we're always learning about new technologies and we also talked a lot about the ethics of DJing nowadays.
Which old friends did you see?
Namedropping o'clock: Yourself, Jon Carter, Normski, Bushwacka, Judge Jules, and the Baron - Mr Dave Clarke - plus many many more. It was great to have a few very funny chit-chats about old times.
You were part of a panel alongside Dave Clarke, Bushwacka, Lizzie Curious and Harriet Jaxon hosted by Normski. You were discussing the role of the DJ, mainly around your experiences, emerging technologies such as AI and the shelf-life of modern releases. How did you find being on the panel and what in your opinion has changed the most across the last 3 decades?
It's always great to share views and experiences, especially with such a diverse and experienced panel. Obviously before social media, it was mainly all about the music, which has changed very much due to marketing plans, budgets and performances. The music unfortunately doesn't have the highest rank in importance anymore. It seems rather more important to have loads of followers and likes rather than being lovers of our art i.e. the music!
Of course not everything is like that, and I/we have to adapt to the market but it's certainly a different game compared to 20-30 years ago.
You have had a lot of success over here in the UK and you are very much loved. What is it about the UK that you enjoy so much?
I have always loved the music from the UK especially in the late 80s and 90s. I always wanted to play there, which I first did back in 1995. The appreciation of the clubbers has been totally different to other places in the world since then. I had endless parties in the UK with awesome, wild crowds and so much fun too!
You recently started collaborating with Marc Romboy. Tell us more about that.
After a spontaneous B2B set last December in one of the coolest micro clubs in Germany, called DIE NACHT in Mönchengladbach, Marc and I decided to do an impromptu session in his studio. That's where we created our new EP 'DIE ZEIT', which is our first collaboration track.
We have known each other from way back in the 90s but nowadays a lot better musically and personally. Marc is a top lad, with great skills and a lot of experience. To combine all of our forces together is extremely creative. You will hear and see soon what we've been conjuring up. There's lots more stuff in the making!
What else can you tell us about future releases, anything exciting in the pipeline?
There are a whole bunch of things we're working on at the moment. After remixing a track for the fabulous Peruvian band NOVALIMA, which came out on Nervous recently, Francesco Mami and I just delivered the next remix for this band. It's very different and again something you wouldn't expect. You have to hear it!
Other new projects with Marc are already in the making, some remixes soon for Polaroid, Diego Montie, Daniel Haaksman and more plus new Timo Maas material as well as some more collaborations with some very dear and respected friends. Same as usual, always busy, and I like it!
You have released tracks on some of our favourite labels. Are there any releases that are your stand-out favourites or that have special memories or resonance with you?
What a question mate! I think with a lot of my past work I have some very individual memories. I think it would be rather interesting to know what memories my listeners have of my music. I'm sure there are some crazy stories.
You have also had some of the biggest residencies on the planet. Can you share some of your favourite moments with us?
I guess you are talking about my years for Circoloco. Well, endless memories, especially in the early years, when it was still more anarchy than business.
In those times it was my perfect place to be. I also had tons of fun but without having numerous smartphones filming you while the shenanigans happened. I loved that.
Also my residency from 2004-2007 on Wednesdays was an incredible experience, as it was also the first time DC10 opened other than Mondays. It worked well… very intimate nights!
Where was your first gig?
Back in 1982 at my friend's house.
What are your go-to labels?
In reality I try to filter awesome music out of the endless amount of new music I receive every week that fits to my storytelling DJ style. I don't overrate the fame of a label, it's about the music and not the name.
You have compiled our latest Berlin Mixtapes Series Episode 046, which was a live recording at our club night during BMC at the Arch last week. Tell us more about the mix.
All I can really say is, it was a spontaneous set as always. Nothing pre-programmed. I tried to catch the cool atmosphere of the venue and the vibe of the crowd and changed it into a musical journey. Have a listen yourself and let me know… ;)
What else can we expect from you soon? What's next on the horizon for DJ gigs or productions? Where can people see you next?
I'm playing various events and clubs all over Europe this summer with FUSION Festival in Germany at the end of June being one of my personal highlights.
Exciting stuff! It's been an absolute pleasure talking with you Timo. Next up here's the Quickfire Round:
Genre: Electronic music with edge
Favourite Colour: Green
What do you put on your chips? Mayo
Apple or Android: Apple
Ableton or Logic: Both
Can you juggle?: With my balls...
Weirdest/Coolest item of clothing: My poncho
Do you collect anything? Good cooking books
Favourite place to hang out in Berlin: My kitchen with my wife and friends cooking
Best club: Of all times: Twilo (NYC) then followed by the early DC10 (Ibiza) but also the early Pacha in Buenos Aires and Crobar Miami.
Favourite place to eat: Any awesome Peruvian restaurant
Favourite Wurst: The German ones, every region has their own specialty
Weirdest food you have eaten? 1000 year old eggs in China and those breaded ones in the Phlippines… that was hard.
Coffee or Tea: Espresso
Spring, summer, autumn or winter? Summer and a few weeks winter. Spring is nice too.
Favourite Footy Team: St. Pauli
Favourite Track right now: Novalima - Beto Kele (Timo Maas Remix) Favourite word: Jaaaaa!
3 words to describe your mix: Trippy, journey, deep.