Ibiza Voice Podcast 532 :: Timo Maas
Timo Maas is one of dance music’s great enduring characters. The German legend's passion for his craft is all consuming and has seemingly never waned over the years. He has a ferocious appetite for music and it is immediately apparent when he takes to the stage. A tale is being woven and each track is a chapter in the story and not just an excuse to blast off an ice cannon.
Timo takes an almost film-like approach to production. Always working with an engineer, rather than submerging himself in the intricacies, he pours his creative output into the big ideas.
Where other big DJs of his generation became obsessed with their brands, he has stayed rooted to his craft. This year Timo capped off a busy period of releases on labels like Joris Voorn’s Rejected, with a remix of Moby and a nomination for his second Grammy for his remix with James Teej of Paul McCartney & Wings’ 'Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five.' A self effacing character, he’s still resolutely keeping it real after all these years. He actually emailed us after submitting his interview to tell us he’d forgotten to mention his nomination. As you do. How very Timo.
Ibiza Voice: How did you record the mix?
Timo Maas: It’s a live recording from Jakarta. I played a full on seven hours set in Jenja Club for their anniversary and this is basically the beginning of my set. It’s more downbeat, trippy and leftfield. There is no post editing, just the real shit mixed live on three CDJ 2000s (without sync button).
Where do you get your music from?
Music comes from all sorts of sources. Beatport, promos (yes, i DO listen to quite a lot of them), friends and colleagues, and obviously my own releases and experiments.
Tell us about your record collection, when did you start collecting?
I started in the late 70`s and there’s pretty much everything in there until the mid 2000s.
Do any of these records tell a story about you?
Plenty of them do, as they are part of my musical skin. I had my hardcore/gabber times in the early 90s as well as the breakbeat adventures in the mid/late 90s and much much more over a span of 35 years.
Tell us about the scene you came up in?
When I started in the early 80s, DJing wasn’t even cool. You were more the annoying guy never playing the shit that the countryside people from where i grew up, wanted to listen to. Even when I was young I always wanted to play MY sound, which sometimes worked and sometimes not. Our Facebook was the record store, where you needed to show your face at least once a week to grab the cool vinyls and also to inform yourself about the latest gossip from the clubs in the area. Travelling as a DJ was still not common, so the few DJ jobs out there were very much sought after.
If you could consult your 16 year old self with words of wisdom gained from your career so far, what would you tell him?
Get a proper job son!
You've been in the game a long time. Do you feel like dance music is accelerating? The turnover of new artists has never been greater, the number of records being released is insane, the pressure to post on social media daily or hourly, to be playing all the time, what does it feel like to be in this particular pressure cooker
The very obvious change is that music is not the most important thing about the DJ anymore. Nowadays it’s all about marketing and online media. Sometimes it’s quite tiring and annoying to play games that are necessary to be part of this whole circus. But in the end, I LOVE music. I LOVE to create and also to influence and tell my musical story to inspire people and make them lose themselves.
And what does this acceleration mean for the crafts of DJing and producing?
Good music is good music. You have ANY possibility to express yourself in both directions and especially technically. I consider myself more of a storyteller DJ. Not essentially playing one particular sound but taking people on a trip and in production it`s quite similar. I like to experiment in several directions to find something uncommon, unusual and somehow touching. To play vinyl for example doesn’t make you a great DJ, nor does it when you’re from Romania or Berlin. And that’s NO diss, but being from Berlin doesn’t make you automatically cool. Selecting the right music at the right time does, no matter from what resource you play it, USB, Laptop or Live. Good music is good music, and that’s what it’s all about for me.