Exclusive Interview: Timo Maas

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Timo Maas, one of the main engineers of the german rave scene, shares his inspirations, his thoughts on collaborations and his views on the changes of the music industry in an exclusive interview.

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Timo Maas played his first DJ set as a 13-year-old. Today, 32 years later, he has been part in building the very fundament of the german rave scene and changing the global techno scene, all while exploring his own musical expression. It all really set off 14 years ago with what he ironically describes as “the spot on the ass of my career”: the remix of Azzido Da Bass’ “Doom’s Night”.

It seems like Timo is keen on separating his private life from his musical career. His label, founded in 2010, might count as an exception where Timos somewhat eccentric personality works in symbiosis with his musical ambitions. The result is a experimental playground for Timo and “his artists”, where artistic freedom is the central hallmark.

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After all those years you might ask what more there is to do. 15 seasons at Ibiza institution DC10, thousands of gigs worldwide, collabs with some great popstars and still he tells us he is only in the mid-career. He keeps proving that it is true through his live sets. At Time warp Festival in Mannheim, where he will be playing the 5th of April, he is considered sort of a local hero, an the anticipation is incredible. There is still no sign that he has left his maxim behind. We can still “Expect the Unexpected”.

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Considered one of the more colorful people of the european electronic music scene. Why do you think you are perceived that way?

Possibly, because I won`t use successful recipes again. I like the change. I like the experiment. I like to explore new things, synergies and musical experiences. I simply love music and everything around it! 

Since you started we’ve seen the birth of Facebook and Soundcloud. What has been the biggest changes for you individually during your career?

The „rules“ of the scene have obviously drastically changed. Many years ago, as a DJ you were some kind of „exotic“ type of character, spending loads of time and even more money in the thing you love so much, against everyone and everything. These days, everyone who downloads a free mixing software onto his phone considers himself a DJ. The market, the sales, simply everything has changed. I see it as a challenge, and I can really say, that the over 30 years of DJ experience helps me day by day. 

Your videos are very.. Unexpected and interesting. How important do you consider the visual impression of you to be?

 It still is very important for multimedia purposes. But on the other hand, I cannot remember a time in the past couple of years, that I have been watching any music video on TV, like I did many years ago on MTV for example. Still, it is important to use unique ideas and impressions for your online image, which as you can see, I like to do!

You have worked with artists such as Neneh Cherry, Kelis and Placebo’s Brian Molko. What is your take on collaborating: what does it give and what does it take? 

It is ideally the clash of different experiences and characters and the output can be extremely diverse, which I like a lot. It always gives you a new view of things, which you have not seen before. What does it take? Time though, but it’s fun!

 33 years in the game is a lot. How many gigs do you think you have played?

I never thought of that, but surely several thousands on every kind of level. And it’s many gigs that really stand out: some for the vibes & energy, some for the craziness or uniqueness, some for the people i met, some for the trip i had. I love this all!!!

Crossing wires 002 is out including a remix by Sebastian Mullaert. Since we’re a swedish blog: what is your take on scandinavian electronic music?

Is Seb swedish? Well, I’ve met several [scandinavian] DJ`s and producers over the years, and even though it’s not the major country for electronic music, the outcome is top notch!

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Timo Maas’ inspirational tunes

Jonzun Crew – Pack Jam

“My favorite ever electrotrack, one of the first albums on legendary TommyBoy Rec.”

Aly-Us – Follow me

“This used to be our hymne, when we went with the friends to berlin to go on underground parties in the early 90`s….”

Steve Poindexter – Work that muthafucker

“True classic of my early house music times… I’ve seen Mr Poindexter in the early 90`s in Hannover…legendary!”

Lil Louis – Blackout

“PURE GOOSEBUMPS…. I killed my rare vinyl in playing it to death….what a track, what an atmosphere!”

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Last Words

Timo is an engineer, shaping and reshaping himself, his musical identity and his surroundings. Now: I let the video for Tantra, from his latest album Lifer, talk for itself.

Want more?

Watch Timo Maas, Jamie Jones, Dubfire, Dixon, Magda, Ricardo Villalobos and a lot more at Timewarp Festival. 

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About Bjorn Widmark:

Writing about all things bassline, but I'm mostly about telling stories. Portraying and exploring the depth and width of electronic music. Talk to me: @bjrnwidmark / www.bjornwidmark.se