TIMO MAAS 2009
TIMO MAAS has officially turned his back on his old stories and his old ways. “I was stuck on a high level,” muses the electronic icon and DJ from his farmhouse in Germany. “By that I mean that I had a great income and great gigs but really, I needed to express myself. It’s all about taking the experiences from all the years before and watching and learning from the changing music market and that’s what I’m doing: reinvention.”
Of course, Timo Maas is no stranger to reinvention. In a DJ career that he estimates has now spanned “a good 27 years”, Timo’s musical palette has taken in epic breaks for Perfecto (‘Ubik’), the globe-straddling, still-ubiquitous remix for Azzido Da Bass known to the world as ‘Dooms Night’ and a solo artist album for Warner which saw him work with r n b princess Kelis (on ‘Help Me’) and Placebo frontman Brian Molko. But he’s fairly sanguine about the past and he certainly isn’t a man who dwells on it. Last summer, Timo returned to his most natural home – techno – with the masterstroke called ‘Subtellite’ for Cocoon.
“I love to surprise people and in the last year I have definitely surprised people,” he smiles. “At the moment I define myself in the clubs and with enough sense for what is working and what is not working. And it’s our own kind of thing, between the chairs, not minimal, not techno, pretty unique I think. And very atmospheric. It’s very trippy. It’s not loop-based, it’s a story as my life is a story.”
In other words, 2009 is a big year, a statement year for the man who continues to make music for the Maases. “It doesn’t matter what I’ve done back in the day or what hits I had 5 or 10 years ago,” he shrugs. “10 years is a milestone but you know, there have been a couple of generations in between. Santos and I – when you take the history of what we’ve done - we put everything together and we want to kick everyone’s ass!” He pauses and ponders for a moment. “Some people were using the names ‘veterans’ for me and Santos but I don’t feel like a veteran, a veteran is someone who looks back. The story is not fulfilled!”
Timo, you see, has a new studio partner in crime and musical brother in his farmhouse neighbour Santos. Together they make music and listen to music all day long, some as Timo Maas, some for Santos and some as their partnership as Mutant Clan, which recently hit the UK at Glade. “That was a fucking amazing trip, we tripped the ass out of the people. It was a very deep underground set with a big variety from deep house to techno and it was really good.” The Mutant Clan, in case you were wondering, “is our experimental project in the dance and electronic field.” It’s a chance for Santos and Timo to invite other artists into the field – and onto their farm. “We already did a few collaborations with people like Monika Kruse and this Autumn we will have a lot of guys coming to the farm to inhale the intimate vibe we have here and we turn that into music. We keep it totally open.”
Ask Timo where his sound sits and where he is going and the answer will be more lateral than literal, a feeling rather than a carefully-thought out specific answer. “Essentially, what I love is the possibility to experiment. We can work spontaneously and some days we just listen to 70s psychedelic rock – it’s totally open-minded and Santos also has several side projects. Of course, a Timo Maas album is something we will start this Autumn but it needs to be something very special. In 2010, we will release a few albums – a Mutant Clan album and a few collaborations in the pop direction and sophisticated direction. And scores – but that’s the future, that’s the target.”
Timo’s relationship with Cocoon has been key to his new sound and attitude. Cocoon, yes, that’s very interesting,” he grins. “I have a great relationship with them. They put out ‘Subtellite’ – when I came back after 6 years of no club records and then a club record that didn’t fit into anything, they were the best possible platform for me. They always take care of the quality and the track didn’t fit into what is hip, it was just there and this year we have the ‘Jetstream’ which is stuck at number 2 in the techno charts on Beatport and also on the techno platform. Cocoon peak-time energy – that’s the Cocoon thing. And then coming to More Music, that’s a different kind of style again. Bite The Dust and Payback are again something different. I’m looking forward to the release!” John Digweed is set to remix the track for More Music this autumn too.
And then there’s Los Veteranos – another project – and five tracks of Timo & Santos on the new Bedrock compilation. “I live in a bubble!” Luckily, his family are right behind him – literally, since his studio is close to the kitchen so his daughter’s questions are never far from her father’s ear. “It’s a little bit crazy right now!” he giggles. But we also know that little bit of crazy is what helps keep him – and everyone else - sane.
RALPH MOORE, ASSISTANT EDITOR, MIXMAG