When I think of the name Timo Maas I automatically get swept back to the late 90’s - early 2000’s and to a small, intimate little club we used to have here in Melbourne called Qbar. It’s really dark and sweaty and one of the boys throws down a track that almost tears the roof off the joint…. Yes! Yes! You guessed it… Timo’s infamous remix of ‘Dooms Night’ which goes on to become the unofficial anthem of most NYE millennium party around the world and catapults him to international stardom.
I have been lucky enough to witness his some THIRTY YEARS of greatness up close and personal many a time. Whether he was playing at Melbourne’s fabled ‘dock parties’ or during his 15 year tenure as resident at the legendary Circoloco at DC10 in Ibiza, Timo’s ability to engage his audience and stay relevant in the ever-expanding dance music scene has not only earnt him the respect of his fans but also of his peers alike.
During that time, the visionary German has released three albums, nine mix compilations and countless singles and remixes for some of the biggest artists in the world including Depeche Mode, Neneh Cheery, Madonna, Roisin Murphy, Placebo and even Sir Paul McCartney. He has run his own record label and joined forces with a plethora of others which really reflects how ingrained he is within our scene. To put it simply: Timo Maas is dance music!
I'm so humbled to have had the opportunity to chat with him.
I hope you enjoy the read!
Hi there Timo! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today Where in the world are you right now and how are you feeling?
I am currently at home in Germany preparing for a long trip to South America!
So let’s start at the beginning…. Tell us a little about your story and how you first came about the dance scene? What made you want to start mixing?
As a very shy kid I understood relatively early that music would be my language to communicate with people so I started very early (at the tender age of 13) playing at local parties. This quickly lead onto events and school parties and from the age of 17 I started playing in clubs.
What music did your parents listen to growing up and how do you think these sounds influence your musical direction later in life? If so, how?
My parents didn't actually influence me at all. I didn`t really like the music that they listened to to be honest. My biggest influence musically was in the very early years with Jean Michel Jarre`s first 3 albums Equinoxe, Magnetic Fields and Oxygene. These are the records that really opened my mind into the spheres of electronic music.
What was the first album or piece of music you bought for yourself and how old were you?
The first album I bought was approximately around 1982 by Jonzun Crew on Tommy Boy records. It's a very nice but strange electro album that I still love.
Do you remember your first ever set? Where was it? How did it go?
It was actually in my hometown at a friends party in his basement. I was 13 and played with 2 tape decks!!! I didn`t have turntables at the time, nor did any of my friends but we just loved music so much we didn't mind.
How would you describe your sound in your own words? What is the inspiration for your music?
My life and all its facets is my inspiration really! As for what I would call my sound? Well, that's easy… It's TIMO sound! ;) hehehehe
How does it feel knowing a track you remixed is considered an all time classic? Your spin on the Jaguar Knights track ‘Dooms Night’ is still on heavy rotation all around the world. Did you know (or feel) that this track would change your life? How did your life change when this came out?
You know, when you do things like this you don't really expect anything from them. This track was actually done in a few hours after the first remix got refused! The original was [in all honesty] such a bad track that we only used one sound (which Azzido Da Bass sampled himself from Mr Oizo) and with that we created a completely new track.
I would be lying if I said this track didn't change my life. Of course it did! It changed everything for the better in my career and even made room for Azzido Da Bass to become famous without ever really doing anything! lol
When did you start becoming interested in music production – and who were your greatest influences? Were you self-taught or did you have mentors around you to guide you?
I was never an engineer. I was more an executive producer and I always tried to work with the best engineers. I only started to produce records because I was bored of only playing other peoples music…
What was your first home set-up as a producer like? How different is your set up nowadays and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you and why?
I always had a Mac with Logic at home to fix ideas, but thats about it…as I mentioned above, I always worked with engineers in their own environment.
You have worked with a tonne of HUGE artists over the years [and when I say HUGE I mean H.U.G.E!]. So, what’s it like working with Sir. Paul McCartney, Madonna and Depeche Mode? Do you ever sit there and think ‘IS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE?’. Are there any artists you want to work with that you have not yet had the opportunity to do so?
I am endlessly grateful to have done such a variety of work with and for such talented artists and OF COURSE I have thought this exact kind of sentiment over the span of my career. There are still a few names that I would like to work with but I'm keeping those under wraps.
You obviously have a very strong connection to Ibiza after spending 15 years there as resident for CircoLoco at DC10. I have actually been fortunate enough to have seen you play there many times over many seasons Can you tell us how this residency began? What were some of the highlights over those 15 years behind the decks? I’m sure you have seen quite a few crazy things from up there .. haha ;)
This answer could fill a book so the very short version is…. Back in 2001 Loco Dice [who was my tour manager and support DJ back in the early 2000`s] pulled me into this club in Ibiza (I didn`t really wanna go!!) where I instantly met my old friend Cirillo [who was also a resident there at that time]. I asked him if I could play one or 2 records out of his box because I loved the atmosphere in there so much. I ended up played for hours [all of Cirillo`s vinyl] and that was the beginning of one of my most exciting, fun and high scale partying experiences of my life! There really are so many stories that can be told about this club but they should be told by Andrea and Antonio, the masterminds behind Circoloco.
Which do you prefer: DJ’ing or producing and why?
I love both really…They are both a different approach but originally I come from the clubs.
What track do you wish you wrote?
I am happy with what I have written done!
Tell us some of the proudest moments of your career to date?
Surely the two Grammy nominations. I never EVER expected this at all at any point of my life but it happened. I mean, I didn`t win but hey…that's the biggest accomplishment within the music business so I'm happy with that!
Tell us something that most people wouldn’t know about you?
To find out check out @timolovescooking on Instagram, thats my hobby!
So in closing up today Timo, can you tell us what plans you have for 2022? Any upcoming collaborations/releases/events we should know about? What are you most excited about?
2022 is looking super bright! I have a whole bunch of remixes that are coming out soon with the likes of Robert Babicz, Placebo, Giorgia Angiuli etc etc… plus more new music… so stay tuned guys!
Thanks so much for your time today Timo.
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