Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Timo Maas

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Timo MaasI don’t want to call it dance music. It’s not, it’s more of an experience. When I first heard this guy’s work I was blown away. It was unlike anything I had ever heard before. When I heard he was also working with Santos to produce these tracks, I got even more excited. The music itself belongs on the big screen if you ask me, not in a nightclub. But regardless, I would kill to see this dude perform these sounds live. His tracks demand explanation and require intense attention to understand fully. No idea where his inspiration comes from; don’t care. The music is best heard with your eyes closed and an empty mind as it literally takes you on a journey through time and space. I had the chance to sit down with the man producing these sounds. His name is Timo Maas.

You have a pretty impressive tour coming up. You are hitting Europe and the states. Do you prefer playing in Europe or to here in the USA?

You cannot always compare country by country. Every party is different. You can have the best times and the worst times in Europe or in the United States, or in South America, Africa; or wherever. I am quite excited to go back to the States though. I like it there and I am looking forward to the upcoming tour.

Tell me a little bit more about your new album.

It’s two hours and forty minutes; a continuous trip through different types of electronic music styles. This is something I always wanted to do. I have always wanted to produce a mix CD where I could stretch myself without any limits. On this there is nothing that I had to do. This disc is full of things that I wanted to do. I just wanted to put these tracks on here and have no one was saying, “you have to put to put this,” or, “you have to out that. That is the main reason why I don’t do a lot of compilations. I haven’t done them for a really long time. Most of the labels will tell you what you have to do with your album. In the end, the creativity really strikes me. This was better, and different. They told me to be crazy and creative and I really like that.

Explain the Mutant Clan.

(Laughs) The Mutant Clan is the experimental side of my production team. When Santos does a record (he has remained quite famous) there is a certain amount of expectations from himself and for his product. It’s the same thing on my side. There are tracks that I wish weren’t released as Timo Maas as they don’t reflect the Timo Maas sound. We just wanted to do something where we could do whatever we wanted.

This allows us to do old school techno records. We founded the Mutant Clan. More and more people are flocking to the project. It’s a name we use when we are just messing around in the studio.

Do you have a favorite venue?

I would say Ibiza is one of my favorite venues. I also like one of our studies out on the farm here too. We have about 500 square foot, but we have thrown some parties there. It’s the perfect sound and a really good atmosphere. The sound is perfect.

Your work would sound great on the big screen. Have you ever worked with major motion pictures or television shows?

The music market is shrinking and when you have the opportunity to do games, movies, and soundtracks its something you have to pay attention to. It’s something that I’m watching and preparing to step into that direction for the next few years. It is something essential these days and you get one or two jobs like that, and they can pay more than everything else you did that year. You just have to produce high quality music, and that costs money. We try, of course. We are creative businessmen and we try to squeeze the perfect situation out of the music business.

Tell me a little bit more about Rockets & Ponies.

We started the label because we had too many releases. We were producing ourselves and getting work from our fiends as well as our so-called family. We just wanted to give an outstanding sound a brand new platform. It wasn’t fitting any label out there, and we did a few releases as Mutant Clan, but these things are our home base if you will.

You can’t make a lot of money with them, but a home base I very important. You need to branch yourself out a little more and we really like what we do on the label. It’s all music that “rocks our world” when we play it out in the clubs, and we have a lot of hot tracks coming up. It gets played worldwide and we have been involved with the top ten and the lowest top ten. You can’t be more extreme, and sometimes quite deep, but the reactions are amazing and we have a lot more stuff coming up. We are very confident with what we are doing there.

It’s not about quantity, its about quality.  I see it as a challenge to find special types of songs that I want to play as a DJ and inspire me as a producer.

Why did you decide to release your single only on one-sided vinyl?

It’s a teaser. I want my stuff on vinyl first. I am still an old school vinyl type of DJ. Most of the stuff that comes out of my studio is released on vinyl. It’s for the music lover, the collectors. We decided to make a limited edition and they were sold out in a few hours. We didn’t release very many, but we did that on purpose. It’s always a process. Sometimes we like to give people an idea of what we are doing and release the big bang later.

The DJ Mag Top 100 list just came out. Are you surprised by any of the names on that list?

I looked at it. I look at it every year. Whoever is on that list (most of the people) are there because they have the best marketing. Just look in the top ten or top twenty and its all trance. I don’t take it too serious anymore; not because I’m not in there, but in the first few years I was taking it more serious. There are some DJs that are sending out hundreds of thousands of emails asking for votes. Of course they have a better chance when I sit here and do nothing. I don’t send emails out. It doesn’t reflect the best DJ, only the best marketing. Some of those names I have never heard. I am quite happy in the scene where I am. It’s like “whatever” really! (Laughs)

Who are some of your biggest influences?

In my life, with everything that has happened to me, it’s still band like Pink Floyd that I like. I really enjoy the psychedelic stuff. I got that form my older brother. I still love to listen to Pink Floyd to this day. They were using synthesizers and it was absolutely radical at the time.

It’s amazing to listen to underground producers and acts like LCD Soundsystem. I was just listening to them and I really like their sound. Musically I am completely open-minded and my influences are pulled from stuff I listen to throughout the day. I started the day today listening to some classic work; it just really depends on my vibe.

Your work is not typical by any means. Where do you come up with inspiration for a new track?

I am using the opportunity to work with my producer and my partner. It gives us the possibility to work with more intense ideas that come up after a while. It wouldn’t be possible if you book an engineer for a week. They don’t leave you the chance to do anything after that.

Both of us have similar musical experience, being vey successful and being underground. We came from nothing. Plus, we also are nearly the same age, and listened to the same music when we were young. Having a partner who understands you and who is always open-minded is great. We work as long as we find something that sounds unusual.

What are you doing on a typical Friday night?

I am sitting in a traffic jam on the way to the airport. I jump on a plane, travel to a club, and do what I do best. Play some music… and kick some ass. Usually I am driving so much that Friday is a typical working day for me. It starts early in the morning and ends early the next morning.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

That’s a really good question. I hope that all the work that Santos and I are putting into this, building the label, and having ideas that go away from the pop stuff, I hope that this works out. We want the opportunity to produce more artists and to work more in the movie industry. We want to identify our sound more and to have fun with what we are doing. Five years ago I had no idea where I would be now, so it will always come out differently than what is expected in life. We have a lot of ideas as production team and we have a few targets we want to reach. We believe in and love what we do. Maybe I will open a restaurant on a small island in the Caribbean.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

I want to be remembered for the music. That is what I leave behind. I am having memories with songs and soundtracks that I have heard all my life. I just hope that when people think of me they think he was a cool guy and remember me for when electronic music was born.

I always let the artist get the last word. Go.

I am looking forward to my tour in the states and getting a lot more feedback to this new album. I hope the weather is nice, at least better than in Europe right now. (Laughs)