Bittles‘ Magazine | Interview: Crossing Wires With Timo Maas
Fans of deep, psychedelic house with a touch of melody are in for a bit of a treat this month in the form of ›Crossing Wires 2‹, the rather fab new mix album from none other than Timo Maas. Containing fourteen new and exclusive tracks from some of the finest purveyors of quality house music this side of the sun, it is fair to say that this is one mix that will have any fan of funky electronica feeling rather weak at the knees. By JOHN BITTLES (Foto: Lukas Piotrowksi)Timo Maas is, quite rightly, regarded as one of Germany’s foremost practitioners of electronic sounds. Having first come to prominence to the casual observer through his ubiquitous remix of ›Doom’s Night‹ by Azzido Da Bass way back in 1999, Timo has since then been responsible for more than his fair share of spine-tingling moments on the dancefloor. Every self-respecting DJ has played his tunes, and I am sure that even the most sour-faced club-haters have shaken their asses to some of his productions once or twice in their lives.
Yes, Timo is far more than a one trick pony. His three solo albums ›Loud, Pictures‹ and ›Lifer‹ were restricted neither by style nor genre and featured a wide variety of pace and moods. Rather surprisingly for an electronic producer, experimenting with vocalist collaborators such as Neneh Cherry, Kelis, Brian Molko and UNKLE’s James Lavelle saw Mr Maas create some of his best ever work. His ›Music for the Maases‹ mixes (see what he did there?) together with his ›Balance‹ double CD from 2010 are also well worth checking out, displaying as they do a DJ at the top of his game.
Following on from last year’s ›Crossing Wires 1‹ which was mixed by label heads My Favorite Robot, Timo’s mix is a deep and trippy affair that genuinely takes the listener on a journey from head-nodding house to the type of deep house so good that you’d gladly exchange a kidney just for a one-sided twelve inch. Yes, house music is the order of the day here! Yet, there is such a wealth of variety and pace that the mix instantly grabs you, works its way into your heart and soul and doesn’t let go over the album’s 80 minute running time.
With the likes of Tim Green, Martin Buttrich, Pezzner, Agoria and Timo himself having all contributed tracks you know that the standards here are going to be pretty high. The mix opens with the deep, head-trip triple whammy of ›Dreams Don’t Turn To Dust‹ by Eric Volta, ›Dead of The Dance‹ by My Favorite Robot, and the lush ›Consumer‹ by Sossa. These tunes work together to create the perfect introduction to the mindset of the entire mix: deep, psychedelic house music for the mind as well as the feet.
›Coarse Language‹ by Discern and Signal Flow is a gorgeously spacey tech-house track so deep it should be sitting in cafes all day reading Camus and staring off into the distance every once in a while. From here on in the album really kicks off with ›Bubble Heat‹ by Martin Buttrich, ›Ola‹ by Villanova and ›Watching The Robots‹ by Timo Maas himself really standing out in a set which grooves, shakes and shimmers just about everywhere it should.
With Timo as busy as ever working on a new album etc I am pretty chuffed that he took the time to answer a few questions for the mag.
For those unfortunate people out there who haven’t heard your music yet, can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
My name is Timo Maas from Germany. I am DJing since over 30 years, producing since 20 years…had some records out before and looooove making and playing music!
Your excellent new mix CD ›Crossing Wires 2‹ is coming out soon on My Favorite Robot Records. What should we expect from the album?
A very trippy mix with completely exclusive brand-new incredible music produced by some very hot talent from all over the world.
Label compilations are notoriously difficult to mix, yet ›Crossing Wires 2‹ seems to have a gorgeously smooth flow. Was it a challenge to get the mix to sound just right?
I started doing mixes (tapes!!!…) back in the 80`s already for my friends, so I like to create a nicely flowing trip, that ideally catches you and takes you on a journey…
Two of your own productions feature on the album. Were they created especially for the album?
Yes, they were, I am very happy with the result, Santos and I worked out!
I think I’m in love with the bassline on Watching The Robots. What is the main ingredient to creating something that will move a dancefloor?
That’s a difficult one really…because sometimes its some unimportant elements of a track that will stay in people’s ears and make it recognizable. Totally depends on the intention and message of the track or song.
What was it like working with the lovely people at My Favorite Robot?
It’s always a pleasure! I love the guys…they do their very own thing and I feel very honoured to be part of the family!
Your last album, the rather fab Lifer came out last year. Are there any plans for a follow-up?
I am working on some different projects right now… we will see!
Every time you release an album people seem to be surprised at the wide variety of genres and styles on there. Why do you think this is?
Because I don’t give a f*** about music styles or trying to fit into a particular genre…
Lifer was released on your own record label, Rockets & Ponies. What made you decide to set it up?
Santos and I set it up a few years ago to give ourselves and also our respected artists a platform to experiment and release simply great music
What do you look for when deciding if a tune is suitable for release on Rockets & Ponies?
When it’s »different«, it’s the main way to go…
I started BEFORE house music was born…!!!! and WHEN it came up, I was immediately hooked on it… I loved the 70`s disco music before that, so it was also a quite natural process going on..
I ALWAYS wanted to play music, already as a 10 year old kid…and I followed my intentions all life long…
Your first record, ›The Final XS‹ came out in 1995. What is the most important lesson you have learned about music production since then?
Well…it was 94 (and quite frankly not essentially my best track though…hahahahahaaa)…I learned a huge lot of things since then also due to my brilliant production partners over all the years like Martin Buttrich (over 13 years together) and Santos (since 6 years…)
What was it like working with James Lavelle on The Hunted?
James always has been a huge influence for me over the years, if it is his label work or also his project UNKLE….
What do you think about the state of ›house‹ music in 2014?
It’s a huuuuge thing all over the world and has established itself as a major music style like rock or hiphop.
Do you have any final words for our readers?
Check the album guys… Open your mind and let me take control of the trip ;)
Anyone wanting a little teaser before the album hits the shops on the 23rd June should head here for a sneaky wee listen.