Hello Thomas and the DBS cru. Letís talk about your long awaited debut LP on Germanyís premium electrofunk label Dominance Electricity called ďThe Mighty MachineĒ. What is your state of mind at the moment? How do you feel about the album? Excited, anxious, curious to hear how people react...?
Thomas : Hello TP! First of all I want to say thanks to everyone for their patience. It took a long time to finish this album and weíre happy that itís finally ready and out in stores now. Of course Iím curious about the reactions of the Electro fans. Iím aware that ten years after the first DBS release the market for electro and music in general has changed a lot, so Iím trying to keep any expectations realistic.
How would you describe the album? What were your musical intentions?
Thomas : The album is clearly heading towards the oldschool; feeling like back in the day.
I know there are still fans of that classic style and the record is directed at them.
There are musicians that release albums on a regular basis as soon as they have enough material. But, I wanted it to be a concept album on which all songs would fit to that certain oldschool feel. Thatís why songs like ďRobotmachineĒ are not included.
We were expecting the album last year. Why did it take so long to appear and, except the fact that you already worked with Dominance Electricity on the ďGlobal Surveyor Phase 2Ē compilation. Why did you choose to publish it with them instead of releasing it on your own?
Thomas : The initial plan was to release an album on Gigolo Records years ago. There was already a contract, but we cancelled it after some time. After that there were various reasons why things were delayed. The most important thing was to find a label that would fit well to this kind of music and Dominance Electricity is simply the perfect match. Of course we also thought about releasing it ourselves, but you canít beat the experience and connections that an established label already has. To start from zero is hard and at the end of the day we actually just want to make music.
Letís introduce yourselves a little bit more. Where do you come from? What are your electro backgrounds? How did you manage to get into electro? What definitively pushed you to buy synthesisers and to start producing tracks?
Thomas : Iím from Bavaria, Germany and thatís where I still live today.
My first contact with Electro music was in the 1980s when my older brother brought home records he borrowed from a DJ friend to record them to tape.
It was all sorts of music including Electro and Funk. I was really impressed by the computer voices and spacey sci-fi synth sounds. Although I didnít know how, I knew I really wanted to make that kind of music myself. Years later I got to know ďTecRocĒ (Kommando 6) who lived nearby in my city. He was older than me and already had practical experience with making music. He let me use some of his gear, for example the TR-808. From then on it really got me and it all went pretty fast. At the time I was starting my apprenticeship and so I had some money I could spend on gear.
Back then home computers were too weak to use for making music so hardware was the only way. Today, you simply buy a computer and download all the programmes and plug-ins you need, but itís not really the same as working with the ďrealĒ thing.
Please describe your musical process? Do you come in the studio with a precise idea or do you usually start a track hoping for a machine mistake?
Thomas : The better you know your machines and what they can do, the more precisely you can convert your ideas into music. So by now, most of the time I get where I want pretty quickly.
Sometimes during the working process songs can end up in a completely different direction than intended. Generally I donít follow any prescription. I just always give it a lot of time... too much sometimes, as my colleagues and partners will probably confirm.
Whatís your studio like now? What do you think about software?
Thomas : For a while now my productions have been computer based (MAC/Logic 8), but I still use all the old hardware via interfaces. They simply have that special sound and I still have a lot of
self-tweaked sounds saved on them. Just for live gigs we use computers and software because itís easier to travel with.
Which artists are you musically close to?
Thomas : I have many different musical influences. Itís fun to play around with the different styles like West Coast, Miami Bass, Detroit Techno Bass or Freestyle. The biggest influence was of course the West Coast sound; thatís hard to deny. World Class Wreckin Crew, Egyptian Lover and Funk like Midnight Star, The Deele, etc. The combination of funk and Electro thatís pretty rare today.
What are your favourite themes in music? Sci-Fi, robots? Where does your inspiration come from? Who writes the lyrics? Do you write them before starting the track or after?
Thomas : I guess every Electro fan is also a Sci-Fi fan. Electro is Sci-Fi. The inspiration sometimes comes from movies, but most of the time hearing another good song makes me want to start something new. At the moment itís also the collaborations with other artists that give me the drive. Itís very inspiring to exchange ideas with other people.
The lyrics are first recorded rawly once the basic foundation of the song is done.
Later, I re-record them properly and tweak and work out every detail of the song until it all fits together. Writing lyrics is not really my strength, so often Iím glad to have other people helping me out on that like my DBS colleague S. Gezgin, or Juniorrock from California who wrote the lyrics for ďWe Are BinaryĒ.
You worked with many heavyweight producers of the new school scene including Exzakt, Bass Junkie, Imatran Voima. Yet your tracks have a matchless retro style. How do you manage to keep the vintage and recognizable sound that you have?
Thomas : I guess thereís always a trademark individual sound to everything one does.
I donít think too much about creating things in a certain style, I just do what I like most. It comes naturally.
10 years have passed since your first E.P. on DJ Hellís International Deejay Gigolo Records. How do you judge your musical career? What are you the most proud of on a personal level?
Thomas : Of course I am proud to have released on a big label like Gigolo Records. DJ Hell discovered us back then at an office-opening party, when a colleague played our first Dubplates. I think that was one floor beneath the apartment of DJ Upstart (Disko B Records). It was an interesting time with Gigolo although their sound is normally pretty different to what we do.
Generally I see it all relaxed. Electro music is my hobby, and the fun with it is what keeps me going. I gotta like what I do and if other people like it as well, Iím happy.
How do you judge the current electro scene? What about the electro scene where you live in Munich?
Thomas : It depends on what you call the ďsceneĒ. The musicians or the listeners and clubbers?
Club-wise thereís no Electro scene in Munich. Many know the term ďElectroĒ but think of something totally different. The fans of our kind of Electro are spread all over the country but there are not enough people around here alone to have a real local scene. Never-the-less the internet communities,electroempire.com, electroalliance.net, thenewcrackkills.de, etc. help to connect all the fans and producers from all over the world, so thatís where you can meet ďthe sceneĒ and connect with other artists for collaborations.
What are your forthcoming projects after this? Can we expect a worldwide Mighty Machine tour this new year?
Thomas : I hope so, letís see. If there are enough enquiries, it should be possible.
There are several plans for new releases and collaborations.
Just let yourself be surprised and check our homepage from time to time.
Thank you very much for this interview. We wish big success. To this album.
Thomas : Thank you too! Nice to meet you.