In today’s electronic music world there are not many artists who can lay claim to a legacy like that of DJ.T.
With a list of many accolades, his passion for music has kept him touring and delivering some of the best parties around. As he prepares to play at Bardot alongside the Speakerbox crew, we had the chance to talk to him about his craft, experience, and other interesting topics…
Electronic Groove: Hi Thomas, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. As we’re starting a new year can you give us a glimpse of what’s to come for DJ T.?
DJ T.: I am touring South and North America right now and I will continue touring for a very long time.
EG: You’ve had an enormous trajectory in the music business. What is your take on the evolution of the scene since your early days to where we are now?
DJ T.: That is a question to write books about, not easy to answer in a few sentences. I don’t want to complain too much but I think everybody who was there in the 90s already would agree that we are witnessing a moment in the worldwide business when it’s less about the music itself and more about other aspects around it, big names, brands, packaging, presentation, places, etc. Electronic music has become a business that’s ran according to the same rules that corporate businesses have and that’s taking away a lot of the simplemindedness and innocence it once had. It’s certainly too much about the money right now, all involved parties; especially the big artists and their agencies are trying to squeeze too much money out of it. This is harming this fragile organism as a whole. Still there are a million of good DJs and a lot of good music to enjoy, if you know how to be selective and go to the right events you can still have a wonderful time.
EG: Do you miss the journalism days when you had Groove Magazine? How do you remember that period?
DJ T.: No, I don’t really miss it. I had glorious times with it and I realized when it was over for me. I could have left even earlier, but I also don’t regret that I didn’t. I am thankful for the big success and the good times I had with it. We were pioneers back in these days; we could really make a difference with separating the good stuff from the mediocre one and spread the word about inspirational club culture. What we did back, the bond we could create between the medium and its readers is not possible anymore with today’s online media.
“Electronic music has become a business that’s ran according to the same rules that corporate businesses have and that’s taking away a lot of the simplemindedness and innocence it once had”
EG: In terms of producing and djing, what do you feel is more fulfilling?
DJ T.: Everything started with being a passionate vinyl collector and DJing in the 80s. DJing is my true nature; producing music is kind of a hobby that adds to it. Not least because when I DJ its 100% under my control and when I produce its always a compromise because I do it with other people in their studios. I guess I will still DJ for a long time, even if I stop producing.
EG: You have plenty of experience in the label business from your Get Physical days. What advice would you give to those who are exploring with the idea to create one?
DJ T.: Do it with a true vision for the music and a serious urge to support artists and not just with the intension to promote your gigs with it.
EG: I’m quite sure you have a pretty big record collection. Can you name a couple of personal gems?
DJ T.: Do you know my weekly classic of the week-posts? Go on my artist page and find stories, pictures and youtube-links from my favourite records there.
DJ T.: No, I always play spontaneous according to how I feel the room and the crowd in the moment when I start.
EG: Bardot is an intimate space. Do you prefer this type of venues or are you more inclined to the festival stage?
DJ T.: I am much more a club – than a festival DJ.
EG: What would be your personal recommendation to all the young kids who are trying to make it in an industry as tough as this one?
DJ T.: Try to not become another one of these millions of copycats that are out there. Playing what is safe and pleasing might bring you quite quickly to a point where you can have a decent career and income, but you will never leave the field of mediocrity. You can only out-stand and survive for many years or even decades if you find your very own true musical expression, a style that you breathe and live, so people can really feel what you do, it might even be completely anti-cyclic to what’s fashion and hyped in that moment.
“I personally had to implement a lot of aspects in my life to create regeneration and balance”
EG: We’ve seen a few artists come to talk about depression, and retiring from the circuit. Have you been ever been through tough times during your career, and if so can you provide any advice to those who are in need of special attention?
DJ T.: Another topic to write a book about. If you want to survive in this circuit for so many years as I did, then it’s inevitable that you have to reinvent yourself from time to time, your whole approach to your work. Also, the older you get, the constant traveling and night work, absence of a stable biorhythm and time to regenerate from the weekly work during the weekends and many more aspects that come with the DJ life will drain you more the older you get. So to keep your balance you have to consciously install other aspects in your life where you can fuel yourself with energy again. If you fail to do that you will risk developing severe exhaustion, low immune system, burnout, depression and many other things. I personally had to implement a lot of aspects in my life to create regeneration and balance, a healthy, 95% vegetarian diet and a waiver of hard alcohol are just two of a long list.
Electronic Groove: A few artists have shared that one of the perks of touring is having the possibility to experience worldwide gastronomy. Where and what is your favorite place to indulge?
DJ T.: I personally love the Italian kitchen above all; nothing will ever beat come between that. When you are travelling in North Italy you will experience new local specialties every 50 kilometers, it’s an endless universe of food. A universe, maybe even bigger than the Italian one is traveling to japan. For many years I thought I knew Japanese food because I went to all the good Japanese restaurants in the Western world, but when I first went to japan I realized what its food is really about. Besides these two I love food from South America, especially from Peru and Ecuador. Peruvians make the best Ceviche!
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