Exclusive interview with the Rockets & Ponies boss as he releases his new album ‘Lifer’
Timo, welcome back to DMCWORLD. Where in the world are you right now?
“Right now on my desk at home, doing an interview with that great DMC mag…”
Cool. Well what a year you have in store for us all! Let’s begin with the biggie, the release of your brand new artist album ‘Lifer’ coming out on your Rockets & Ponies in April. Continuing the theme of your previous albums ‘Loud’ and ‘Pictures’, this album brings together some wildly divergent collars. Let’s kick off with the track ‘Articulation’ featuring Katie Cruel who is now signed to Rockets & Ponies. A young lady renowned for her haunting vocals…what is it about Katie’s voice you love?
“I`m simply touched by the soul and emotion in her voice..I had the oppurtunity to hear some material from her a while back when she asked for a remix, so we (Santos and I) asked her if she would be also up for trying some vocs on one of my album songs. Also, a few years back we did a remix for WE FELL TO EARTH, her former band…and also back in the days we already loved the magic of her voice.”
What are the label plans for Miss Cruel?
“We will release 2 EPs this year with her on Rockets&Ponies…the first one will be also the relaunch release for the label. Beside two original songs, we`ll have a Timo Maas and a Santos Remix…both are tried and tested over a while now on tour, and work very well!!!”
An artist on everyone’s lips at the moment is Mikill Pane. Most people know him through ‘Little Lady’ which featured on Ed Sheeran’s No 5. Collaborations EP – when did you first discover this gritty rapper and what was he like to work with on your tune ‘Grown-Up’?
“Some friends from London gave us a tip to keep an eye on this guy, and when we heard (and seen) THE RETURN OF MR PANE, we immediatly tried to hook up with him…I love his flow and the way he tells his stories…very cool!”
Two artists the world knows very well are Placebo singer Brian Molko and James Lavelle who both delived on the tracks ‘College 84’ and ‘The Hunted’. How did these collabs come about and again – what were there qualities that made you want to work with them? You must have had a lot of fun in the studio…
“With Brian, I am again and again working with him – it’s been 12 years now…every now and then, there’s a connection again either remixing or writing something…and College 84 is in my opinion superstrong Brian in best form! I met James a while ago, but been fan since ever…I always liked his way of crossing borders between alternative and electronic music and I asked him if he would be up for doing something together…I asked him in particular to sing some vocals as he rarely does that and I think his vocals and words are magic. Very happy with the result!”
Talk us through some of the other tracks on the long player, which songs are you especially pleased with?
“In all honesty Dan I am pleased with all of them…if it’s the bit 70`s progressive trip of SCOPE, the magic ARTICULATION or the guitar/citar vibes on Visions…majority is quiet picturesque, pretty much a musical trip in my/our little world of electronica…”
Would it be fair to say that the success of yours and your production partner Santos’s label Rockets & Ponies has had an affect on the album? Has it helped the long player to have a wider range of styles and diversity?
“Everything really has an influence on the album, also the label. Most important is the atmosphere between Santos and myself when we are in the studio – the very open minded love to quality music that we both share and which we both trigger to each other…”
Is this your best work to date Mr Maas, and please don’t say ‘no, that will be the next one!’…
“It probably is, it feels very good and musically sums up where I am standing right now!”
Prior to the release of ‘Lifer’ however you will be satisfying your first love – the dancefloor…with ‘Pop A Bubble’ – your original contribution to Cocoon’s 100th release compilation. Talk us through the track…
“When Cocoon asked me to contribute to their forthcoming 100th release I decided to send them that unreleased track I had been trying out for quiet a while when I was playing out…it’s some kind of a strange, partly even noisy trip, very often requested by the people in the club…it simply worked, had great reaction and the “COCOONIES” like it, so you’ll hear it soon!”
What are the next release plans for the label…
“After the Katie Cruel release in May, we’ll have the next one ready for July. The artist is Wolfgang Haffner – a highly decorated and talented drummer from Germany/Ibiza who has been involved in over 400 albums so far!!! We are releasing remixes for two tracks from his recent album HEART OF THE MATTER, which is already out on quality Jazzlabel ACT, remixes come by myself, Ricardo Villalobos, Nightmares on Wax and Acid Mondays from Ibiza! We are also talking about new Santos, maybe even “waking up” the Mutant Clan again….one thing for sure, we are raising the level of quality again. Looking forward to that!”
2013 will also be your 12th anniversary for your residency at DC10 in Ibiza. To many, the best club in the world. What is it you love about the club?
It`s simply the best clubbing experience, especially on such a longterm ever! The team is great and so is the “family” around of clubbers, music lovers and friends!”
Where else on the white isle do you love?
“I like the huge variety of restaurants, places to chillax, meeting my collagues and friends and simply enjoy the sun and climate!”
What would you say are the different qualities that yourself and Santos bring to the table in the studio? Who excels where?
“Santos is the man on the comp, realizing all the ideas we are having. I bring in all my experience from my life and tours, from the music I am hearing, loving and hating – and obviously the ideas I`m having. I like to work with Sante a lot as he has the ability to change ideas into high quality music and fast enough to not lose the original idea or vibe. It`s brilliant really!”
Where have been some of the stand out dates for you over the winter months? I was on the dancefloor at Egg in London back in November and that always goes off…
“Egg is very cool at the moment, played a few gigs already and all of them were really good! One of my highlights was definitly Cats&Dogs in Tel Aviv and also my little weekend trip to Ibiza in December… supervibes in both!”
Who are some of the up and coming producers from around the world you are giving high fives to at the moment?
“Apart from the obvious, pleas wait for the remix packages for LIFER, as the hottest names are somehow involved in this project!”
And finally, what are the next studio plans you have to get your teeth into?
“A whole bunch of remixes is lined up…already done is remixwork for James Teej, Wolfgang Haffner, Katie Cruel, Johnny Mikes etc etc…also writing something for Rockets & Ponies, some other releases on other labels (Cocoon, My Favourite Robot, etc…) as well as thinking already of the next “bigger” project. I love to work on projects, that push boundaries…”
Thanks Timo. See you soon…
“Cheers Dan for the support!!! Best Tx”
ROCKETS & PONIES
RELEASED 22 APRIL