Tobi Neumann took time out to speak to Sankeys Ibiza ahead of his opening fiesta show on Thursday 24th May.
1. You’ve had a long and illustrious career already, stemming from your classically-trained music days to the present, as part of the Cocoon roster. How would you describe your life in music?
I am glad that it is music and not something else that takes center stage in my life. I mean maybe I would have been an aircraft-pilot, a successful scientist or a fast race driver. But to produce, to play and to deejay music was more than I could have wished for my life. And somehow with the deejaying I reached a new level in my work-life because you get the purest and most honest reaction from the audience and it’s immediate. It’s also easier to deejay than to play in a band because the band is somehow always related to its style, while a DJ can always chose new tracks and adopt his style to the moment. I’ve played in enough bands to know.
2. Do you think it’s possible to perform the “perfect set,” or is striving to do so what makes a great DJ?
Every set is different which makes my work so challenging. Last Sunday I was playing for the Mint-crew on their new location in Leeds, the Mint Warehouse. If you want to rate a DJ-set from 0 to 100 points I think this one was in the higher nineties regions – subjectively it felt almost perfect. The sound-system was massive, the crowd amazing and motivated, great hosts, a maximum relaxed and inspired Tobi Neumann, perfectly working turntables. Everything was perfect – as if the whole evening was locked in a groove. For those moments it is worth to live the life of a DJ. A perfect set? Maybe, but the set does not need to a perfect 100 to make a great DJ experience.
3. How do you find technology influences music – or it the other way around? Are you a believer of the digital age?
Yes I believe in the digital age, but not for my work as a DJ. The topic Vinyl vs. Traktor is exhausted. It’s been discussed to the ground. But there are other aspects of modern life that I enjoy. For example, the fact that these days the CD players in the DJ booth work so well and are so sophisticated. In fact, I always carry a high capacity USB stick with me that is loaded with the latest demos I got per email. The fact that I can just connect a USD stick to a club CD player and control the music from the fantastic tactile controller on the CD player is very new and it makes my life so much easier.
I have to also say that I am buying vinyl every week and play them together with CDs. This is my way. I don‘t need to slice tracks cause the music I play is usually very well produced and when a track has a loop that I like, I use my looper to play it and create a temporary new arrangement.
4. You are playing at the Sankeys Ibiza opening fiesta – can you please tell us how you are feeling about this?
I played at the Sankeys Ibiza last year for the Monza crew and had a great time. The people from Sankeys appreciated my music and my set. So I am happy and honored to be invited for the opening party. Let’s rock the season 2012!!
5. Do you have any favorite places to chill at in Ibiza?
I love to hang out in all those beautiful houses for some afterhours where you can sit at a pool and play music all days. But it is also nice to grab a towel and just drive to the north of the island and find a small beach.
6. You live in one of the world’s best cities for music and culture, Berlin – why do you think it has become so pivotal, with so many great clubs, producers and DJs all based there?
Berlin has a special history after the 2nd World War. West-Berlin did not have the same laws as other cities of Germany. One did not have to pay taxes or serve in the army when living in West-Berlin. The west part of the city did not have a “police-hour” which meant that the clubs were allowed to open as long as they wanted. After the re-unification the government maintained those rules for Berlin. For sure one of the main reasons why our city is like it is. The politics and the police are handling things in a much more liberal way than in other German places. The other factor is that Berlin has so much space, which drives the rent prices down. Liberal governance and cheap rent is the perfect melting pot for artists. This condition pulled great artists from all over the world to Berlin and then the circle just intensified because once certain artists moved to Berlin other people wanted to move here. Berlin is a great melting pot and I am delighted to live here (even if they are not able to finish the new international airport on time.)
7. You’ve been with Cocoon now for a decade – what is it about the brand that makes it stand out?
Sven Väth is of course one of the reasons. He has visions, he has the personality and he is one of the greatest DJs of all times. Then the fact that Cocoon let us be the artists we are, and pay us respect for our own style. Nobody from the Cocoon Event agency every would give us just 60 or 75 minutes of set-times. They know that you need at least 2,5 hours or more to spread your style. And also an important point are the events they a running. They usually include dance- and visual performances. Only when these 3 things come together – music, visuals and dance – it’s a real Cocoon event. I like this fact a lot and I‘m very glad to be part of the family!