Thomas Schumacher

3 videos

'My first time' as a DJ occured in eighth grade at a school party. Me and
a friend spent days putting tapes together, debating endlessly about
the order, the contents and the presentation of the music. Then the big
day arrived, 30 expectant students, wobbly knees, too much Schnaps.
The opener: 'Big Mouth Strikes Again' by the Smiths. Nobody's dancing.
More Schnaps, a beer to go along and then The Normal's 'Warm Leatherette'.
What's happening with the girls, why aren't they moving? Here
goes 'Kaw Liga' by the Residents and then The Cure's 'Boys Don't Cry'.
And the realization: Just keep going, don't move an inch from the tapedeck,
fi nd the fl ow. Suddenly that incredible feeling rolls in, that marvelous
energy I can't explain but still thrive on today and never again
want to miss.

Looking back, the soundtrack of my youth was primarily Pop music, sometimes with guitars (Smiths, Cure) sometimes without (ABC), preferably with synthesizers (Depeche Mode, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Eurythmics, Yazoo). There were some ventures into the 50ies and 60ies with "The King" ('Suspicious Minds') and The Beatles ('Twist & Shout'), often triggered by cover ver-sions or movies (i.e. Fine Young Cannibals or 'Ferris' Day Off').

Halfway through the 80ies I discovered HipHop with Public Enemy, Eric
B & Rakim, Run DMC. The beats, the samples and of course the raps -
music I like to this day. What followed was Soul: I loved the atmosphere,
the girls and the music on Runs and Allnighters, eventhough the names
Motown, Tambla and Northern Soul were nothing to me then. All that
mattered was that feeling, that special moment in time. Some very special
moments and memories also cling to "my" fi rst club, the "Imperial"
in Bremen. Everybody who was anybody according to nightlife standards
was there: Rockabillies, Scooter Boys, Sharp Skins, the so called
"Poppers", etc. and the music refl ected this mixture of styles. It was
here that I opened my eyes and ears to a DJ's craft. In no time at all I
had found out where he was buying his records and with the awakening
of my endless curiosity for his trade his matyrdom started. Maybe
this explains my patience with "deckspotters" today... And all along the
music of Depeche Mode accompanied me. Every record starting with
'Construction Time Again' was collected vigorously, from the red vinyl
fi rst edition to the Japanese issue, the US promo copy and the live bootleg,
going over to East Berlin to get the East German edition. No record
exchange was left out. Then fi nally my fi rst concert in 1986 in Bremens
convention center: It's really them!

My decision was made, this was my thing, this was what I wanted to do!
I needed a synthesizer. I chose a cheap used Korg MS-10, mostly due to
my poor economic status as a student. Not a wise decision as the Korg
prooved to be a real hurdle for a beginner. Consequently my jobbing
hours as department store cashier increased considerably until in 1987
I was able to afford a Korg 707 Synth. My fi rst Atari and a mixer followed
and for Christmas my parents and grandparents kindly presented me
with Creator as well as a used Akai S-612. So my fi rst bedroom studio
was set up, I was incredibly proud and ready to get going - mainly by
replaying and sampling my favorite bands.

At this time, my listening habits circled around EBM - Electronic Body
Music - i.e. Nitzer EBB, Front 242 or Skinny Puppy. Then in 1989, a
number of Frankfurt Techno Productions (Der Böse Mann, Konzept, etc.)
hit the market. These were, compa-red to EBM productions, defi nitely
more dancefl oor oriented and made for the clubs - namely for one special
club, the legendary "Dorian Gray" in Frankfurt. I realized my inclination
to danceable electronic music: Though I liked the energy and
aggression of EBM, I preferred the four to the fl oor rhythm and the
powerful basslines of Frankfurt Techno. And it was at the "Dorian Gray"
inFrankfurt where I experienced my fi rst Techno Party. What amazing,
intensive Basslines!

Until then I had DJed at my own EBM-Parties, organized at the Schlachthof
Magazinkeller in Bremen with a buddy. Now it was clear that our
sound was bound to change. In December 1989 we launched our fi rst
"Two Tribes Party" - the organized at the Schlachthof Magazinkeller
in Bremen with a buddy. Now it was clear that our sound was bound
to change. In December 1989 we launched our fi rst "Two Tribes Party"
- the fi rst time I put Techno on my turntable. There was only one club
in Bremen at this time, that had Techno on the menue, the "Crash". I
became a very regular customer in the following months and this is
where I experienced my fi rst through sixteenth Techno-superfl ash in all
things rave and clubbing. Subbasslines á la LFO, Fog by UFO (yum!), my
fi rst dose of Poppers (yuk, reeks like glue!), Wagner-Techno (Quadrophenia,
Anasthasia), Underground Resistance and Joey Beltram's 'Energy
Flash', again and again... Add the early stuff released on "+8", R&S, XL,
Overdrive, Dance Opera, Outer Rhythm or tracks by Network. I'll never
forget those excessive nights, universal happi-ness and collective goosebumps
for over a year.

The following year, in 1990, I got my fi rst job as Resident DJ at the
"Crash". By now I had focused on Techno in my studio as well. With a
friend I founded the projekt "NIP Collective". In addition to the nightly
sessions in our bedrooom studio - all I really want-ed to do by now was
to produce music - we soon had our fi rst live sets at raves in the vicinity.
From Rave to Breakbeats and Acid to Gabba we played just about
everything we liked without worring about "inappropriate" style mixtures.
And people see-med to like it, because shortly thereafter we were
booked all over Northern Germany, especially in Hannover and Hamburg.
A very exiting time. At the height of this development we released
our fi rst single, the 'Advanced Structure EP'. We went crazy when Steve
Mason played it continuously in his BFBS radio show ("...and this is the
wicked enn-aii-pee-collective!") and the single turned up in the charts
of our favorite DJs. It also sold well and we could hardly wait to record
new material and play it live. Even my beloved DJing had somewhat
less priority at this time since creating something of my own and presenting
it in front of a good crowd turned out to be the ultimate kick.

According to the musical developments in 1993 our sound became
faster and more melodic (Hardtrance). But we soon arrived at our limit
of tolerance for musical tinsel and turned to subjects like 303 / Seesawsounds.
Five singles followed before we decided in 1995 to quit "NIP
collective" and each went our own way. For me this meant following my
own musical ideas as well as looking for a new label.

So 1995 was a year of changes. I founded the project "Silverstar" on the
label "Proximate" which was terminated only a year later. My deal with
the label "Confused Recordings", a local label from Bremen, had a better
outlook on the future. Here I took up the project "Elektrochemie LK". To
check out how the bigger labels would react to my music, in late 1995 I
sent a four track demo to my favorite at that time: "Nova Mute", "Bush"
and "Soma". To my great pleasure there was a very positive feedback
and I was even in the position to choose. I decided on "Bush" because
the label was internationally renowned for Dave Clarke's 'Red' series.

My first release on "Bush" turned out to be an international breakthrough:
The single titled 'Ficken' (incidentally this title meaning "fuck"
in German should not be taken as a marketing gimmick, more as a spot
of British humour in regard to the name of the label, since the pornographic
vocal sample on the A-side is all that relates to the title) sold
more than 15.000 copies worldwide and advanced to be what could
now be called a "Post Rave Classic".

From now on I was booked outside of Germany as well, DJ sets in France,
Great Britain, Eastern Europe and the Benelux States ensued.After
having taken a break from playing live I now squeezed in a few performances.
In 1997 my second single on "Bush" was released and I got into
doing remixes.

Next to these tasks I got together with DJ Jens Mahlstedt, now living
in London, to orchestrate a play of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" directed by
Andras Friscay for the Schauspielhaus in Bonn. For almost two months
we worked on the intonation using video tapes of the rehearsals as a
guideline. A strange and freaky soundtrack featuring a soundcollage
as well as a few really pumping tracks was the result, altogether very
appropriate for the modern interpretation of Shakespeare's play. The
fi rst season was completely sold out and the press resonance was positive
throughout Germany.
The year ended with the release of my third single on "Bush", 'When
I Rock'. After a few starting problems this track had by spring of 1998
evolved to a club hit worldwide and found its way into the hitlists
of the international DJ Jet Set. Especially Carl Cox played it up and
down. Including the eventually released remixes by Anthony Rother
and Johannes Heil this is my most suc-cessful single with over 25.000
copies sold.

its way into the hitlists of the international DJ jet set. Especially Carl
Cox payed it up and down. Including the eventually released remixes
by Anthony Rother and Johannes Heil this is my most successful single
with more than 25.000 copies sold.

Halfway through 1998 I made a dream come true by launching my own
label "Spiel-Zeug Schallplatten". By cooperating with the cofounder of
"Confused Recordings", Jan Langer, who took charge of bookkeeping
and all technical issues, I had the chance to focus solely on A&R and
my work as a DJ. By now the label is one of the internationally reputed
Techno outlets with more than 13 releases by artists from around
the world. By the end of 1998 my fi rst album, 'Electric Ballroom' was
released. It presented my idea of prismatic, pumping Techno far from
commercial tunes and mindless pandemonium. Particularly the track
'Lust' with its prominent bassline turned out to be a hit in the clubs.
Within the same year, my fi rst DJ Mix CD 'Sci-Fi Level 2.2' was released
on "Superstition" in Hamburg. Here again the sound is more like a collage,
renouncing traditional mixing. A musical journey was fashioned
that is spiced with bits and pieces far from any usual DJ-Mix formats
- not without dispute but nevertheless successful. By now my remixing
talents were also much in demand and two of the absolute highlights
were rearranging Afrika Bambaataa's classic track 'Planet Rock'
and remixing a track for the Japanese superstars of Denki Groove.

To top off the most successful year in my career up to then I did a Christmas
gig in Tokyo and played live in Melbourne in front of 10.000 people
on New Year's Eve of 1998. Early in the following year I toured through
three Japanese cities. I loved Japan, its people and club culture (not to
mention the delicious food) and the tour enabled me to make a lot
of new contacts - one of which was to Japan's Sony, who resultantly
released a "Best Of Album" titled 'Save As Thomas' in the middle of
1999. Shortly afterwards, a special Japanese edition of my album 'Electric
Ballroom' was issued including a Bonus Live CD featuring my three
singles on "Bush" taped in Tokyo. At this time I fi nally left "Bush", not
having had a release there in ages.

From now on I began to release most of my tracks on my own label
"Spiel-Zeug", which had at fi rst been intended for merely one of my projects
and as a platform for other artists. Releases like 'Spiel-Zeug' 9 & 10
document this change.

In December of '99 we started a new series of Mix CDs titled "Perlen". In
addition I released a 12" on Pascal F.E.O.S.' label "Planet Vision" with my
Japanese friend and colleague Toby Izui.

I began the new millennium with a three month time-out: I packed my
things and disappeared to Tokyo where I found the peace and quiet to
regenerate. Upon my return to Germany in April 2000 I started recording
my second album titled 'Electric Avenue' which will be released on
"Spiel-Zeug" in October. And this much I can promise: Next to classic
Techno themes there will be few surprises - one of which will be a cover
version of a ... Depeche Mode Song!

Selected Discography
Silverstar - "From Bremen With Love" 04/95 Proxximate
Elektrochemie LK "Da Phonk" - 06/95 Confused Recordings
Elektrochemie LK "Da Phonk The Remixes" 08/95 Confused Recordings
Silverstar "Speedskater '96" 11/95 Proxximate
T. Schumacher "Ficken ?" 02/96 Bush Music
Vincent Vega "Monster Joe" 05/96 Deejays Recordings
Silverstar "You See It, Now You Don't" 09/96 Proxximate
Elektrochemie LK "Schall & Rauch" 01/97 Confused Recordings
T. Schumacher "Shelford Road" 03/97 Bush Music
T. Schumacher "Shelford Road LyPo Rmxs" 04/97 Bush Test
Elektrochemie LK "Raw Deal" 07/97 Confused Recordings
Eva Krynova "Alte Schule" 10/97 Consued Recordings
T.Schumacher "When I Rock" 12/97 Bush Music
Southampton Ltd. "Chicago Hope" 03/98 Superstition
T. Schumacher "When I Rock Remixes" 05/98 Bush Music
Spiel-Zeug 001 "Wig-Out Into" 05/98 Spiel-Zeug
T. Schumacher "Boogie Down" 09/98 Bush Sampler 01
Spiel-Zeug 004 "Rhythmatic" 10/98 Spiel-Zeug
Elektrochemie LK "Solid Deep 10/98 Confused Recordings
Southampton Ltd. "Up That Hill" 11/98 Superstition
T. Schumacher "Ficken? Remixes" 10/98 Bush Music
T. Schumacher "Electric Ballroom" (Album) 12/98 Bush Music
T.Schumacher "Payback Time" 04/99 Superstition
Elektrochemie LK "Schall Remixes" 06/99 Confused
Spiel-Zeug 09 "Hymn / Revolution" 09/99 Spiel-Zeug
Spiel-Zeug 10 "Supreme Funk / Trace It Back" 10/99 Spiel-Zeug
T. Schumacher "Integrate 1 & 2" 05/00 Superstition
Spiel-Zeug 13 "Remixes By Advent / Ben Long" 07/00 Spiel-Zeug
Elektrochemie LK "Schall Ltd. Remix Edition" 09/00 Confused Recordings
Elektrochemie LK "Schall" 10/00 East West / Leaded
T. Schumacher "Tek 29" 11/00 Spiel-Zeug Schallplatten
Elektrochemie LK "Schall Ltd./ T.P. Heckmann RMX" 12/00 East West / Leaded
Elektrochemie LK "When I Rock Ltd. Remix Edition" 11/00 Confused Recordings
Elektrochemie LK "When I Rock" 12/00 East West / Leaded
Spielzeug 13.5 "Remixes By The Advent & Ben Long" 12/00 Spiel-Zeug Schallplatten
Elektrochemie LK "Girl" 04/01 East West/Leaded