Timo Maas recalls his Depeche Moment
In our ongoing series assessing the impact of Depeche Mode through personal narratives, Bückeburg-born progressive house and trance star Timo Maas remembers being their (German) warm-up act in a stadium full of Polish football fans during the World Cup, plus tells the story behind his evergreen remix of “Enjoy the Silence”.
I’m not a hardcore Depeche Mode fan but I’m a child of the ’80s and as a consequence I have my own emotional experience with their music. I grew up in a small town between Hanover and Bielefeld called Bückeburg and I remember that in 1982 they played in a small club in Minden. I was too young to go but my brother went to see them play and he was really excited about seeing this new band.
Since then, I’ve done remixes of the Depeche Mode songs “Enjoy the Silence” and “Personal Jesus” but I have only met them personally once, at the Legia Stadium in Warsaw in 2006 when I played a DJ set as the warm-up act for them. That was a massive occasion, particularly for a German playing in Poland. It was the time of the World Cup and Germany had just beaten Poland so I was concerned that there could be trouble because that stadium is the home of some of the most notorious hooligan fans in Europe. I was really nervous before going on stage but it all turned out fine. I even received applause at the end. That was one of only two sets in my life that I have prepared beforehand. I am always spontaneous and have a lot of music with me so that I go along with the situation and the mood of the set but that time I had to be prepared because I had visuals and everything. I remember I played a kind of alternative-electronic set including remixes of Placebo that I had done, one of which was “Space Monkey”. We had a special video prepared for that. It was a great moment playing to a sold out stadium of 35,000 people. I’ve played even bigger gigs than that, such as with the Smashing Pumpkins in Mexico in front of 50,000 people, but the Depeche Mode show was very special. It was one of those moments where I could sit back and realize that through my profession things that once would have seemed impossible had in fact become possible.
When I was asked to remix “Enjoy the Silence” in 2004 I accepted straight away. I mean you can’t say no to something like that. That song and “Personal Jesus” are probably among the 50 best and most well-known pop songs ever written. Around that time my then-partner Martin and I were working quite a lot with major artists but this was an interesting challenge. At first we just sat there kind of frozen with respect for the song and then we put our heads together and thought about how we could interpret it and mix it without ruining the original intention of the song. We didn’t want to make it too loud. We decided to approach it with respect and feeling and to interpret it at an emotional level. You sometimes hear these remixes that use trendy sounds like dubstep or whatever to reinterpret a song, but stuff like that is usually forgotten after a couple of years. It’s just too narrow-minded. Martin and I tried to make something timeless and we achieved that I think—I’ve heard that people still play it today at parties and that’s great. It’s really the ideal situation for a remix that it’s respected and still gets played seven or eight years after it was made.~
You can read more Depeche Moments here.
Read more Depeche Moments here.
Published July 17, 2013. Words by timomass.