the iJammming! featured wino:
|Don't take this too seriously. But slong with the opportunity to match music with wine and vice-versa, I want to use this site to occasionally talk to musicians about their wine collections (and possibly wine makers about their musical tastes). But I don't want to just feature multi-millionaire rock stars who have built temperature controlled cellars for their vintage Bordeaux and Burgundy collections; I prefer the idea of talking to younger musicians about their hobby so that you can share their enthusiasm.
This makes Timo Maas an appropriate first candidate. Very much the man of the moment, the Hanover-based DJ has been building an increasingly high profile for five years. And playing out is still the center of his life: "I only started making music because the records that I played were a little a little too boring for me," he says. But something clicked when Timo formed a production partnership with Martin Buttrich and Andy Bolleshon; their self-described "percussive wet funk" caught on as a perfect blend of breaks, techno, house and yes, funk. In the last three years, they've either produced (under a variety of names) or remixed some 100 tracks, of which several have become well known - 'Der Schieber,' 'Riding On A Storm,' 'Better Make Room' and 'Ubik' among them - and one of which, the Timo Maas remix of Azzido Da Bass' 'Dooms Night,' has become a certified classic. A top ten hit in the UK just a few weeks ago, it was also one of the hits of Ibiza this summer, and one of the mainstays of the Notting Hill Carnival. (Read Simon Reynolds' observations on the 'Dooms Night' phenomenon here.) Americans can find 'Dooms Night' on Timo's US debut, the Music for the Maases double mix CD on Kinetic Records. It's also available on DJ Icey's Essential Mix, one of my recommended party CDs to accompany my recommended party wine.
On the convenient subject of which, a feature in Mixmag this summer revealed Timo's interest in wine. So when he came to New York in October to play Twilo for the launch of his album, I took the opportunity to talk to him about it. As Timo is the first to stress, he's not the best with names, which means vintages and particular wineries are kept to a minimum. (So unfortunately, are adjectives due to language difficulties.) But in a way that's part of the attraction in starting this section out with Timo: proof positive that you don't have to carry every detail in your head to know what you like.
And yes, I did talk to him about music too. If you want to read more on that subject, you can do so here.
|I read in the Mixmag interview that you're something of a wine collector.
Well, not so much a collector. I have a really nice wine cellar. . . But I grew up with the music. I started collecting records by the age of eleven. At the age of seven, I said to my mum already all artists and titles from the radio without speaking any words of English. I said 'this is this, and this is that' and my mum was like, 'look at this, he knows everything.' So that was the age of seven and now I'm 31. So I have to do something with music.
So where did the enthusiasm for wine come in?
I released a record on a German label called 3 Lanka. It was four years ago, The owner of that label Amin Jomad, who is also head of distribution at Discomania, he is a wine lover, and he introduced me to the whole wine thing. We had a wine tasting one night at his house. Well, not really a wine tasting - we drank with four people six or seven absolutely fantastic bottles of red wine, and I've been on it from then on. It was the whole night. We had some really nice cheese, we were sitting on the balcony, and it was a nice summer evening, we were just hanging around and we were just having a lovely evening. It is not just the quality of the wine, it is the quality of the vibes that you have. And it can be quite relaxed. You're drinking and you're tasting, and say 'It's a bit smokey.... And it goes a little bit in the cherry direction.' And that was the first night I really tried to give the wine a direction, to categorize that. To describe that. And I just said to him what I taste, and he said 'Fucking hell, you're really good at that,' and I said 'Alright, I have to collect that shit.' It's a progression like music, so the longer you are in the business, the more you learn, so I find it's the same kind of thing.
Were you drinking it before then?
Definitely, I drank some wine. But I never realized before what is a good wine and what is not a good wine. And where is the difference between Spanish Rioja, for instance, and German red wine?
So then what happens? You start going to record stores and wine stores?
Yes. The first big wine offer I did, I drove down to Amin's house, which is near Frankfurt, 350 kilometers away, - or just around the corner for Americans! - and basically we went out to this big wine house in Frankfurt and I bought some wines there. He said, 'This is good,' and 'yes, you will definitely love that.' He knows a lot more than me, you need someone who gives you the right direction. I'm not specialized in wine, but I know what my favorites are at the moment. Which is definitely really good Australian Shiraz. I've had The Armagh, I think the 1994, it was a present from Martin, my producer. I already drank a bottle of that, and it's (licks lips) . . . Legendary. I think it is absolutely one of the best Shiraz you can get. And I have an absolutely favorite, which is Marques de Murrieta Spanish Rioja, 1989. It's really really hard to get this still but I know a shop at Frankfurt airport, when I come back from intercontinental flights, I have to pass this shop, and I always buy two, three, four bottles of it, this Reserva. It's this absolutely fantastic bottle of wine.
I was in Ibiza this summer, and my wife found it so funny that I was looking at our guide book to find the best wine store, so I could bring back some Rioja. And we were in Sydney for the Millennium, so I took a trip to the Hunter Valley then, mainly for its Shiraz.
I've been on tour in Australia and I met a couple of people there who now send me step by step, case by case, gold medal Shiraz wines from Australia to Germany. And I'm going back on tour there in February or March and we want to spend two or three days in different wine areas to have a little bit of wine tastings and then I'm ordering and they'll send the stuff straight to Germany.
There's a lot of import problems in America. It's very hard to get the stuff shipped to you.
It's not that easy in Germany as well. But if they want taxes, I pay tax, I don't care. Because the wine is already really cheap, and you reach then exactly the price you have to pay in Germany for a bottle, but you get much better material that normally never comes into Germany. Which is good.
What kind of stuff have your friends been sending you so far?
Gold medal Shiraz. I'm not very good with names. I really like strong wines. So I'm definitely into red wines, and then strong wines. French wine are okay as well, but I didn't find my favorite. A Petrus is a little too expensive at the moment. Just yesterday, I saw a magnum bottle of '49 Petrus, a 1.5 litre, for £10,000!!
And you thought rare records were expensive!
Oh shit. Man! A good wine is not that much nicer than a good old record.
But there are a lot of similarities, between being a record collector. Some people see dance music as snobbery where you have to have the latest cut, the rarest track and the latest import, and if you can laugh at yourself, then it is very similar.
It is definitely. It's just a question of how seriously you see the thing that you do. So if you always have a smile on your face when you play good records, and if you always have a smile on your face when you serve an absolutely fantastic wine for your friends, just as a nice surprise, without letting them know that maybe this wine cost 100 marks, just 'Can you taste it? It's different.' They learn now as well as I learn. Maybe in 10-15 years I will really know a little about wine, but I always seem to have the right hand in buying something and drinking something. In restaurants, I'm like 'I've heard something there, and I've heard something there,' and I always seem to make the right decision - 95% of the time.
You know how with records, people are always saying 'have you heard that record? You've 've got to get it.' It seems like it's the same with wine. Talking with people on the street.
Amin sometimes sends me e-mails and says 'Yesterday we had this wine with some friends and it was absolutely amazing and if you want I can arrange to send you some bottles,' the connection is still there. You're right with that. But the thing is all my friends are very normal, down to earth persons, so my best friends are nothing into showbiz or music biz, which is good. And they don't have the money as well to start collecting wines. But they really enjoy it when we're hanging round at my house, when I've been in Mexico or anywhere else, I have some nice cigars as well. And we drink a nice expensive glass of really fantastic red wine and enjoy ourselves. I want to give my friends a little bit of my enjoyable life as well. It's so important - they are the most important people in my life.
"Most times I open a bottle of wine when I come back from a long weekend. I will definitely do it this weekend. It is absolutely fantastic, when you then go into your basement and you think, 'Oh yes, it's time for that, I take this baby.'"
So if someone is listening to Music for the Maases at home, what would you suggest they open to accompany the album.
Well the last track is the best track to listen to at home. This 'High on Kilimanjaro' remix of 'Mama Kondo' by Orinoco. Personally this is a favorite of the album. We talked about it, a nice glass of red wine, a huge jazz cigarette and then this song.
If they came to your house, what would you open for them
The 1991 Marques de Murrieta, still. The 1991 was an absolutely fantastic year as well, and I have a couple of bottles left. When I would have the situation and there are a couple of people that are really interested in my vibes, not just some people I have to impress, people that are really interested in my story that I have to tell, if it's music wise or just talking, I think it should be this one. It is really fantastic. It's not too expensive or so that people think 'oh it's a very expensive bottle '; it's just an absolutely fantastic wine and it fits to that song. Definitely. But the cigarette is essential.
I'm in America - I call it a jazz cigarette!
You keep your wines in with your records, I believe?
I have two rooms in the basement of the house where I rented my flat, and they are perfect. They are dark, cold, and a little bit wet. I need another room, I think, because I have too much records and too much wine. I want to buy some more wine and I don't have the space for that. There are a couple of boxes, still closed how they delivered the boxes, and they are now on top of the records!
How much do you have in all?
Records, probably 30,000. Wine, not that much, maybe 2-300 bottles. It's okay. It's not too much. It means I'm not a collector, it means I love to enjoy myself. I love cooking, and I love to drink an absolutely fantastic wine with that. That's it, that's the basic thing.
Do you have the patience to store the wines?
Yeah, and I help myself as well. I have lists. When I buy wines now, I have lists of when is the best year, so when I order wines, I always do it from the catalogues of some specialist, and they write, 'The best year is 2004, and you can drink it until 2008, and when it is stored in the right temperature, you can store it until 2012.' I have lists, so that I don't open a wine when it's not good anymore. Or when it's too early
If you have a cold room, you might as well keep them.
Exactly. I hope that I do a lot more money in the next couple of years. I really want to buy an old farm in Germany and I want to rebuild that. And I want to have a really huge wine cellar, so that I can have a bigger collection, with possibly in the basement, in the same conditions, cold and a little bit wet.
But you say it's all for the fun of it.
For me, when I go into the wine cellar, most times I open a bottle of wine when I come back from a long weekend. I will definitely do it this weekend. It is absolutely fantastic, when you then go into your basement and you think, 'Oh yes, it's time for that, I take this baby. Do I cook a little bit? Possibly a nice white one?' (Laughs.)
You haven't really mentioned German wines. Germany is famous for its Rieslings.
But I don't really like the Rieslings. Riesling can be a little sweet and I'm more into dry wines. I have absolutely fantastic white wines as well. And I have absolutely fantastic German white and red wines. I'm not good at names. But then I'm not good at names with records either. I know good records but I don't know the names. And this is definitely not the end. This is just the stuff I found out in the last two three years, which is good. I'm now 31, but when I'm 40 I have possibly 25 or 30 absolutely favorites. It's just like with music, you're learning by doing. Or speaking English.
Which you do very well.
German was the only subject I failed at my school exams. (O Levels, for those who remember them.)
Well, you're English. That's normal!
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