Tim Toh & youANDme take it NYC
Sure to turn heads and ears this month is the hot new collaboration on Nervous Records between Berlin beatmaker youANDme alongside the rising star of the city, Tim Toh. The ‘About You / Listen To’ EP is available now exclusively from Traxsource and is a perfect slice of hypnotic, old school influenced tech house that is sure to find it’s way into the sets of many of the scene’s top tastemakers.
youANDme is a name that has been synonymous with the Berlin scene for a number of years with classic releases on the likes of Desolat, Cocoon and Pokerflat, not to mention their own imprints Rotary Cocktail Recordings, Polymorph and CUTZ.ME. Having recently moved to the city himself, 2016 looks like the year Tim Toh plants his unique tech house flavor on the Berlin map and is a name that you should definitely be looking out for.
We decided to sit down with the dynamic duo to discuss the release, the white hot Berlin scene and the influence the legendary Nervous Records had on the pair’s musical educations, as Tim Toh & youANDme take it NYC.
How did you guys come together for this release?
A year ago I moved to Berlin. It must have been fate that I have found a place almost close by to Martin´s house. We hang out sometimes at a Spanish restaurant in Wedding and both like to explore culinary places in our district, so we spoke about making music together would make sense too.
And we like to have a beer (or two) and talk about gear and productions, so it was only a matter of time before we met in the studio and started to jam with the machines.
Did you know each other before on the Berlin scene?
We know each other for some years now. Both of us released music on Ornaments records and we always touched base when I have been around.
I think we met the first time 8 or 9 years ago when I played a gig in Tim’s old hometown Pforzheim.
Did you discuss the musical direction before hand, or did it come together organically?
In the beginning, we spoke a lot about our references and found many similarities. We also found that we are both passionate for US house and Techno and as part of this project we wanted to reminisce on those days whilst keeping it contemporary. In the beginning of a session we shared some ideas and concepts that we liked, but in general we don´t speak too much. Most of the time, we focus on the machines and which sounds or grooves could be attached next.
What I really like about our jams is that we don’t need to talk much about directions or what to do next. We have a kind of a natural understanding without many words. When we make music together there is a special smoky flow which makes it really easy to create ideas.
What are each of your specialist skills in the studio and who did what on the release?
I took care of harmonies and vocals and did the very basic arrangement. Martin is the groove doctor and technical highly skilled. We both inspire and complete each other, while having a quality control for all aspects in the production. I recommend to any producer to collaborate as much as possible, the learning curves are enormous. Plus making music alone all time and having to decide everything on your own can be limiting.
Tim has these special improvisation skills because he comes from a jazzy background. He jams without too much theory and this can be really inspiring. Sometimes I’m maybe a bit too much into details and musical rules and it’s refreshing to collaborate with somebody else to jump over your own borders.
What equipment did you use for the tracks?
We used Ensoniq VFX-SD, MPC2KXL, Moog Sub37, Moog Voyager, Elektron Octatrack, MFB Tanzbaer, MFB 503, Roland TR808, TR8, A&H ZED Mixer, Percussions, Roland Space Echo and a Roland Jupiter 6.
Nervous is a legendary record label. Were you guys fans of the imprint before they signed the track?
Yes definitely. When I first started listening to house music, I’ve always have been a big admirer of the label. I mean, who hasn’t owned or danced to a Nervous release?
I’m really happy that we have a release on this legendary label now. There are so many Nervous classics which influenced the whole electronic music world. One of my all time faves is Gary’s Gang ‘Let’s Lovedance Tonight’ (Danny Krivit Re-Edit) and of course Josh Wink’s ‘Don’t Laugh’ (Manoo remix).
Have either of you been to or played in New York before? If so, how does it differ from Berlin?
To cite DJ Koze: I haven´t been there, but it´s on my list.
I have been in New York 3 times and I played at Verboten, TBA Brooklyn and the last time at a illegal warehouse party for the Momentum crew in Brooklyn. This is not enough to have a complete overview about the New York electronic music scene, but I had the feeling that there is a new and fresh scene which is really hungry for quality underground music. I also realized that it’s not so easy to make parties like in Berlin. If you like to run a non-stop party from Thursday until Tuesday it will be not a problem because there is no curfew. Another difference is that life is much more expensive in New York and that’s the reason it’s hard for musicians and DJs to make a living just with their art.
Where is your favourite place to DJ?
There are many nice places around the world so its hard to choose a fave. In Berlin it’s still the Panorama Bar for me because you have so much freedom to play obscure records or really deep sounds and the crowd will understand it. Also the Fusion Festival in the north of Germany is always amazing. There are 70k of people but you have kind of a familiar hippie vibe and that creates a really unique atmosphere. Another place which I really enjoyed to play, was the Space Terrace in Ibiza. Next year Space will get a new owner and there will be a lot of changes. I hope it will be not the next EDM temple and they will keep some quality underground events.
In South Germany there are some nice clubs like Fettschmelze or the infamous Robert Johnson. Here in Berlin, I am in favor the smaller venues like Paloma Bar.
Who is your current favourite producer and who should we be looking out for?
Besides our friend Michal aka ‘The Analog Roland Orchestra’, I really like the output of Jimmy Edgar and everything related to his label Ultramajic.
I really like almost everything by Carl Craig. He is not only a genius producer I also like his mixdowns and his sound design.
Do you guys have plans to work together again?
Sure! We already have a couple more tracks in the making. As we both have our own projects too, we need to push each other to get more done quite soon.
Yes, it’s always fun to jam with Tim and there will be something new soon, but first, I have to finish the mixdowns for my new album!