Thomas Schumacher was eleven years old when Depeche Mode released Construction Time Again. “I’ll never forget sitting at home, listening to the album in my headphones, trying to figure out how they made those sounds.”
Thirty-four years later, Thomas Schumacher still burns with curiosity. The Berlin-based DJ and producer makes light of his status as one of the most enduring, versatile artists in electronic music. “What I love about Techno is that it demands that you question yourself, reinvent yourself.”
Thomas Schumacher is always pushing his own boundaries. “The art of being relevant,” he says, “Is to forget what you know.” In his early days as an artist, he had to learn how to physically create the sounds he heard in his head. Now, as a virtuoso, the challenge is to use his breadth and depth of musical knowledge to convey profound emotion. “Techno is not just a tool to make people dance,” he says. “It is a very personal, intimate way of expressing myself.”
This intimacy fuels the unique vibe of a Thomas Schumacher DJ set. He compares himself to the captain of a ship. “I purposely steer my sets into rough waters. I want to help people get out of their heads and into their bodies. I create a safe space for people to lose their minds, in the best possible way. They know they don’t need to worry or be afraid, because I’ve got them. I know what I’m doing. They can let go and just be.”
When not guiding clubbers through seas of sound, Schumacher reaches them via his productions on his label Electric Ballroom, and his weekly NOW podcast. NOW is a showcase for his low-key charm and impeccable ear for a great tune. And, like his DJ sets, the podcast is a forum for his studio output including the recent Natural Rhythm EPs on Noir.
The more you do, the more there is to explore, the more opportunities to invent, connect, and imagine. “I am always the one to change it up,” Thomas Schumacher grins. “My ongoing ambition is to connect to the crowd, year after year. It’s what lights me up.”
His latest release, Natural Rhythm III on Noir Music, lit up the Beatport Techno chart, going straight to Number 1. Its highlight is “Stella”, a propulsive anthem dedicated to his daughter. He sees no reason to compartmentalise his music and life. Everything is connected, everything is authentic. “There is no other version of me,” he says. “When you meet me, you meet Thomas Schumacher.”