Tom Wax has led a long and chequered history within the realms of electronic music. Having got his big break at Frankfurt’s classic Dorian Gray club, he really hasn’t looked back since, with his effervescent DJ style and his vast production nous endearing him to some of the scene’s most seminal names. His latest is a fitting workout in that regard. Released on Toolroom offshoot Toolroom Trax, it’s the sort of tech-house release that really does bring the listener on a proverbial journey. Here, we nabbed Tom for a quick chat – and here’s what went down…
– What was growing up in Germany like then? What was your first introduction to electronic music?
My childhood till I was 16 was very relaxed and most of the time I was on the Tennis court practicing with my friends. We were all into music and everybody loved a different style from Synthy-Pop to Old-Skool-Hip-Hop to Heavy Metal,Punk and later EBM,Acid House,New Beat and Techno-House! We exchanged music every day at school and went to parties and clubs around Frankfurt, where I first got into electronic music at the famous Dorian Gary club at Frankfurt airport!
– What do you look for in a track before you part with your money with it?
I need energy, groove and this one special thing – then I go for it!
– And you just released your Toolroom EP – what was the thinking there?
I love the sound of a Hangdrum, because it has this special vibe that reminds me of summer, Ibiza and gives you that good feeling! I just tried to put this into a club tune to spread this feeling with my music!
– And how long have you been DJing? Did the production or the DJing come first?
I started DJing in 1988 on friend´s birthday parties or school parties! When I started producing in 1991 I became resident DJ at Dorian Gray club in Frankfurt.
– As a DJ what do you see as your roles? Has that role changed since you first became involved in electronic music?
When I started DJing I was just the guy in the dark corner that had to please the audience with the music they wanted to hear and in the 90s it was the DJ who teached the crowd a new and special sound. I always try to please and teach during my DJ sets, because I can´t stand a empty dancefloor!
– So how long have you been involved in electronic music now?
As a professional, for 23 years now, because I started this music thing in 1988 as a hobby and made my business out of it!
– Aside from Djing/production, do you have any further involvement in the scene?
I run my own label Phuture Wax Records, have my own publishing edition WaxWorx and I do music mastering for other labels!
– How would you sum up your sound to those that don’t know?
Call it what you want ! Sometimes it´s more Tech-House and sometimes more Techno, but always with a groove!
– How has your sound changed over the years? Who influences your taste more than anyone else?
I always had progress in my sound, because that´s the reason why I love electronic music! Forward ever – backward never! My all time DJ hero was and still is Sven Vaeth, because he does it with real passion and always has a vision!
– So did you have a mentor of sorts over the years?
No not really, but Sven Vaeth always inspired me with his DJ sets!
– What are some of the most important lessons you have learnt when it comes to production? Are you still learning?
I´m still learning and in the last two years I changed my way of production from Cubase to Ableton live, where I still discover new tools.
– Do you work with anyone else in the studio? Or is it purely a solo mission when you’re producing?
I love to work in a team and next to my solo-productions I work with different people in my studio for example Strobe, Franksen, Ian Oliver and Simon Fava! Sometimes I just produce their tracks and sometimes we release some tracks together!
– Are you a hardware or software guy? And which do you prefer?
I love the software way of production – it was a dream in the early 90s to produce like this and today it´s just great to work on different tracks at the same time and to save all synth,effects and the mixing desk in one file! Sometimes I use some hardware equipment to sync it with my software, but in the end I record it into my virtual studio!
– And is there a story behind the EP at all? What’s your favorite memory of making it?
Strobe just came up with that Hangdrum melody and we just went to the studio and after 5 hours the track was finished! We asked Ninetoes for a remix and he said, that he loves the tune, can´t make it better like it is and declined to remix it! Now we have a massive Ramiro Lopez Remix, which brings the tune to another level and into the the playlists of other DJ´s!
– Where do you want to be with your music in 5 years time?
I always lived a dream that I never dreamed of and I hope that in 5 years everything will be like it is today! I wanna stay healthy and still enjoy music!
– And what else can we look forward to from you? What other tricks have you got up your sleeve?
A lot of new releases and remixes will be out in 2015 and I hope the people out there will enjoy my music! Just have a look at www.tomwax.de !
Interview by James Hopkins
Tom Wax and Strobe’s Hangdrumania is out now on Toolroom Trax