The Kompakt label stalwart stopped by R$N for chat ahead of his upcoming appearance at c/o pop Festival Tour this Friday with Coma, Roosevelt, Mister Sushi and Antepop.

You have a long term affiliation with Kompakt, how did you first get involved with the label and can you let us know of any forth coming projects yourself and Kompakt are working towards?

Michael Mayer and me came from the same region in the south of Germany, we were friends before we moved to Cologne. We first met the guys who became the Kompakt family later on in 1993. Michael and me started to hang around in the record store and became sort of a DJ team for them. Then Michael got involved in selling records while I took the path towards music journalism. Since I am fully involved with the c/o pop Festival and some of other projects, my contributions for the label became really rare.

Do you look back on your time as editor of SPEX magazine with fond memories, did you find the transition from musician into journalism an easy one?

I do love writing as I do love being a DJ, it´s both – above all – about story telling. I do not regard my self a musician, but I know how to write and tell a story by spinning records.

Sven Vath, Pet Shop Boys and Justin Timberlake. Quite diverse people you interviewed?!

It was the diversity of the magazine. It was a magazine for pop culture. Now I work for a festival with the same broad spectrum. I always prefered pop culture as a whole instead of techno, house or whatever niche one can choose.

Total Confusion, the club night you host in Cologne has been a fixture on the music scene in the city for over twelve years now. That's quite an achievement, what do you think has set Total Confusion apart from other club nights in Cologne?

In the end it´s made with passion, with love, with commitment. Loads of people are influenced by TC in Cologne, their whole upbringing in the late nineties happened through TC. In the beginning, in 1998 our programme, our booking and musical agenda was unique, the way it was presented, the personal emotions that were involved, the huge social factor … all that remains until the present day and still makes it very different from other club nights.  

Musical Upbringing.

Eighties, Pop, Indie, Punk, then the nineties changed it all towards electronic dance music.

What's it like to work with Michael Mayer?

We used to be very close friends and partners in crime for years. We deejayed a million hours side by side. So we know each other versy well. Meanwhile he is the boss of Kompakt, I am a festoival director, we both have stressfull work days, and the times of travelling together are over, as he became a really famous DJ. But I am the godfather of his first born son and we see each other for barbecue and stuff like this every now and then …

I think that remix of James Figurine's 55566688833 you did with Superpitcher is amazing. What track are you most proud of that you've produced?

Thanks for the flowers. I got compliments for that track quite often, but I don´t think it was ever played in clubs that I attended. I think one of my best works is "Über Wiesen" by Thomas/Mayer and then a remix I did a long time ago with a guy called Dettinger, for a german rockband, it´s called »Jackpot« by Tocotronic.


Looking forward to the London c/o pop Festival show next Friday, what can we expect at the Lock Tavern?

Above all two great concerts by Roosevelt and Coma. The Sound of Cologne!

Are you still a resident at Panoramabar? What do you think makes it such an incredible club? Everytime I go there I have a different and completely unique experience.

I stopped being a resident for the Kompaktorama night there a few years ago, because some things started to turn me down also concerning the club´s policy. But I still think it is a great venue and maybe in September I will come back there to play with the Pachanga Boys.

Has the hybridisation of the bassier strands of electronic music permeated into your music like it has been in a large proportion of current UK productions?

no idea 😉

You've been working in music for many years, what keep you moving forward and inspired?

As I mentioned above, I am not a musician, not even a producer. But I love what I do, and basically all I do is filled with music.

Care to do us a mix sometime or perhaps pick us 10 tracks that we can stitch together via youtube?

At the moment I am so busy with the festival I could get down on my knees and cry 😉 so, let´s see how i feel after june.

Do you dance?

Yes I do! Michael used to say: never trust a static DJ!

Cats or Dogs?


Shirts or T-Shirts?

Both! But more shirts.

Shoes or Trainers?

Both! One day COS, one day CONVERSE 😉

Worst 5 records of forever.

Everything by the Black Eyed Peas?

Anything else you'd like to talk about but i haven't asked. I realise there's a lot here.

Next time we talk about love. or football. or wine. Then we have the whole picture 🙂

Thanks for your time.

You are welcome.

By Wil Troup

Catch Tobias Thomas at c/o pop Festival Tour.

Date: Friday, 18th May
Venue: Lock Tavern, Camden
More info.