Tom Hades’ story has been quite an uncomplicated one. This man loves techno; when he’s not managing his agency, or traveling to his next gig, you can be sure to find him in his studio cooking up his next dancefloor destroyer. Even though he may have built up an impressive career that has been running smoothly for more than 15 years, he shows absolutely no signs of taking it easy. With a couple of stellar shows, a forthcoming EP on Off Recordings (scroll just a tiny bit down for an exclusive first listen of ‘Core’) and a few highly anticipated releases by his peers on his own Rhythm Converted label, 2018 might just be the year a new generation of techno fans get familiar with the borderless enthusiasm of the legend that is Tom Hades.
How are things going for you this year?
"Everything has been going very well, actually! I’ve had some career changes in my life recently: I’m working full time now at a new booking and management agency called ‘Swinque’. I’m very happy how things are going for the moment, so I have a great feeling about this!"
What have been the most interesting developments in the contemporary techno scene according to you?
"I have the feeling that newer generations revalue the soul of techno again as the hypnotic style of music it is. That doesn’t mean we need to talk about higher BPM’s and things like that. It’s more a state of mind; the general way people make, play and listen to techno is going in the right direction again."
A common critique on the current techno scene is that it has become a bit stale and monotone, straying far away from the ground-breaking innovation that was inherent to the earlier days. Would you agree with that statement?
"I do agree on a certain level that things could be more interesting. Especially if you think about it in terms of the technical possibilities in production nowadays. About 20 years ago, it was very hard to get good equipment and the ‘in the box’ principle was not even feasible in the actual production process. So, if I could give one piece of advice to new producers, it would to be as creative as possible. We need more unique approaches to the music, instead of just more of the same thing."
In which ways have you changed, compared to the producer (and the DJ) you were when you started out?
"I’ve changed a lot in terms of how I think about structuring and building tracks. Even in my own DJ sets I tend to emphasize the storytelling more than I did before. I really like to get people super excited on the dancefloor with a tense combination of melodies and driving percussion."
You started making music with your friend Marco Bailey. What were the most valuable things you learned from working with him?
"The most valuable thing must be to work hard each and every day! The thing I admire most about Marco is his dedication; I don’t know anyone who ‘goes for it’ like he does!"
With a career running as long as yours, how do you keep things interesting in the studio (and in the DJ booth)?
"I quickly get influenced by a lot of things in the studio. I can get lost in the smallest jam sessions on the tiniest machines. By buying some new gear every now and then, I keep things interesting and creative for myself. Obviously this mindset doesn’t really lead to a healthy relation with your wallet (laughs)."
You have a full-time day job now. How the hell do you find the time to combine your music endeavours with your daily responsibilities?
"It never feels ‘difficult’, since I’ve always been driven by my passion for music. I almost literally breathe techno in all kind of ways. A day without spending at least 10 minutes in the studio feels like a wasted day, so by combining those two worlds on a daily basis, it creates the perfect ‘work vs play balance’ for me: during the daytime I can get lost in my work, so I forget about making music for a bit – and vice versa!"
What have been the most memorable gigs of the past year?
"Last year I had the possibility to perform on top of the Great Wall of China – yes, the actual world wonder! For me this was by far the craziest experience ever! When you keep in mind I was surrounded by an enthusiastic techno crowd, I realized that life really doesn’t get any better!"
Your forthcoming EP on Off Recordings (listen to ‘Core’ right beneath the intro) sounds crisp and ready for some dancefloor damage. We guess that was exactly what you were going for?
"Yes! I’ve always been very fond of constructing dancefloor anthems, so this was very much the intention indeed! Happy to hear you guys feel that way! I’m really excited about releasing on Off Recordings; they are such a professional record label – quality all the way!"