Seen from the outside, the DJ lifestyle appears glamorous and easy: champagne on tap, business class flights, five-star hotels and attention from attractive members of the opposite sex. However, what’s it really like to be an international DJ, travelling from club to club, city to city, country to country, every weekend?
German DJ/producer Thomas Schumacher has been spinning for as long as he has been making music. Here, he describes a recent weekend’s worth of gigs and provides a rare insight into what it’s really like to play records for a living. “I’m based in Berlin and was playing in Lyon on Thursday, so in the early afternoon I flew to Munich and then onto Lyon. I usually don’t get a chance to see the city I visit, I just go there, go to the hotel, have dinner at a restaurant or order room service and have a listen to what I’m going to play that night. I still use vinyl, I’m very happy with it and I haven’t heard anyone say yet what’s wrong with it: anyway, I find it better than having to look through a million MP3s. In Lyon, I got picked up at 1am and was brought to the club. There’s a music festival on that the city is funding – so it’s free into all the clubs tonight. The venue was packed, the sound system was very good, the set up was perfect – once it’s like that, all you have to do is play good records.
I had bought loads of new records and it took me about 20 minutes to connect with the crowd. The night went really well. What also made it special is that two of the guys from Underground Resistance came to the club to check my set and I felt totally flattered! I looked through my box and played a Detroit special! I ended up playing for three hours, which is often the perfect length of time. I finished the set with Maxence Cyrins piano version of “Nights of the Jaguar” and received a nice round of applause from a great crowd… Then it was back to the hotel, room service – I’m always as hungry as a wolf – and I had a sleep.
The next day I flew from Lyon to Paris and then onto Manchester – direct flights are the best, but not always possible! – and arrived in the late afternoon. I stayed at the airport hotel, which I usually don’t like, but which was the best idea this time. I had more room service, took a long hot bath, had a little nap and got picked up at 1am. I like getting to gigs about 30 minutes before I play. This was my first time in Sankey’s, but I had heard many great things about it.
The club was full when we got there and I got the feeling that there were a lot of people there to hear me. The crowd was going crazy, chanting, throwing their arms in the air: they were very open-minded and able to express themselves, but were also into the more energetic music. They wanted me to play a lot of my own tunes. It can be fun to do that, but I would say that I’m not that predictable as a DJ. The tracks of mine that I played fitted well in my set and sounded great over the club’s massive sound system.
I’d say Sankey’s holds about 1,000 people over two floors – it’s a proper club. The visuals/lights reminded me of a club in Sao Paulo (DEdge), and the promoter told me later that it was the inspiration for Sankey’s. I DJed for two hours, which is often a good length of time for a more peak-time set, and then I went back to the hotel and had a good sleep.
The next day, I had a direct flight to Hamburg and got there at 2pm, then I was picked up by an old friend. We went to his place and had a barbeque and it was great to drink a few beers, eat some Wurst and not talk about music for a few hours! Later on, the promoter drove me to Lubeck, where the gig was on. Again, it was a totally different vibe, it’s a small city and it doesn’t get so many international DJs.
I opted once again for room service, got picked up at 1.30am and the club was full when I got there. It was more of a general crowd and the warm-up DJ played a rather mellow set, but there were also some dedicated people there! The sound system wasn’t as good as the other clubs, it was making the tunes sound harder, so I played more minimal and housy stuff for most of the time. As it was a more casual crowd, I made sure there were no breakdowns – there’s nothing worse than a people standing around on the dance floor!
I played for two and a half hours and then went back to the hotel while the sun was rising and had yet another good sleep. The next day, the promoter drove me back to Hamburg and I took the train from there back to Berlin. It’s only an 85-minute journey and I had some lunch on the way. If I could only take trains more often. It was a busy weekend and I was looking forward to seeing my family. People think DJing is a great lifestyle but 80% of the time is spent travelling to and from gigs. Having said that, the few hours that you can do what you love makes up for it. I meet a lot of people, but it’s often very superficial so it’s nice to get to know people a bit better over time, so I look forward to it if I play for someone I’ve made friends with.
Thomas Schumacher – Live at Renesanz Metamorphosis Plowdiw Bulgaria 25-11-2008
Thomas Schumacher – Swound Sound System on Radio FM4 10-05-2008 • Tracklist
Thomas Schumacher – Guest Mix on Global Session Kiss100 12-04-2008
Thomas Schumacher – Live at Club Forsage Kiev Ukraine 06-03-2008 Part 1
Thomas Schumacher – Live at Club Forsage Kiev Ukraine 06-03-2008 Part 2
Thomas Schumacher – Live at Club Forsage Kiev Ukraine 06-03-2008 Part 3
Thomas Schumacher – Get Wilde on Proton Radio 19-02-2008
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at Noice on proton radio 09-12-2009
Thomas Schumacher & DJ T. – Live at Watergate Club Berlin Germany 16-09-2009
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at Get Wilde on Proton Radio 20-10-2009
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at CLR Podcast 19-10-2009
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at Electronation on Kink FM 05-09-2009
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at Noice Podcast 08-07-2009
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at Get Physical Music 19-06-2009
Thomas Schumacher – The Finest in House on Get Physical Music 24-05-2009
Thomas Schumacher & Ormeye – DJ Set at Minimalize Your Night 09-05-2009
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at Noice! April Podcast 019 00-04-2009
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at Dance Department 18-04-2009
Thomas Schumacher – Live at Get Physical Night on Cookies Club Berlin 24-03-2009
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set Across the Line on BBC Radio 18-03-2009
Thomas Schumacher – Studio March Podcast 00-03-2009
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at Subdivisions Podcast 04-12-2011
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at Plattenleger 13-11-2011
Thomas Schumacher – Live at Dommune, Tokyo 17-10-2011
Thomas Schumacher – Autumn DJ Mix 00-09-2011
Thomas Schumacher – Live at Welcome to the Future, Amsterdam 06-08-2011
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at Egostereo McGroove Radio Show 14-05-2011
Thomas Schumacher – Live at Voidd Studio 80, Amsterdam 12-03-2011
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Mix February 00-03-2011
Thomas Schumacher – Live at iLL Communications Trilogy, Dubai 25-02-2011
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Mix February 00-02-2011
Thomas Schumacher – Live at Harry Klein München 08-01-2011
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Mix January 00-01-2011
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at Plattenleger 14-10-2012
Turbobit • Uploaded
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at Delicious Housetunes 13-09-2012
Turbobit • Rapidshare
Thomas Schumacher – Vorfreude DJ Mix 00-07-2012
Turbobit • Rapidshare
Thomas Schumacher – DJ Set at Plattenleger 06-05-2012
Tel: +49.30.440 33 28 44
Fax: +49.30.440 33 28 10
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