There is a lot of fluff being played and overplayed in clubs these days and songs seem to all be made from the same template. But electronic DJ and producer Tom Stephan offers something a little different, and tomorrow night he brings with him a pure house music sound that resembles something you would have heard in the ’90s in New York.
Stephan’s music career was born in London, but he himself was born in the Big Apple. In the 1990s, Stephan was spending his time at Sound Factory falling in love with house music. The scene and sound had not yet spread to every corner of the planet as it has today, and feeling inspired, he took it to London.
But he didn’t just play records — he made music, too. “Making music came first,” he said in an interview with the Taipei Times. “But I feel the two fit perfectly together. It wasn’t an obvious combination when I started, but now it’s almost expected that DJs produce their own music as well.“
It might be expected, but many DJs have never stepped foot in a studio. Stephan on the other hand, spends as much time as he can in the studio and has developed an extensive remix and production catalogue, which is limited to no particular style. He listens for anything that has a hook, or something that catches his ear, and then takes the song in a whole new direction. He’s reworked songs by the Pet Shop Boys, Seal and even Tom Jones. “Sometimes, I find the less like my music the song is, the easier it is to remix.”
He even says that the Pet Shop Boys are his biggest inspiration, besides his music education in New York.
“NYC in the ’90s will inspire me for the rest of my life … [The experience] couldn’t happen again now. Everybody knows every record DJs play now, and if they don’t they can Shazam it and download it right on the dance floor! That’s a lot different from me going around all the record stores trying to sing MK’s Nightcrawlers!”
Staying true to his old-school roots, Stephan considers himself an underground DJ, even though his own productions are getting regular play by DJs like Tiesto and David Guetta. But don’t expect to hear anything that resembles EDM when Stephan plays tomorrow night. According to him, EDM sounds a lot more trance than anything else. That sound may be what the masses love right now, but it just doesn’t appeal to him.
“The music that makes me dance is more about rhythm and drums. Beats that move your body.”
Stephan said one of his most memorable gigs happened right here in Taipei, at the now defunct club Texsound. “A friend said to me — do you think they’ll know your music there? I had no idea. But I played my track Revolution and people began to sing along. I’ll never forget that.”
DJ Tom Stephan plays tomorrow night at 10pm at ATT Show Box, 7F, 12 Songshou Rd, Taipei City (台北市松壽路12號7樓). Tickets are NT$1,300 at the door and can be purchased at www.walkieticket.com. More information is available at www.facebook.com/climaxtaipei.