In today’s electronic music world there are not many artists who can lay claim to a legacy like that of DJ T. During a career spanning three decades he has not only injected every inch of his being into the music industry, traveling the length and breadth of the planet to spread his gospel, but he has also been responsible for setting up some of the most prominent platforms in the business and kickstarting the careers of numerous international stars. DJ T. has an unsurpassed depth of knowledge, an unrelenting passion for discovering and nurturing new talent and unflinching determination, which has been the catalyst behind a hugely influential career lasting over 25 years and counting…
Born in Dusseldorf, DJ T. (real name Thomas Koch), relocated to Frankfurt with his family in the late 70s. During his formative years, he fell for the hypnotic grooves of disco, inspired by his parents’ record collection. At the age of nine he was already completely enraptured by music and that love affair continues until this very day. He began an obsessive quest to collect music, feeding his soul with everything from disco and hi-nrg, through to early hip-hop and electro, soul, funk and R’n’B. The groovy, infectious rhythms of all those genres continue to permeate into the music he makes and plays today, providing an intrinsic part of his sound ethic.
Around this time he took up breakdancing, compelled by the energy of hip-hop and early electro pioneers to push himself physically, channelling the energy of true body music, which remains part of his musical DNA. From body-popping and locking, he progressed into DJing, a discipline through which he could share his undying passion for music. T. started to play at private parties in his hometown, soon picking up his first professional gigs. The late eighties proved to be a pivotal moment in his life as acid house swept through Europe, landing in Frankfurt and taking over with the launch of Sven Väth’s legendary Omen club in 1988. The first wave of house and techno took hold and T. was there at the forefront, absorbing all the fresh new sounds from Chicago, Detroit and the UK. He picked up a residency at the infamous Music Hall and held residencies at countless clubs across the city during the next 10 years from Plastik and Dorian Gray to The Box. During this fertile period, DJ T. established himself as a reputable purveyor of electronic music and, by the end of the nineties, he was one of Frankfurt’s best-known selectors.
In 1989 DJ T. tapped into another side of his creative energy to set up Groove Magazine. Identifying a gap in the market and fuelled by a need to satisfy his own desire for specialised music journalism, which focused on his interests – namely, underground dance music. Under his leadership the magazine was launched into the public’s consciousness and he guided Groove to become one of Germany’s premier dance music publications, which it still is today. He served as editor and publisher for 15 years and took the brand on the road with numerous tours and club events in and around Germany, not only on the road but across the airwaves with a weekly radio show.
After a decade of events under the Groove banner, DJ T:injected all of his experience into the launch of his own venue. In 1999 he teamed up with a friend, Patrik Dechent, to open his own intimate club space, Monza. Over the next five years his creative vision and unique music programming kept the club buoyant and even spawned an Ibiza franchise; presenting the very best house music to a discerning, open-minded crowd. DJ T.’s ambitions pushed him forward into yet another successful venture in 2002 when he collaborated with five friends to set up Get Physical, a seminal label which has received universal respect since its conception and has been responsible for launching the careers of a long list of global stars. Though he left in 2010, T. still A&Rs for the label, lending his remarkable ear to the continued success of the label.
As well as DJing, event organisation, journalism, club ownership, A&Ring and label management, T. has also produced an impressive catalogue of releases; both singles and albums, which demonstrate his ability to create a diverse range of sounds, drawing on his extensive experience of collecting and playing music. In the early stages of his production career, from debut EP, ‘Monsterbaze’, with Steve Bug in 2000, to his first album ‘Boogie Playground’ in 2005, DJ T. was injecting all the music he was surrounded by in his formative years into creating hypnotic house grooves, With three albums under his belt, he has proven time and again that he can make body music with soul, unleashing deep enchanting rhythms influenced by a wide range of genres. On his most recent album, T. partnered up with Stefan Eichinger (aka LOPAZZ) to create a long-player that explored his songwriting capabilities and allowed him to expand his creative boundaries. Entitled ‘Pleasure Principle’, it remains one of his most seminal projects to date and spawned a hugely popular series of remix EPs, featuring contributions from the crème de la crème of contemporary house and techno including Maceo Plex, Maya Jane Coles, Tale Of Us, Art Department and Jamie Jones & Lee Foss. DJ T. himself has also become synonymous with remixes, putting out numerous reworks for an array of artists and labels over the last decade.
Beyond the production work, DJ T. has also been responsible for curating several key compilations over the years. In 2006 he released his debut commercial mix ‘Body Language Vol.2’, followed by ‘fabric 51’ in 2010, ‘United Under The Ball – 30 Years Of Disco’ in 2011 and ‘The House That Jack Built Vol 1 & 2’ in 2012. In 2013 he celebrated 25 years of DJing with a very personal mix compilation, followed also by ‘Body Language 15’ and a collaboration with Defected and Strictly Rhythm to celebrate the latter’s 25th anniversary. DJ T.’s reputation for being a master selector has been cemented by these superlative collections of music, each of which has received widespread praise, often featuring many of T.’s own edits of classic tracks.
Now almost 30 years deep, with an extraordinary list of achievements behind him, T. shows no signs of slowing down, in fact his unrelenting drive and thirst for seeking out new avenues has led to several key changes in his circumstances recently. In 2015 T.’s output has hit previously unexplored terrains, with music landing on labels such as AUS Music and Moon Harbour. Turning once again to his Chicago and jacking house roots, T.’s latest tracks blend the old school styles with a modern sound ethic, focused around contemporary tech house and the dark and ravy sounds emanating out of the UK underground. In unison with new production partner Emanuel Satie - a talented newcomer from Frankfurt who now resides in Berlin.
Two years after he celebrated 25 years in the business with a world tour and numerous projects connected to the milestone event, DJ T. remains as enthusiastic about music as he was in his formative years. Creativity is at a high, his desire to spread music far and wide never wains and his artistry and dynamism as a DJ is unparalleled.