15-10-2012 | 16.59
When Prins Thomas found his niche with new disco, he suddenly wasn’t that up-and-coming guy anymore. Butt-wiggling and foot-tapping he will treat us to a set of cosmic quality at ADE Trouw op Zondag. But don’t expect him to linger in Amsterdam for an extra day, because his family always comes first.
I’m intrigued by your life. You became a dad at a young age, you became a DJ at an even younger age. To be where you are now you must be great at balancing life?
‘It has taken me some time to find that balance. I started playing around 1984; right before my 10th birthday I had my first gigs in the local youth club. From the early nineties until 2003 I was barely making a living. At some point I actually gave up DJing and thought to myself: I have to be an adult and make adult decisions. I was going to be a father for the second time and my financials weren’t working out, so I took a job in the Norwegian immigration office. This happened exactly at the same time as I started getting recognition as a producer. So, for a little while I was juggling a day job, taking care of my wife and newborn son, and traveling somewhere new every weekend. All my wishes came true but I realized it wouldn’t work this way. If it would be important for me to be on the Resident Advisor Top DJ Chart or whatever, maybe I would have made different choices. But I prefer being closer to the ground than wearing myself out. Compared to my time with my family, my career is not that important. But maybe that’s easy to say because my career is going great, according to my expectations.’
Do you ever go out when you don’t have to play?
‘Not really. I’m getting my nightclub fix when I DJ. Even when there’s stuff happening here in Oslo that I would like to see, the priority is always my family. Only if Ricardo Villalobos would play in Oslo I would go. I never heard him DJ live in a club, but I’ve heard plenty of recordings and wherever I go I always check: will I be able to see Ricardo Villalobos this time? According to genre specifications we’re two completely different things. But in my head I feel we have a lot in common musically. The stuff he does inspires me a lot, although it can sometimes be hard to shoehorn it in between the tracks that I play in a set. But he is an exception, my family time is very precious. My son is 8 now and soon he’ll be 9.’
Has having children made you more grown-up or more childish?
‘Both. My children are 17 and 8, so it’s a big span. For my 17 year old I have to be more adult than I naturally would be, I have to be the father with the good advice. My 8 year old keeps me more playful, he makes me sit down on the floor to build lego. I know that my children are partially proud, partially embarrassed of me. I am the cool daddy with the creative job, but at the same time my kids would sometimes want me to be a completely normal parent with no weird youtube videos.’
I watched a video interview of you. I think it was in Japan...
‘I was very very drunk.’
You were shrugging your shoulders, saying ‘I don’t even know what new disco is’. How do you feel about other people categorizing your music?
‘That’s how it works I guess. No matter what Richie Hawtin would ever do, it would still be classified as minimal techno. I’m trying to put a lot of different influences into my music, but for some people it might sound as if I do make the same music over and over. It’s impossible for me to know what my music sounds like to other ears. What is an important ingredient in a song to me, might be just a little scent to somebody else. With the band project I’m doing, Prins Thomas Orkester, we basically make slightly psychedelic instrumental garage / indie rock. But it will probably still be called new disco.’
How do you make up the titles for your songs?
‘I’ve decided to stick to Norwegian titles. It’s not easy to pronounce, but it looks exotic.
Slangemusikk on my previous album was named by my son. The same with Flau Pappadans from my new album Prins Thomas II. I was playing the demo to my son, asking him if he liked it. I played it really loud and started to dance. My son had a friend visiting at the time and he was like: oh dad stop stop stop. I thought: ok, so this is the embarrassing daddy dance.’
On the tracklist I see Flau Pappadans 1. Is there also a Flau Pappadans 2?
‘There’s two different versions of the same track on the vinyl version of the record. I did it like that to make it a little bit more fun and exciting for DJs to play with it. The whole idea is that the vinyl has the raw versions of the tracks. To get the most out of it, you’ll have to mix it up. On the cd version it’s all mixed together already. I’ve done the work for you.’
Text: Tessa Velthuis