2019 was one of German EDM producer Tujamo’s biggest years on record. After a summer of huge headline sets at the biggest festivals around the world, remixes of the likes of Tïesto and Hugel and a whole slew of releases on Spinnin’ Records, he was crowned as the best-selling electro-house artist of all time on Beatport.
2020 has of course been a different story for the 32-year-old artist. But, as he explains himself, it’s not all been bad. He’s used his time wisely to create a whole new vault of big room weapons and feels more creative and inspired than ever. Best known for his XL sound that lends itself to the largest crowds (and a DJ style to match), it’s no coincidence that some of Tujamo’s most personal and touching tracks have dropped this year. While ‘Taking You Home’ and ‘Lonely’ both hit like EDM sledgehammers, like everything else he’s done, the tone, pace and lyrical content definitely reflect the changes we’ve been suffering this year, and set us up for the whole new barrage of releases in 2021. Bring it on!
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?
“To finally have enough time to work on music without being stressed and tired from touring. I must say, I’ve never been so creative before.”
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
“I learned to not take everything I had for granted. I mean, at some point I got so used to travelling around the world, playing the best clubs and festivals, it became very normal. Once we start again I can say I’m going to enjoy this whole lifestyle so much more than before.”
What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?
“It’s already sad that this is still a topic. I grew up with a bunch of friends from multiple cultures and this was never a thing for me. But if we really think about this whole thing... What are we talking about? That somebody looks different? Speaks differently? I don’t really know how to stop it, but it needs to be stopped!”
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
“Armand Van Helden ‘U Don’t Know Me’.”
Tujamo is proof that there’s more to German club culture than pitch-black techno. He’s naturally enjoyed plenty of success in his home country, but it would be fair to say that his particular brand of forthright, big room-ready electro-house is more popular around the world than it is in his own back yard.
For proof, check his sales figures. This year Beatport announced that Tujamo has sold more tracks over the years than any other electro-house artist, including such household names as Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Afrojack and Bassjackers.
It probably helps that the German DJ/producer continues to put out a steady stream of anthems. He began the year by delivering a killer revision of Tiësto’s ‘Grapevine’, before offering up the rushing, piano-laden heaviness of ‘Candy On The Dancefloor’ and the rap-sporting 808Charmer collaboration ‘Getting Money’. Those alone would have been enough to secure his space in the Top 100 DJs chart, but in typical fashion he’s continued to churn out hits for Spinnin’, Smash The House and Musical Freedom throughout the year.
From: Detmold, Germany
DJ style: “House.”
Best known for: “‘Drop That Low’.”
Fave tune of 2018: “Fisher ‘Losing It’.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2018: “Fisher.”
In a country best known, in dance circles at least, for tough techno and deeper, hypnotic fours, Tujamo is a break from the norm. Packing fresh, upbeat, house-leaning big room stuff into his productions, this year’s monster, ‘With U’, is a case in point. Finding favour with Romania’s Untold Festival, which used the track as its anthem, only accentuates how powerful the tune was. The same can be said for his recent Spinnin’ release, ‘Jook It’. A collaboration with Salvatore Ganacci that marries stomping kicks with the lyrical flair of reggae vocalist Richie Loop, it clearly shows Tujamo’s willingness to play with genre and explore new avenues to create dancefloor weaponry.
Bookings over the last year match for scope. Sets have taken him everywhere from his native Germany to Tomorrowland in Belgium, and on to China, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Reflecting the strength of his sound in the emerging Asian dance scene, it marks him out as a name that’s helping club culture continue its global march forward. “One of the best things is to see how the crowd reacts to my new music,” he tells DJ Mag. “That’s always really exciting!”
Words: MARTIN GUTTRIDGE-HEWITT
Tujamo has the rare distinction of actually having commercial chart success with his productions in the UK, Germany and Holland, something not a lot of dance artists can say. DJing since 2006, Tujamo — real name Matthias Richter — got his break by winning a DJ competition, which then saw him cut his teeth as resident DJ at Schuttorf club, Index.
But it was his chart-topping success with sleeper hit ‘Dr Who’ – which grew from a Miami Winter Music Conference hit in 2012 to a chart-topping hit in 2014 — alongside Plastic Funk, and featuring grime vocals from Sneakbo, that saw Tujamo thrust into the collective consciousness of the European charts.
With remixes for the likes of Deadmau5, Jack U and Bob Sinclar, releases on Laidback Luke’s Mixmash Records, and Dutch goliath Spinnin’ Records, and collaborations with veterans like Chris Lake, Steve Aoki and Laidback Luke, Tujamo’s skills and versatility are clearly in high demand. The German is just as at-home putting grime raps over big-room bangers as he is creating full-throttle club smashes like ‘Boneless’ alongside Messrs Aoki and Lake.
“It’s been an absolutely amazing year for me,” he tells DJ Mag. “All my summer festivals dates and club shows were off the hook, and the feedback for all my productions has been out of this world.”