Podcast 450 [10 Years]: Tama Sumo

The Panorama Bar resident delivers 120 minutes of groove-laden house and disco on behalf of Europe.
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XLR8R's first ever official podcast was published on August 3, 2006. It came in the form of an exclusive hour-long mix by Plug Research, featuring cuts from Thomas FehlmannFlying LotusAmmoncontact and many more. In the 10 years that have passed since then—yes, this week marks an entire decade—a whole lot has changed. Firstly, the mix series that started all that time ago is now updated weekly by an artist of our choice; each submission is now shared via our channels every Tuesday of the year—without fail. XLR8R, too, has grown considerably, evolving from a San Francisco-based newsprint ‘zine to a web-only music publication with a more global audience than ever before and offices on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Settling on a fitting way to mark this milestone proved to be no easy task. Initial ideas revolved around compiling a list of our favorites from the past decade and sharing these with our readers once again, but we decided against this for two reasons: it didn't do justice to the occasion, and picking a favorite among such a diverse bunch is either going to lead to a remarkably long list or exclude too many others. After all, there has been no shortage of memorable additions to the series. Gerd Janson's 2015 submission springs to mind immediately, as do those of Alex Smoke, Nicolas Jaar, Helena Hauff and, more recently Andrew James Gustav—but there really is something in there for everyone. Even mentioning these names leaves out some of the leading pioneers in the global scene, names like Daniel Bell, Laurent Garnier, Gaslamp Killer and Floorplan, all of whom have submissions that can be checked out if and when you please. Picking favorites just wasn't going to cut it. 

After some careful consideration we also concluded that we wanted to serve up some new music for the occasion—and that sparked the following plan. Beginning on Monday August 1, and ending Saturday August 6, we are sharing a brand new mix for your listening pleasure. And to reflect XLR8R's growth into a global media outlet, each of these submissions will be delivered from a different continent; the artists chosen to mark this occasion with us all originate from a different corner of the globe. Their task for them was simple: to compile a mix between 90-120 minutes that best represents their musical roots. There have been two mixes thus far—from Seekae on behalf of Australia, and yesterday's from Asia's DJ Nobu—and up next, representing Europe, is one of Berlin's finest: Tama Sumo

Tama Sumo by Sven Marquardt_2

It's with a great sense of pride—and achievement—that we can today present a Tamo Sumo XLR8R podcast. The Berlin-based DJ, real name Kerstin Egert, has proven to be a tough artist for us to pin down; initial contact was made a year ago following an exceptional Boiler Room set to close last year's Dekmantel festival in Amsterdam, one of the few defining highlights in a summer full of memorable moments. The fact that it has taken her until now to deliver is testament to just how highly she is demanded. 

There is no real noise or information floating around Egert—and so it's neither necessary or possible to pen an extensive introduction about her or her main achievements. Even her alias, a mask adopted in 2004, remains something of a mystery. Indeed, all you really need to know about her is this: she was born in Mühlhausen, a small Bavarian town, before moving to Berlin in 1990. As a DJ, she began spinning around 1993 and went on to secure early residencies at Drama and Café Moskau, before moving to Tresor. She is now a resident at Panorama Bar, although she can sometimes be found DJing downstairs in Berghain, the techno-arm of the infamous Berlin institution. According to an interview with RA last year, her record collection is now 15,000 records deep.

Studio mixes from Egert are not not easy to come by (there are only four readily available today), and recorded club sets are similarly uncommon. Indeed, this sparsity of material is matched only by her production output: Egert's discography is limited to just a handful of productions, meaning she is one of only a limited number of DJs who have found their way to the higher echelons without the support of high profile releases. She is, in every sense, a DJ's DJ; one of the world finest house and techno DJs whose success and acclaim stem only from her skills as a selector rather than anything more.

When and where was the set recorded?
I recorded the mix at the end of last week at my home in Berlin.

What equipment did you use?
Two MK IIs , two CDJs, and the E & S DJR 400 mixer.

How did you select the tracks you wanted to include? How much time did you think about the tracks?
I can’t really say how much time I spent. I found it pretty difficult to make a decision on which tracks will make it into the mix, as there was so much great music released within the last months, and also a lot of beautiful music that will be released, plus also older stuff that still moves me. But at the end of the day, it’s a wonderful problem to have.

Did you have a specific idea that you wanted to express?
You are always in a learning process as a human being, and so are you as a DJ. I discovered a lot of new music via the rereleases of African, Brazilian or Latin music as well as jazz within the last years that I wanted to include in the mix, as well as my house and techno-ish side. I had to somehow make all of it work together. I guess it is basically what I do in my DJ sets, while the focus can change from gig to gig.

How did you approach this mix in comparison to a regular DJ set?
The approach was very similar. I love variety, mood changes, ups and downs, and a certain kind of spirituality in DJ sets. This is what I try to offer within my regular sets as well as in this mix. My DJ sets are of course more improvised as I have different environments, atmospheres and crowds to deal and play with. The motivation of the mix was to offer a small variety of the music that moves me and give a little impression what my DJ set can be about.

What have you got coming up this year?
Having fun and making some time to spend in my studio again. And I also have a lot of gigs to look forward to. Also, perfecting my jerk chicken recipe :-)

XLR8R Podcast 450 [10 Years] - Tama_Sumo