062 – Tama Sumo

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Tama Sumo is undeniably one of Berlin’s most respected figures in club land, a true DJ’s DJ with a career spanning across two decades and long standing residencies at OstGut, Tresor and Berghain / Panorama Bar – true institutions in Berlin’s rich dance music history. With her focus on ‘letting the music, the crowd and herself run freely’ still burning strong after all these years, she is one of the most experienced and skilled selectors that we’ve had the pleasure of showcasing on the podcast. Tama Sumo also possesses an innate talent for combining perfect portions Techno, House and Disco in a DJ set, and this mix is a true testament to those talents with her near 2 hour musical journey. She has also been kind enough to have a chat after a big weekend of gigs..

Firstly, how has 2012 treated you so far, where have you had the most fun playing and partying?

2012 has treated me quite well so far. Had a lot of gigs that i enjoyed playing at a lot. Don‘t want to point single parties out as for me it feels quite competitive, just a big thank you to all the people who spread good energy and supported me so much.

Your name and the club that you’ve been resident since 2004 are intimately connected these days. Can you tell us about your special relationship with Berghain / Panorama Bar and what the place means to you?

Well Berghain / Panoramabar means a lot to me as it‘s my musical home and we have a long history together and i have a lot of great memories about what i experienced within this time of working together. Really difficult to verbalize the relationship. I‘m very happy about the diversity and freedom within this place and grateful that there are people who i see very often when i‘m playing and who are open to go on this musical journey with me. I also enjoy the mixture of people working there as well as the mixture of the crowd. We all have diverse backgrounds in terms of culture, ways of living, sexuality, age, social networks just to name a few and it‘s good to see that music and the love for a good party brings people together.

You have had a couple of timeless releases in collaboration with Prosumer, are there any plans for more studio work together? Is production something you enjoy working on as much as your DJing?

Thank you! Prosumer and me did some other musical projects in the last months away from nightlife like making music for fashion shows and a tv show. I love working with him as we feel very connected on many levels and it feels good making music with him, so we probably will do further projects, but we don‘t have a concrete plan for that yet. Because i‘ve been DJing for such a long time i feel very connected to DJing and who knows -­‐ i might feel the same for production at some point, but right now i‘m very happy and comfortable being a DJ.

Your sets are always varied in style and energy, how would you describe the way your musical tastes and record selections have evolved over the many years of your career?

I guess my musical taste developed mainly when i left the little Bavarian village where i grew up and moved to a bigger city. There i could have another approach to music through the people that i met there, the clubs and the record stores. I grew up in the seventies and eighties and we had no internet at that time and all the music i heard back then was pretty much mainstream stuff. The biggest change came when i moved to Berlin in 1990. The energy of the city -­‐ especially at that time short after the wall came down -­‐ was so extremely different to the neat and clean conservative Bavarian one from the eighties. That also emerged the need for a new life soundtrack for me -­‐ even if this was pretty unconscious.

“I never was good at sticking to just one musical genre or what I would describe as a tunnel vision approach to sets, I like variety and colour in my sets.”

The amount of people living there and seeking for alternative concepts of living as well as alternative concepts of music was quite high. Due to that fact, Berlin also at that time had a lot to offer in terms of music and i mostly got touched by electronic music as it was presented in clubs like Tresor, Planet or later E-­‐Werk . Besides the record stores influenced my listening habits very much. I also learned a lot due to the fact that back in the days we had the chance to play long sets at Tresor / Globus where i was a resident DJ for years and the long playtimes we are offered at Panoramabar / Berghain. I never was good at sticking to just one musical genre or what i would describe as a tunnel vision approach to sets, i like variety and colour in my sets.

This approach maybe comes from my musical socialisation in the eighties. When we went out as kids the music that was played out was mostly very diverse during the night: you had a bit of disco, hip hop, r’n'b, pop -­‐ whatever. There is too much music that i love and i would feel trapped if i had to concentrate on one certain genre.

Last but not least the biggest influence for me were and are friends and DJ colleagues with whom I share music, since a few years mainly my girlfriend Lerato and Prosumer. I learned a lot from them and it‘s so much fun music nerding with them!!!

How do you find most of your records? Do you have some favourite record stores which you frequent in Berlin, or anywhere for that matter?

Most of my records i find in record stores in Berlin and favourite stores are Hardwax, Rotation, Spacehall and Oye Records. And I also dig a lot on the internet every day to see what other records stores outside of Berlin have to offer and order from them, too. And i‘m also a very regular user of platforms like Discogs or Youtube -­‐ in my opinion you can learn a lot about music that you missed until now.

What can you tell us about this mix? What is the idea behind the mix and who are some of the artists featuring?

To be honest -­‐ there was not such a big concept behind it. I mainly wanted to put timeless music that i love and play a lot at the moment together in a mix like i would probably do it in a Clubset. Some of the featured artists are The Oliverwho Factory, Purveyors of Fine Funk, Obsolete Music Technology, Chicago Skyway, Anthony Shakir, Jeff Mills, MMM meets Tshetsha Boys, Levon Vincent, Murat Tepeli, Instant House and many more.

What else do you have coming up this year that you’re able to tell us about?

Lerato Khathi, Alan Abrahams and me will relaunch the label Süd Electronic, that was first launched by Lerato and Alan in 2000. The plan behind it is to give diverse music that is touching us from all over the world a home without focusing on electronic music or a club context or without been genre specific. The first two releases will be remixes. One of the EPs will feature a remix from myself of the of the track “Zooz“ from the Sudanese singer and political activist Mary Boyoi.

No Tracklist Available.

Photo Credits – Sven Marquardt


  1. lerato says:

    awesome mix tama !!!:-)

  2. Bru says:

    ^ Biased, but very accurate :p

  3. Fernando says:

    Excellent mix! track id @ 21:00? Loving the heavy bass on that one! Greetings from Brooklyn.

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