Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Tensnake: Shedding a new light

Tensnake Tensnake Tensnake Tensnake

If you didnât already know who Tensnake was, youâd be forgiven for thinking it was a name for new heavy metal band or magician with a weird serpentine routine. He is in fact neither of these things, but actually the super cool German producer responsible for a plethora of disco and early 90s inspired remixes and productions that people are currently sucking up like an icy cola on a summerâs day. Presently, heâs riding the wave of hysteria that surrounds his most recent production âComa Catâ a track that is leading the way to the new sound of the 90s revival which is clever, innovative and inspirational.

Here he tells us about his background, his influences, his ultimate DJ line up, why he owes Resident Advisor a pint and why he is so syked about his new albumâ¦

Q. If you could have your own club night and five of your ultimate DJs playing, who would they be?

Well for many years, Iâve been a massive fan of Maurice Fulton. He was one of the best DJs I have ever heard in my life when he played in Hamburg two years ago. Who else? I think definitely Prins Thomas would also be on there, heâs one of the best DJs for me. I really enjoy his sets, when we play together or whenever I hear him. And, let me think about it. I think the Metro Area guys. Itâs difficult just to pick your favourite! I would also like the add ghost of Larry Levan and DJ Harvey!

Q. Ok, letâs talk about what skills you have. Now you started off as a bedroom DJ but you did you formally study music?

No I never did, I donât even know how to play the piano! But Iâm not into any theory of music or musical theory.

Q. So how does the process start?

When I started many years ago, I was trying to reproduce the sound I love, which was mainly the US house sound of the mid 90âs like the Strictly Rhythm stuff. I was listening carefully, the best way that you can learn stuff is listen and then try to reproduce and get to know more stuff. It depends if there is an idea for a track, floating in my head.

Q. Lets talk about Resident Advisor. The podcast you did, that was the moment that everyone noticed Tensnake. Did you think that would be so powerful for you?

No, never, of course not! I just played like everybody, I played my favourite tracks. I had an idea of how the mix should sound. It was an end of the year podcast so I wanted to make it for a new years eve party, start easy, chilled out and then end with a big clash! The feedback was amazing, it helped me get bigger and recognised.

Q. The big story right now is Coma Cat. Can you tell me what the inspiration was behind the track and a bit of a story about what it was?

I came back from Miami, feeling very relaxed. I just tried to capture the summer feeling. The light, relaxed and happy feeling. I also tried to put it in a mid '90s sound. Like not too many instruments, and really simple, but really catchy without getting boring.

Q. Yeah it very much has that '90s sound. So I wanted to ask you about that. The '90s is now suddenly really cool, why do you think that is? Why now?

I think itâs because music is like fashion. Itâs all coming back again because people hear a certain sound and you get excited by discovering new sounds. Then people have had enough and they want something new. People wouldnât know what to say about the 90s sound or the fashion, it was easier to talk about the 80s. But now people are fed up with the 80s!

Q. Now, what are your key moments and musical memories from the 90s?

I started buying vinyl in the 90s. I was really into deep house and vocal house and had bought almost every Strictly Rhythm record. That was around the time I started going out, to big raves and house clubs. So it was the most important period in my life, musically wise. I just listened to a new track by Andy Butler from Hercules and Love Affair that is a perfect representation of the 90s house sound. You could hear on their last album a lot of late 80s early 90s house stuff.

Q. Ok letâs talk about the mix. Itâs fresh from your studio. Tell me about the tracks, tell me everything about it.

The main idea was to come close to the feeling of the Resident Advisor mix, to capture the spirit and the vibe of it. The first is more chilled out and itâs more like playing my favourite tunes without focusing on the perfect DJ mix.

Q. Tell me about the tracks that you really love, itâs very eclectic. Only you can tell us about your feelings towards these tracks.

I think itâs the second track Iâm really digging, from the guy from Wolf and Lamb, Zev 'Don't Break It' (Kenny Glasgow & Jonny White Remix), itâs down tempo in a way. Each release has its own feeling, itâs a good start! Another track from the first CD thereâs Carol Williams âCanât Get Awayâ from the boogie disco time! Iâm really happy to have that on the CD. The second is the party CD! Itâs faster, Iâve tried not to stick to one vibe or feeling. There is some disco influenced stuff, a DJ Sneak track (Sneak Essentials 'In Da Clouds' (Da Original Dub), there is also the Heaven and Earth 'Prescription Every Night' track which is excellent and it ends on the uplifting Phase II 'Reachin' (Original Brotherhood Mix).

Q. I want to ask how you feel about pop music. I think itâs a huge influence on dance records and genres.

I totally agree! I grew up on MTV, it was a good example of how dance music, club music and pop music work together. It can be the same. Pop music is the ultimate.

Q. Is âComa Catâ a pop record?

I would say in a way. I think it works for both. You can hear it on the radio and when you are ironing also you can have a dance to it too! That is the success of the record, it has a cross over potential.

Q. Whatâs âReckless with your Loveâ all about?

Well it was quite hard work, I really really loved the original track. I tried to do a more house remix but then I realised you canât do it any better. So I tried to search for a genre that worked in the 90s and ended up with this break beat, Soul II Soul beat, Massive Attack or even Snap.

Q. Rumour has it, that youâre working on a new album, is that true?

Yeah thatâs true, but itâs a lot of work ahead of me. Right now there are more ideas coming, itâll be different from what Iâve done before. Iâm planning on finishing it around March next year.

Q. Is there anything else you want to tell us about?

Not really. Iâm basically really happy at the moment! I think the huge success of âComa Catâ is possible because of all the people enjoying it, and buying it. Iâm just really thankful!

Q. How about gigs? Where can we see you over the next few months?

The next few months? Basically everywhere! So Iâll be London, Paris, Amsterdam. Iâm really excited about going to Canada and the States in November then in December Iâll be in Australia. So I escape the winter in Hamburg!

The album âTensnake In the Houseâ and single âComa Catâ are released on Defected Records Sept 27th.

Images: Dan Reid

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