The ClubPlanet Interview: Tensnake

The ClubPlanet Interview: Tensnake

by DJ Ron Slomowicz

“Coma Cat” was one of those leftfield buzz tracks that came from nowhere and grew into a massive record that was played all over the world.  German producer Tensnake continues to imbue his music with a unique vision and a creative touch that is uniquely his own.  His debut album Glow is an exploration of pop and electronic music featuring collaborations with everyone from Nile Rodgers and Stuart Price to Jamie Lidell and Mnek.  Those looking for infectious hooks and a more experimental take of the Nu-House vibe will find some real gems on ‘Glow.’

RS: Let’s go back a bit; “Coma Cat” was the biggest buzz track for the longest time. When you made it, did you have any idea that it would become as big as it did?

Tensnake: No, I don’t think that you can ever predict that. It took a while but it got bigger and bigger over time. It was originally signed to a small label from Münich called Permanent Vacation and from there it was signed to Defected Records and suddenly it blew up in Ibiza and it became bigger and bigger. Eventually it became big here in the States and everyone played it in Miami a couple of years ago. I just got lucky; I was there at the right moment.

RS: How did you go from Defected to Virgin?

Tensnake: I was never really attached to one label, so I flirted with a lot of labels. Before I sent it to Virgin I sent it to my favorite underground labels and they said that it was pretty much pop music and they didn’t know what to do with it. My last option was to send it out to the majors and they wanted it. I was really surprised, to be honest.

RS: How did you get Nile Rodgers in the studio with you?

Tensnake: I sent him a message on Facebook. I heard from a friend that Nile Rodgers was reaching out to new and young producers. I decided to try my luck and sent him a message and he got back to me after 10 minutes. He was in Milano at the time and was like “yo bro, I just had a Chic show in Milano, I know your stuff, I know "Coma Cat," send me something.” That is how it started.

RS: Did you two actually spend time in the studio with each other?

Tensnake: We weren’t together for the final recording; we chased each other for a while but we were both busy playing all over the world. For the last recording he was in the studio in New York and I was in Berlin and we had a Skype session. He played the guitar and I drank red wine to calm myself and that is how we worked together.  We did meet in person here in Miami and had dinner together. I also played in Ibiza for the IMS Opening and Nile was there taking pictures of beautiful girls.

RS: Sounds like him. What did you learn from working with him that you did not know before?

Tensnake: The most surprising thing is that a man who has been in the business for such a long time with such success and so many records is not an asshole. He is a very humble, nice, and grounded person; he makes you feel very comfortable. Most importantly he is a musician and he is really only interested in the music and it was nice to see and to learn that.

RS: I am a little confused, your single “Love Sublime” came out and now I am hearing that on your new album the first single is “58 BPM,” how is that working?

Tensnake: To be honest, “58 BPM” was released last year on my own as a white label vinyl. It was a teaser to see how people would react to a slow jam and the reactions were from “what the hell is this” to “this is amazing.” I would say that the official first single was “See Right Through,” which was released in the summer. It took a long time until the album finally came out, it got released in March, but I finished working on the album almost 2 years ago. It is very old for me and I am excited that it is finally out there.

RS: What is odd is that you finished it two years ago but it sounds like you are right on trend with the UK nu-house movement. Are you familiar with that?

Tensnake: Yeah, when I play my DJ sets I play a lot of the UK sound. I would say that my biggest fanbase used to be in the UK because I used to play most of my sets there.  I am very happy that the house sound is coming back, especially here in the States, because it comes from Chicago, Detroit, and New York. It is interesting to see what is going on here, first the big EDM wave and now it's more of the house, pop stuff like Duke Dumont, Disclosure, and MK. I am just happy to be in there somehow, I wouldn’t necessarily consider my album a house album but I tried to do more songs and more pop music like how I would like to hear it on the radio.

RS: I always equate German artists with being left of center and a bit crazy, which is a compliment obviously, who else did you collaborate with on the album?

Tensnake: Stuart Price and Jamie Lidell, who is based in Nashville, I am a big fan of his stuff. Fiora is a big part of the album as well. We were only supposed to do one song together but the chemistry was so good and she is so talented that we made half of the album together. She is a great songwriter and did all of the lyrics herself.

RS: The same Fiora that sang with Armin Van Buuren?

Tensnake: Absolutely, she is very diverse and works with a lot of other artists.

RS: Just like the way that you reached out to Nile Rodgers and he probably helped you out a bunch, what advice do you have for up and coming producers and DJs? 

Tensnake: I think that you should always try, I was lucky. People should always try to reach out and hit people up and never give up. I am always looking for new talents as well and I definitely want to get into the writing and production side of things more, hit me up!  

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