German house DJ Tensnake - interview
The DJ is set to play Musika, Heavy Gossip and Ultragroove's 12-hour bank holiday party
Musika, Heavy Gossip and Ultragroove have announced a twelve hour celebration of house and electro. Henry Northmore catches up with one of the headliners, Tensnake.
Events like this usually happen in Glasgow. But Musika, in association with Heavy Gossip and Ultragroove, are giving something back to Edinburgh, presenting 12 hours of house and electro spread over three stages. Showcasing some of the best live electronica acts Scotland has to offer (such as Discopolis, Battle of the Zoo and Digital Jones) alongside a battalion of local DJs.
However, it’s not just the cream of Scottish talent that will be occupying the Liquid Room this May Day bank holiday weekend. Starting as a side project to their indie day job, Jas Shaw and James Ford formed DJ production duo Simian Mobile Disco. Now in full-time electronic employment since the release of Hustler in 2006, they have three studio albums under their belts as well as countless remixes, EPs and mix albums.
Tensnake is the other big name heading the bill. With the release of the instant anthem ‘Coma Cat’ in 2010, Tensnake instantly shot up through the ranks of house producers, drawing on the sounds that influenced him as a kid. ‘I grew up in the suburbs of Hamburg, where there was nothing to do except listen to music,’ explains Tensnake (aka Marco Niemerski). ‘So the radio was the most exciting thing around me. My older brother was into all the old boogie stuff like D*Train, Shalamar and Aurra.’ Which explains the heavy disco influence. ‘I was never really a fan of the tag or the name “nu-disco.” I just try to make music that feels real for me. I am not afraid of adding some pop elements. I love pop music and I love house music.’
This open-minded approach lead him beyond disco through Mod, ska, 80s pop and eventually dance music. ‘Funnily enough, I’m not really a part of the scene in Hamburg. But I was an avid music fan growing up. There was a legendary early house club called Front that was pretty popular and we went there a lot. This was around 1992. I was totally shocked by something so new, so after that experience I spent all my pocket money buying records. From 1992–1998 I bought every record that came into our local shop. From there, making music was a natural progression.’
‘I got a drum machine when I was maybe 16. And later for birthdays and Christmas I got my first synths. I was always making music for my own pleasure and it took me years to dare to release it. ‘Coma Cat’ pushed it all on another level though.’ The bouncy disco groove is infectiously catchy and you won’t be disappointed by Niemerski’s live set. ‘It came together so quickly but I had no idea it would blow up so much, or that it would still be going strong today. But I can’t play a live show without it.’
Musika, Heavy Gossip & Ultragroove, the Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Sat 5 May.