Exclusive Interview With Matthias Tanzmann
“I try to follow my gut as much as possible. But this is a privilege that you have to earn. On the way there you sometimes have to compromise. At least, when you try to make a living out of your passion. I think that is no different in any other field”
Matthias Tanzmann emerged from his native town of Leipzig in the mid-nineties, and became one of the most respected German producers, DJs and label owners in the scene. What helped to define and redefine the genres he was swimming through, were his own releases on his label Moon Harbour and his much talked about DJ sets.
Most notably these sets happen at DC10 in Ibiza, where he is a resident for the Circo Loco crew, and where often one can see him team up with friend and peer Davide Squillace. The pair has also partnered in the studio with Desolat’s Martin Buttrich as Better Lost Than Stupid.
When working solo, Matthias Tanzmann holds a strong sonic identity, evident in standout EPs such as Bulldozer, Chano, Tilt and his debut album from 2008, Restless. As a remixer he has always been very adept and adaptable and most of all in constant demand over the years for acts like Booka Shade, Moby and Josh Wink.
He has his very own way behind the decks in the way that he combines grooves, subtle melodies and infectious basslines into soundtracks that never lose sight of the groove and keep people on the dance floor going crazy and waiting for more. Last but not least, as a label owner he has proven numerous times his professionalism and consistency.
In the run-up to his gig this Friday at DSTRCT, we had a talk with Matthias Tanzmann about his partnership with David Squillace, upcoming gigs, future plans, and we found out a couple of things that you would have probably never guessed.
What’s your most vivid memory from your childhood?
I am afraid that might have been a flute under the Christmas tree at the age of 4 or 5. I think my parents regretted that soon.
Did you have any major influences when you started focusing on electronic music and became a DJ?
I didn’t have a plan to become a professional DJ when I started buying records. I was still at school at this time in the 1990’s. I started to go to clubs and listened to all kinds of electronic music. The borders between styles were not as defined as nowadays. I picked up what ever I heard and slowly started to find out what I liked most. It was music on labels like Harthouse or Bush.
Can you tell us about your partnership with Davide Squillace? You guys are often playing together. How did that evolve?
It developed out of our mutual residency at the Circoloco parties at DC10 Ibiza. I couldn’t even say how it initially happened, but this is the place were it took off.
Are there other artists that you feel as close to as Davide Squillace?
Martin Buttrich, as the three of us work together as Better Lost Than Stupid. And there was a time in the early 2000’s when I was working very closely with Steve Bug and Martin Landsky.
You are going to play the DSTRCT event at the legendary Elementenstraat warehouse next week. As it is a warehouse party, is that something you will keep in mind when selecting your music for that night?
The DSTRCT party will certainly differ from a summer open air. But I don’t really pre-select my music. Of course I do my general homework, which means listening through tons of new tracks each month. But when I go to gigs, I usually pick my tracks depending on the vibe of the night.
Earlier this year in March you hosted your label night at the 300MPH event in Rotterdam. The same organization is now organizing DSTRCT. How do you look back on that event?
I really like the Toffler club. It has a special atmosphere because of its tunnel layout. And the feature that you can change the size of the room by moving the DJ booth including the wall behind it is just awesome. I look back at that night with a smile on my face. It was a lot of fun in great company.