Exclusive Interview with Tensnake

We had a nice sit down with Tensnake upon his gig at Straf_werk Festival on Saturday the 23th of August. The disco enthusiast with a love for the more funky side of house music, will close the main stage amongst other big names like Jamie Jones and KiNK to name a few. Most known for his popular ‘Coma Cat’ release, he also produced his first Album earlier this year with more versatile music, like we haven’t heard from him before. We spoke about the interesting collaborations and how he was as a little kid in school..

“Playing Main Stage means that I will probably play a bit less disco and more house, maybe a bit harder, but it really depends. Just really looking forward to this gig as the lineup is amazing.”

Congratulations on your debut album ‘Glow’. How were the first reactions when it came out in March?
Overall I would say the fans love it, I think it surprised some people who don’t know much about me and it definitely confused a few who expected another ‘Coma Cat’. It’s much more of a home listening experience, especially tracks like Kill The Time and 58BPM. I’m pretty proud of ‘Glow’, I spent three years making it on and off and was very happy when it finally came out.”

How different was it for you to produce an album rather than singles and EP’s?
The album was my personal statement and it was important for me to make but I’m thinking just as much about house as I am pop songwriting at the moment. My next track might be indie or techno, but I could equally head back into club music. I like to stay open to what’s exciting and inspires me.”

Nile Rodgers features on several tracks on your new album. What was it like to work with such an important artist from the disco era?
It was a real honour and something of a dream come true, I have to say. I don’t have any idols but he’s definitely one of my favourite producers and we worked on two tracks together for ‘Glow’. He’s so easy to work with and we’ve stayed in touch since. He’s an inspiration and has great stories to tell.”

A lot of your productions are influenced by disco and in your sets you play a lot of original seventies disco tracks. Where does this fascination come from?
I rarely play original tracks from the disco era in my clubsets, you will mostly likely hear a more clubfriendly edit of the song. But in general I like to stay open minded, I do not consider myself as a disco DJ or producer. You will hear all sorts of styles from disco to house to techno and back. Whatever first the moment. But back to your question: You can blame my childhood and my brother for that! I have loved Chic since I was a child, I remember looking at the LP sleeve of the first Best Of as a kid and trying to figure out who all these dudes in suits were.”

This summer you’ve been a couple times in Ibiza and you will play again soon with Pete Tong. Also you made a compilation with him, How did that come together?
“Pete has always supported my music, so this was the next step, he said that he’d always wanted to do something together and here was our chance. I was super-happy to be doing this compilation, it’s very Ibiza-flavoured with a few surprises. And I was very pleased to get ‘Samba Magic’ by Basement Jaxx cleared for the compilation, it’s one of my all-time favourites. We also tried to clear Sylvester – You Make Me feel, I did a special edit of it, but unfortunately, we ran out of time in the end.”

 


Since your first time in Ibiza back in 1999 a lot must have changed. What do you see as the most important positive and negative developments?

Positive – it is much easier to drive around the island and the hotels and cuisine are way better where I stay near Ibiza Town now. Negative – nothing is kept secret any more so there are no free parties and overall there are too many parties in competition with each other.

Can you still find places that have the vibe from back then?
Absolutely. There are parts of Ibiza that are still beautiful and there are parts of Croatia that are just as beautiful, if not more so. And I have been having a great time at Pacha this summer with Dennis Ferrer and friends at INSANE, I have to say.”

On the 23rd August you are one of the headliners at Straf_Werk festival in Amsterdam. Strafwerk is the Dutch word for detention-work. What naughty things did you do at school which resulted in detention-work?
Ha, well I think my friends and me, we were just a general pain in the ass back then.
One of us had constantly to wait outside of the classroom or was sent home. Fortunately we were most of the time smart enough to avoid Strafwerk, but at the age of 15 the teachers decided to seperate us all and put us in different classes. I guess we were not really nice to a few fellow classmates, sorry for that.

You will be closing the main stage. Does this affect your preparation?
Absolutely, Main Stage means that I will probably play a bit less disco and more house, maybe a bit harder, but it really depends. Just really looking forward to this gig as the lineup is amazing.

Any DJ’s spinning there you are looking forward to hear?
There are a lot of friends playing, but I think I am mostly excited about Kink live.

In an interview with us and Trouw Amsterdam’s founder and co-owner Olaf Boswijk, he said that during summer it’s hard to find DJ’s for the club, because many of them sign exclusive deals with festivals which don’t allow them to play anywhere else. He isn’t very happy with this situation. As a DJ, what is your view on this?
It’s definitely an issue now everybody wants to experience one or two festivals in Europe per summer – at least! But exclusivity is nothing new. It also happens with other clubs, some clubs ask for 1 or 2 months city exclusivity.

You have a twitter and facebook account, a personal website and a Soundcloud profile with quite an amount of followers. Every artist have their own way of using it. How important are social media to you and how do you prefer to use it to your advantage?
Social Media is more popular and important than ever as it offers a direct route and voice from the producer to their fans. I am fairly active on Facebook and Twitter and slightly less so on Instagram. It’s been good to see people liking things that aren’t cats on my page recently!

Have you experienced downsides of a vibrant online life?
I would say I have been pretty lucky. Most fans just have something to say, but most of them are polite!

What about the DJ life itself? It is romanticized quite often. Are there any things you’d rather skip?
Three gigs in three different countries in three days may sound romantic but tell that to your body on a Sunday night or Monday morning! The main concern there is it kills your creativity when you are tired. I am going to have a break at the end of the year!”

To finish the Interview, we’d like to know what your all time favorite summer hit is.
There are so many… but one of the obvious guilty pleasure tracks that reminds me of summer is Laid Back – ‘Sunshine Reggae’.

Straf_werk Festival
Jamie Jones | Ame | Tensnake | Agoria | KiNK | Breach | Huxley | Noir | Shadow Child | Gerd | Ten Walls | Pional | Finnebassen | Waifs & Strays | Amine Edge & DANCE | Maribou State | Homework | De Sluwe Vos presents Kontra | Prunk B2B Pony | Job Jobse | Tsepo | KERK! | D-Ribeiro | Kevin Duane |

August 23 | Straf_Werk Festival | Tickets | Sportpark Riekerhaven |