Interview + Off Week Playlist: Matthias Tanzmann

Ever since first emerging from his native Leipzig in the mid-nineties, German producer, DJ and label boss Matthias Tanzmann has helped to define and redefine electronic music through releases on his own label Moon Harbour and his much talked about DJ sets (most notably, DC10’s Circo Loco).

When working solo Tanzmann very much has his own sonic identity, as evidenced by standout EPs such as Bulldozer, Chano and Tilt and his debut album from 2008, Restless. As a remixer he has been in constant demand over the years, turning his hand to acts as diverse as Booka Shade, Moby and Josh Wink.

The breadth, depth and consistency of his Moon Harbour label over the years are also testament to Matthias Tanzmann’s dedication to electronic music. The label has released countless EPs, LPs and compilations, and has A&Red new talents and nurtured established stalwarts in equal part, from Sable Sheep to Dan DrasticEkkohaus to Luna City Express. He might have been doing this for well over a decade, but in 2014 Matthias Tanzmann remains as influential as ever.

Now, celebrating 15 years of Moon Harbour with a very special Off Week event at Barcelona’s Pacha, Matthias Tanzmann took a few moments out of his busy schedule to, not only, talk to us about the label, the year that passed, and the rigours of the summer season, but has also provided us with his exclusive Off Week playlist, perfect for your summertime party needs.

“I am a big fan of the city of Amsterdam. It is one of my top 3 cities in Europe. If I had to move inside Europe, this would be one of the places I could see myself living…”

How was the recent DC10 opening party on Ibiza?
The opening was, again, very good. Crazy! Incredible amounts of people. I played the garden area, which is mainly used for the opening/closing parties. Everyone was into it and keen for the new DC10 season. All the other artists I heard play were really enjoying themselves as well.

Was there any particular set or moment during the event that stood out to you?
I didn’t really spend a long time with each artist since I was circling around the three floors, but I liked Dubfire very much.

I have seen that Circo Loco was brought to Japan at the end of May. What were your impressions of that event? How do you see the Japanese underground scene these days?
It was very interesting because it was a daytime event with a nighttime after party. Japanese clubs are usually quite dark, with people seeming to enjoy themselves better in this environment. Maybe its part of the Japanese culture, but they seem to enjoy a more “private” club situation. When I was playing Circo Loco’s daytime event, it was very different. People were like they are in Ibiza. Totally freaking out! Hands in the air! Just like a festival. I was very surprised.

Afterwards, we had the after party at Womb, which was very much like a club situation. It was a mixed crowd, many of whom were different from the daytime crowd.

Going back to the Ibiza conversation, I’ve been asking a few artists this recently: how do you prepare yourself, either mentally or physically, for the rigours of the island, as well as your summer schedule?
Music-wise, as soon as it comes closer to the summer I have to find more new stuff every week than during the winter, especially for Ibiza. I play every two weeks at DC10 so you can’t repeat yourself a lot. There are obviously a few tracks that you like but you still have to bring in fresh sounds every week. Not to mention with the [summer] festivals, you really have to prepare a lot of new music.

For the rest of Ibiza, I have been trying to save my energy and power with more sleep before the summer starts.

How about Amsterdam…what is your relationship like with the city?
I am a big fan of the city of Amsterdam. It is one of my top 3 cities in Europe. If I had to move inside Europe, this would be one of the places I could see myself living…

..I talked to Mathias Kaden last week and he said the same thing..
Really? [laughs] We come from the same area of Germany so have a similar outlook on these things…

I find the city very International. It is not as stressful as, maybe, London. Everyone speaks English there too, which is amazing, especially for someone who doesn’t speak the language of the country. I played there two weeks ago on a Sunday. It was so beautiful!

I find it quite interesting how you document your travels through YouTube travel logs. How did this idea develop? How do you construct the videos? Do you shoot them yourself?
It started with a friend, who had an app he was using for his own travel logs, recoding me. I really liked the idea and the app as well. It automatically records 2 second clips so it is quite easy to put together. You can’t really edit it too in depth. All you can do is delete the last frame.

I either record or have someone else do it, so I am not the only one with a perspective. Then, I put music over it, which also comes from the app.

It is quite funny because the app is originally from Honda, used to promote one of their cars. Recently, I have started to take this to the next level, so now I am exporting the images to iMovie and putting extra music on top. I feel like I am starting to become a video editor…on a very low level!

So, do you see yourself continuing with this?
A lot of people enjoy it because it captures many personal moments. You give an impression of touring life. I am sure it is interesting to some people to see aspects of the touring life behind the big stages.

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