DJ Spotlight: Tensnake Discusses His Undeniable ‘Glow’
It wasn’t until 2010 that German DJ-producer Tensnake smashed into the EDM charts and dance floors with his breakout hit “Coma Cat,” and though Tensnake (born Marco Niemerski) was a late bloomer, he bloomed fast thanks to his colorful crescendos and signature house style sound. But any great artist knows you must continually evolve in order to survive today’s revolving door pop culture politics, which is why Marco has looked to past musical influences to transcend beyond house and into new genre territories.
His debut album Glow, out March 11 on Astralwerks, features collaborations with a diverse collection of artists, including guitar legend Nile Rodgers, singer/songwriter Fiora and soul artist Jamie Lidell, who each provide their own unique talent and input to keep listeners engaged from track one to 15, rather than have them listen to the equivalent of a broken record. Marc provides his own input on the album in an exclusive interview with VIBE:
VIBE: Has your sound/music changed a lot since last year?
Tensnake: I would say it has definitely changed since my music now is more song related. Before, I was mainly releasing 12 inches and club tracks while now everything is more focused on album length. So now while I produce the music, I’m more focused on the song-writing aspect.
What was your inspiration to produce your new album Glow? What caused the ‘spark’?
The truth is I had an album done like three years ago, but my hard drive crashed and I lost everything. At the time it seemed like the end of world, but in hindsight I think it was really good because after the deep hole [of depression] I fell into, I decided to start from scratch. Very often you need that to start something new, and when I started working on the album Glow all I knew was that I wanted to create something that people would want to listen to from the beginning to the end. Very often you have two good singles and everything else is just filler, but with this album I tried to make sure listeners would be able to find something they liked with each track.
Will this album present a musical storyline throughout or is each track it’s own statement?
The main goal was to keep it interesting and not get bored by myself. I think diversity is the thing there and I tried to make every song sound different. You have everything from R&B to deep house to disco-pop. It’s a wild ride.
With this album, you brought in many collaborators including famous Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers. What was it like working with him?
He’s a very nice guy who’s very grounded. You don’t feel too nervous when you’re around him, though still it was crazy the first time I met him during dinner in Miami at a place called Joe’s Stone Crab. It was amazing – he’s a great storyteller as well. How he worked with Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder back then…blah, blah, blah, David Bowie… literally, I couldn’t eat.
What was your greatest challenge when producing this album?
The biggest challenge for me is always to keep motivated. I think every artist, or any creative person, knows that the process can be fun but also painful. The secret is to do it anyway, and go through it. Shut up, suck it up, do it.
What else do you have planned for the rest of the year?
A lot of touring. I originally wanted to put a band together to play onstage, but that was pretty naïve because when will I ever get Nile Rodgers, Jacques Lu Cont and Fiora on one stage? Plus, I can’t sing, so I think I’ll stick to DJing and come up with some remixes of the album for the clubs.
Are there any tour/festival destination spots you’re looking forward to visiting?
Definitely going to play SXSW this year, WMC in Miami, and I’m moving to Miami in March for a couple of months. So I’m looking forward to touring across the U.S. – everything is coming together nicely. I’m also playing at Brooklyn’s Output in March as well.
In honor of this winter season’s Polar Vortex and multitude of snow, what would say is your fondest snow day memory?
What I really like to remember is going on holiday with my parents by car and it would snow. For example, we were driving to France, and we were listening to music a lot while driving in the snow. As a kid, I hated it back then since these trips took so long but now it’s become one of my fondest memories.
Tensnake’s Glow is now streaming on iTunes Radio.
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