Meet Tensnake: Beat Maker, Booty Shaker [Updated]

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Photo by Dan Reed

Coming straight outta Hamburg (Germany,) Marco “Tensnake” Niemerski is dance music’s man of the moment.

With Tensnake, an it-producer tag makes sense. He’s got the underground cred (thanks to original productions and remixes,) pop radio play in England, and now a big-label double-CD compilation. Tensnake’s no joke.

However, we all know how this works. Winds of favor will soon blow in another beat-maker’s direction. Though, in this case, I get the feeling that Tensnake’s not going to disappear.

This Saturday, Tensnake will be playing a live set at the monthly clubnight that’s on the lips of many -- A Club Called Rhonda at El Cid in Silver Lake. In the middle of his first US tour, this weekend's gig will also be his first in Los Angeles. “I’m excited,” Tensnake told LAist. “I can’t wait to see what the City Of Angels has to offer, and I can’t wait to visit all these places that I’ve only read about or seen in the movies!”

The Snake is excited. LAist is excited. And let’s not forget Rhonda.

“We've been trying to bring him out here since December,” says Rhonda’s Alexis Rivera. “We're very excited that Rhonda will be his LA premiere. He has an open quality to his music, it's very loose, and I know the Rhondites will go nuts for him."

LAist had a chance to talk to Tensnake (Twitter) about that which goes boom-boom-boom in the night. His In The House compilation is out now on Defected.

Update: Due to visa issues, Tensnake won't be able to play A Club Called Rhonda. A new date remains TBC. Tensnake, however, would like you to enjoy a new twenty minute DJ mix.

Update 11.12.10: Tensnake has been rescheduled for A Club Called Rhonda at El Cid on Saturday November 27.

Updated 11.18.10: The 11.27 date is OFF.

LAist: How much fun are you having right now?

Tensnake: A lot! It’s been a good year and my career is in a great place. There has been so much good stuff this year, from Ibiza to The Garden festival in Croatia, the reaction to remixes and of course “Coma Cat.” I am still surprised how good everything went lately and can just encourage people to make music and express themselves in a creative way. If people are telling you “don’t do music, you cant make a living of it” -- don’t listen to them. Do it anyway.

Here’s one you’re probably getting all the time... what does “Tensnake” mean?

It doesn’t mean anything! It was a random word creation and I was searching for something unique -- something people could easily remember, something that sounds odd and great at the same time.

What sort of esteem do you get from being asked to do a compilation for lauded dance music record label Defected?

Well, I was very happy to do it. It was great to have access to the Defected and Strictly Rhythm catalogues while also making sure that it still sounded like me. It’s a win-win -- I had freedom of choice and Defected got a mix that’s different to anything else they’ve put out this year. I was also really surprised by all the great feedback. So yes, I think everybody is happy with it.

Describe the sound of your DJ sets.
 
Although "In The House" is a DJ mix that I'm proud of, I wouldn't say that I'm a professional DJ like so many others out there. I want to make music and perform but the DJing is more a hobby -- the success of the Resident Advisor mix caught me by surprise and while I do enjoy doing mixes, it's not often that you'll see me DJ. Certainly not in a club. The last time I DJed was at a This Is Music/More Music party with Simian Mobile Disco at a villa in Ibiza. Very special occasions only!

Tensnake RA 187 - Resident Advisor Podcast // 12-28-2009 by Tensnake

Your music shows a lot of retro influence. What was a better decade for dance music: the ‘80s or ‘90s? 

I think both decades where very important for dance music. I like the ‘80s for it’s visionary output. People were experimenting with dance music, there were no rules, while the ‘90s were a more stripped down decade of ‘80s dance music -- stripped down in terms of the way club tracks were produced. It was a dryer sound, rougher, house & techno became huge. I would say the ‘80s built the base for the success of ‘90s club & dance music.

How does that differ from your new mix compilation?
 
I think the ITH compilation sums up my idea of a great club night. A little bit of everything, put together in an eclectic mix. At least I hope I it is. I was not thinking about compiling a time document of club music. More a timeless document of club music. It is not supposed to be a retro or fashion compilation.
 
More important: lighting blogs ablaze or moving dancefloors?
 
The most important: be happy and true with what you are doing. I am very happy if blogs pick up and spread my music and I even get a bigger kick from people bouncing on dancefloors to my music, but it think it also important to get distracted too much by other peoples opinions. The new media, including blogs, is very fast moving. There are new hypes everyday. I think slow but steady is healthier sometimes.

I get the feeling that you take music very seriously, but you don’t take yourself very seriously.  True? 

That’s quite true but not always. I can be silly but I can also be serious. Sometimes it helps to be silly in a serious situation and sometimes vice-versa. But I do take my music seriously: I’m kind of a perfectionist and have high expectations of myself so if it’s not good, it doesn’t see the light of day.
 
Though you're not a traditional DJ, you're a music lover. What are five tunes you keep close.

Chemise “She Can’t Love You”
Rhythm Is Rhythm “Strings Of Life”
Joe Smooth “Promised Land”
Metro Area “Miura”
Loose Joints “Tell You”
 
What’s coming for Tensnake in 2011?
 
There will be a live album first and then an artist album later in the year. I’m excited to see what happens in 2011 -- my debut album has been a long time coming. Watch this space!

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Follow Caleb Bacon on Twitter @thecalebbacon.