Tensnake: The joy is back

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It should come as no surprise that summer keeps Tensnake busy. The Hamburg producer makes music for the sunshine, from the ecstatic rush of Coma Cat to his recent slice of ‘90s house heaven Something About You. The velvety warmth is also there in his remixes for the likes of Little Dragon, Goldfrapp and Aloe Blacc, and it’s what makes his live show so magnetic.

While the weather in Europe isn’t keeping its end of the bargain, at least Tensnake can look forward to spring-time in Australia on the 2011 Parklife tour. We speak to the good-time guy about his unabiding love of pop and why vocals have his heart.

Where have we found you today?
It’s ten o’clock in the morning in Hamburg, on the other side of the planet. The summer is really bad this year in Europe, so literally every festival I’ve played so far has been muddy and wet. But that doesn’t keep people from dancing.

The feeling of playing to a festival field must be very different from an intimate club…
A festival is more about the experience and the audience is mixed, so you have to play a different, broader set. I like playing festivals now, because people are really happy for me to play my own songs, even if you think they’ve heard them too many times.

Does all this travelling mean you haven’t got much time for the studio right now?
Yes, that’s it. Unfortunately most of the time I’m travelling every weekend. At the moment I’m renovating my house and rebuilding my studio, so there’s not much time for producing. After my Australia tour, I’m going to lock myself in the studio and finally start working on my album.

What’s the plan for your new-and-improved studio?
For the first time, I’m really planning to have proper acoustic improvements in the studio and a bit more professional. It has been the size of a bedroom studio and pretty chaotic, so I’m looking forward to a bit more tidiness around me maybe.

So, are you going into this album with a clean slate? Or are there already songs in development?
The plan is really to start from scratch. Also, maybe leave a little bit the club sound and go towards pop music a bit more. And to work with singers as well. That’s another reason I need a clean studio, to make people comfortable in there.

For those who didn’t catch you over New Year’s, can you give us a rundown of your live show?
It’s built up like a DJ set. I’ve got a classic laptop set-up and Ableton Live with a controller. I play mainly my own productions and remixes, but I also throw in some edits of tracks from producers I like. It’s like a hybrid of live, instant remixes and DJ set.

I’ve spoken to artists before who’ve struggled with the restrictions of a live set; is that something you identity with?
I have to say, I feel it’s more restrictive when I play in clubs. Depending on who played before me, the audience might expect something different, and you feel really restricted. You just wish you could pick out a crowd-pleaser record, which of course I can’t. Festivals are different. There are so many different stages, so people come to hear your sound. You’re right though, I feel sometimes I’d like to have the freedom of a pure DJ set.

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