Danny Tenaglia: 30 Years Under 130

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Now with the ever-growing popularity of Deep House and Techno artists taking to the main-stage, would you say there is still a huge gap between the genres of dance music? I’ve seen some of the more mainstream artists such as Tiesto and Kaskade playing Deep House now and Disclosure and Duke Dumont now getting airplay on FM stations here in the U.S.

Well you know I think for someone like myself who is really been there since the early stages of all of this pre-disco, I have a totally different feeling of what Deep House is.  I think the fact that if Tiesto and Kaskade are not playing their usual epic type, anthem trancy, very progressivey type, vocally alternative what have you and they are playing a funkier set – then right away it is considered as deep because it’s deeper than what they are used to playing. To me it’s not necessarily gospel deep, so that’s where my roots lie in Deep House, its roots are solos and piano and true musicians that were trained in Jazz and Classical. However, I still welcome it, I like the idea that even in Techno – like in the rave generation and post rave – Techno and the ones that might say that’s not Techno because in their minds and their hearts Techno is usually really very fast and aggressive and sometimes obnoxious – tracks that just sound like they are looping or drilling you – but the techno of today is more soulful. Techno has come down in its tempo and the patterns are a lot more swinging as opposed to that steady four on the floor, 16 note, just driving and drilling you.

I think a lot of the DJs and producers that were making this music back then and are still in the game – these guys are still killing it with techno but doing it in a modern way where it is appealing to guys like myself. Back then there was no way I was playing a 140 BPM Techno record but maybe back 15 years ago I would buy a lot of these compilations and find tracks, pitch them down, do edits. Now the records that are being made today are already sounding like that so I don’t have to do that type of work for them to sound appealing to the crowd I was playing for. I was mentioning a little while ago Cari Lekebusch, Timo Maas, Adam Beyer, Chris Liebing that would just be pioneers to me and they are still in the game – they are still making records but now they make them not as fast and a little bit funkier and a little bit more swinging. I think it’s amazing – so there is a market for everybody.

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It has been 6 years since you released your last compilation, how long was this in the making and how did you go about the selection process for tracks and artists?

Over the years I was a resident DJ for many years but especially since 95 or 96 when this all started for me back again in New York at Roxy and Twilo. It was in Twilo I did my first Global Underground CD and 2 years later I was at The Tunnel and that’s when I did my 2nd Global Underground CD as well as doing my solo EP “Tourism” and then I went on to Vinyl. When I was at Vinyl I did a “Back to Basics” compilation, “Back to Mind” compilation. It’s really only “Futurism” back in 2008 that was post my residency mentality and that particular CD was when I started to feel like I was going to express myself though a different kind of journey. What I’m trying to say is that the residency thing was me doing these long sets and I was trying to show people how I can take them on a journey from Deep House and tribal-ish introductions all the way through to progressive and maybe even touching on trance here and there. That brought me home with something more of the closure to the CD.

When I did “Futurism” this was now me feeling more minimal, tech-ish, but similar in the journey sense where I needed to pick up the energy. I found myself moving away from my roots in house with vocals and a certain sense of deepness, even though the tempo could of started at 120, it was Deep Tech, it wasn’t Deep House. Now with Balance – several years later – I think what it was doing was a similar thing – embracing where I  am in the future, not getting stuck in my past and being reflective of Berghain and Panorama Bar and Output Club here in New York. As long as I’ve had my many other travels whether it be Stereo Montreal, Winter Music Conference, or Ibiza – I think that if a club hires me and they want me to play for 6-8 hours, they know that I’m going to have to give that journey and I’m not going to stay on Techno for that many hours. I know that they want for me to go into that classic sound of mind of the past and take it home with a Deep House classic kind of New York, New Jersey, Chicago vibe.

When you are doing a 2 hour CD, it’s impossible to bring the essence of that marathon set. I didn’t want to confuse the people by doing a techy Techno CD and then dropping some vocals – that would make no sense in the middle of the CD so I just eliminated that –  I didn’t want people to think that I don’t love that anymore and that I don’t play that anymore. I just felt like I’m still doing this, I ain’t going to stop, I’m never going to stop and maybe the next CD I do I will be more reflective of just Panorama Bar where its only old school and a lot of personal edits and remixes that I don’t give away.

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