Tensnake: “People should listen to more good music!”
It’s probably ours too. We’ve chatted before about cohesiveness and the importance of an album coming together as one solitary listening experience. Was that difficult to achieve when working with such a variety of guest artists?
Not really. When I started the album I didn’t expect it to be so pop! So I wasn’t looking for singers in the beginning and funnily one of the first collaborations was Nile Rodgers because I heard through other people that he was reaching out to young producers and that was before ‘Get Lucky’ had come out which is funny because sometimes people are like “Right, he did ‘Get Lucky’ and then worked with Disclosure and then Avicii and now…” but that song happened very early in the process of making the album and of course when I was offered the chance to work with Nile Rodgers I was like “Fuck yeah I’ll do it!”.
It was only whilst producing the album and track by track that I thought actually this is going to be something quite different and turned out to be a pop album rather than a club album and for me a pop song is only complete when you have vocals on it. It makes a pop song complete and I can’t sing; I’ve tried it and it sounds awful! [Laughs] So I needed singers.
Bringing in so many singers did it feel more like a band project? We’re certainly starting to see a lot more projects that feel like bands with the rise of the likes of Disclosure and Rudimental. Is this where you think electronic music is heading?
Definitely. In the UK last year you started to see all these cool acts having crossover hits. It’s an interesting kind of fusion between pop and house which Disclosure do and they are super talented producers who are riding the current wave. Music is like waves, coming and going. That said I wouldn’t compare my album to Disclosure as it has way more references to a much more vintage sound and has less of an emphasis on beat processing.
In regards to seeing more band-like electronic productions it’s interesting as lots of club producers have become very famous for their work but if they want to leave the clubbing environment it can be difficult as most of us can’t sing so we need to work with other people. Whereas when you are a band it can be quite limiting I guess as you only have that one creative outlet. I think this is why a lot of people got sick of listening to a lot of crap bands that were trying to sell themselves as something cooler than they were. People would rather see a cool producer working with a vocalist they like than buy into this whole “we’re some super solid serious band”. Nobody buys that pretentious crap anymore in the music world. So I think we’ll be seeing lots of collaborations in 2014 but I just used it as a vehicle to get my ideas out as I can’t sing or play guitar! I needed the other people on the album to complete my idea.
That’s really interesting. Another question I wanted to ask you is why has it taken so long for you to enter the album format and on a major label no less! Were you worried they might try and influence your work at all?
Not at all. I was in a different situation as I finished the album before I got in touch with any label so I had no pressure or try an influence the creative process. To be honest the first people I sent it to were some of my favourite indie labels and they were a little bit confused by the new sound of Tensnake! The reaction was “it’s nice, we like it but how are we going to promote this? Do you want to be a DJ or a pop star?” and I was like “ I dunno, this is just what I did. Don’t you like it?” so they were all very confused which I didn’t expect.
So that left me with two possibilities: either put it out on my label or send it to the majors and I decided to send it to the majors and the response was great. I couldn’t be happier and I’m not just saying this, Virgin have been great and have such a good reputation as a label for crossing over electronic acts. So with the history of supporting electronic acts they have I’m honored to release on them and be part of a great team. I want to reach more people and introduce them to my music as I think it’s good music and people should listen to more good music! If I achieve that with the help of a major then great.
Today dance music, tomorrow the world! World domination aside can you tell us about your other plans for the rest of the year?
Well last time I spoke to you we spoke about my plans to put together a little live show and I realize now that was super naïve. It is impossible to get Fiora, Jamie Lidell, MNEK, Stuart and Nile Rodgers in the same place!
Could we not potentially see it once as a special event. Festival bookers make it happen!
Well I’ve just heard that maybe I’ll be playing Lovebox this year and maybe Chic are playing too and I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say anything but maybe something could potentially happen there but as of yet there are no concrete plans but I’m still hoping. Maybe we could get a stripped down version with a drummer and Fiora as I’m working with her at the moment on her album.
Sounds crazily problematic getting you all together.
It’s been crazy doing the promotion of this album as I didn’t expect it to be so stressful. I’m super excited but also nervous with the amount of pressure I have put on myself. I hope people like it! I’ll be playing lots of festivals this summer and then I’m planning to move to L.A next March mainly for the weather but also as it is where lots of cool things are happening musically so it’ll be a place where I can really immerse myself in the production side of things.
Cool. Before you go I wanted to ask if looking ahead we might see a remix version of the album come out in the future or see you release an EP of edits with more of a club orientation in mind?. We’re looking the Duke Dumont remix of ‘Love Sublime’ in the office…
Maybe! It will depend on how many singles we put out but the plan is not to commission lots of remixes just yet. In regards to Tensnake edits I think that’s a good idea! We’ve not got that in our plans just yet but potentially yes. Perhaps I should contact Tiger and Woods about that…