“I was definitely relieved and I was also nervous!” says Tensnake, reflecting on the release of his debut album, ‘Glow’. Having attracted a loyal fan-base with his 2010 smash ‘Coma Cat’, not to mention the string of quality house and disco productions which followed, there was always going to be a weight of expectation behind his first full length release. Predictably, he needn’t have worried, as ‘Glow’ cemented Tensnake (real name Marco Niemerski) as one of dance music’s most accomplished producers.
Delivered over 16 tracks, it showcased the full spectrum of Marco’s sound, from gleaming pop gems to seductive soul and upbeat disco, exemplifying his skill for songwriting as well as producing club-ready jams. But roughly a year since its release and countless shows later, Marco is excited to get back in studio: “Last year I spent 11 months on tour and played a lot of gigs to promote the album; I didn’t have the time or energy to work on music at all” he tells us. “As 'Glow' was an adventure in terms of producing a vocal driven pop album, (my next) release feels a little bit like coming home to me - literally.”
Describing his forthcoming music as having a “late 80s/90s retro feel”, and with a hugely successful album under his belt, we get the feeling the producer is keen to have some fun. In the meantime, he’s got a date at Love Action Festival this weekend in Glasgow, where he plays alongside the likes of Hot Since 82, Ben Pearce and Jasper James. Armed with his new productions, we can’t think of a better time to try them out.
Check out Tensnake’s recent ‘True Romance’ mixtape below, as well as an interview in which we talk more about the impact of ‘Glow’, getting back in the studio and how the way he DJs has changed:
SG: It’s been a year since you released your debut album ‘Glow’, receiving a really positive reaction; did you feel a sense of relief when it was finally finished and were you nervous about what the response would be?
Tensnake: I was definitely relieved and I was also nervous! Releasing on a major label like Virgin has its advantages and it was great to see the impact ‘Glow’ had both in America and in the UK - and also on iTunes of course, where I won the iTunes Dance album of the year. People are still sending me messages saying it was their favourite album of last year, which is amazing and makes me very happy.
SG: You collaborated with Nile Rodgers on the album which must have been an incredible experience. Was there anything about the way he worked which really inspired you – in the studio or personally?
Tensnake: He enters the studio – and most social situations – with no ego; he is just super-friendly, which is so great to be around. Although we worked in the studio remotely on ‘Love Sublime’ and ‘Good Enough To Keep’, we did shoot the cover of Mixmag together. He’s very inspiring and has the best stories as he worked with so many legends in the past, plus he never stops working at all.
SG: You’ve had a few select releases since, with album singles and remixes; were you keen to get back in the studio quickly and work on material unrelated to the album?
Tensnake: Yes, definitely. Producing and getting creative in the studio is what I love the most. Last year I spent 11 months on tour and played a lot of gigs to promote the album; I didn't have the time or energy to work on music at all. But finally I just got back into the studio and I have finished two new tracks, which will be coming at the end of May/start of June on my own label, True Romance. More details to follow on those shortly!
SG: One of our favourite Tensnake tracks is the 110bpm ‘Holding Back (My Love)’ and we really enjoyed the downtempo tracks on ‘Glow’; what do you enjoy about working at slower tempos and how does it influence your sound?
Tensnake: Thank you! Well, slower tracks have the benefit of letting the music breath and groove much more. You can also put more detail into the music, which hardly gets recognised if a song is too fast - it totally depends on the production of course. I also like faster stuff…I hardly get to play my slower tracks as they are simply too slow for most floors I am playing on these days; but sometimes I play a daytime party or a set on the beach where it totally makes sense.
SG: You’re joining us here in Glasgow for the Love Action Festival this weekend; how do you approach your set at the moment?
Tensnake: I think the way I play has definitely changed over the last few years. While I enjoy playing a good mix of house/disco infused tracks and also some more tech-house tracks, I think my own productions still get the best reactions. I think this is normal. People just come to see you and if you drop your own stuff from time to time it makes everyone smile - especially if I manage to bring a singer. I just played ‘Love Sublime’ with Fiora on the vocals at Avalon in Los Angeles last night and people really loved it.
SG: We talked about your forthcoming release scheduled for early summer; can you tell us about the type of sound we should be expecting and what’s been exciting you recently?
Tensnake: I’m very excited about this release. As 'Glow' was an adventure in terms of producing a vocal driven pop album, this release feels a little bit like coming home to me - literally. Like I mentioned before, I spent a lot of time on the road last year and managed to take some time off earlier this year to work on new music. I think both tracks sound a little bit like the earlier Tensnake - lot’s of late 80s/90s retro feel of which I am a big fan.
Tensnake plays alongside Hot Since 82, Patrick Topping and more at Love Action at The Arches this Sunday. Tickets are available in advance from The Arches website. Tensnake’s album ‘Glow’ is available now via Virgin Records.