Well, if you look close enough, you'll still find there are acts worth discovering. Just let us introduce you to Tensnake, a German DJ-producer who's set to make his Miami debut next week.
He's not exactly new, but he's still far from being a household name -- which is a damn shame!
Born Marco Niemerski, this man has been releasing music under the name Tensnake since 2006. His breakthrough came with "Around the House," a track that's equal parts minimal and funky.
Newer material, like 2011's "Need Your Lovin'" has him squarely in nu-disco territory, which means you should expect a thorough dance workout if you hear him spin during WMC and MMW. But if you really need to be reminded who Tensnake is, listen to "Coma Cat" for that aha! moment. Last year, the track was on every Miami DJ's setlist.
Recently, we talked to Miemerski about his Miami getaway, EDM's influence on pop music, and how he manages to keep his sound silky smooth despite the dubstep racket.
New Times: First, why the name "Tensnake"?
Tensnake: You know what, it doesn't mean anything. It was a random word creation and now it's something people remember. I was searching for something unique -- for example, in Google, you immediately find me. I seem to remember seeing the words written on my desk. And it looked good, iconic even. So it stuck.
You'll be performing live at Gavanna in Miami during Winter Music Conference. What does a Tensnake live set consist of?
It's an hour-long Ableton live set -- and I'll also be joined by the amazing Jeremy Glenn for our first live vocal performance together and that's the first time we'll have done this so I'm very, very excited. And a little nervous. We'll be performing my new single, as well as another track we've been working on this past month. Come along and hear it for yourself.
You'll also be perform at Ultra Music Festival under the Annie Mac presents... flag. How did that come about?
Annie [picked] us. She's been incredibly supportive. From "Coma Cat" onward, she's always played my productions on Radio 1. She's put Tensnake tracks on both of her compilations for Island also, so I'm delighted to have been asked to play at Ultra. It will be my first time at Ultra and in Miami for conference.
Is this your first appearance at Winter Music Conference? What are you looking forward to?
Yes indeed. I'm looking forward to everything, except the lack of sleep. I can't wait to start things rolling -- I have a sort of mini US tour going, with New York on Sunday for Fixed and then a show in LA the week after conference. Somewhere in between, I think will be a big blur.
Tensnake's Winter Music Conference, Miami Music Week, and Ultra Music Festival Schedule
Ultra Music Festival. Saturday, March 24. Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami. Tickets are sold out. Visit ultramusicfestival.com.
Giant Throbbin' Electric Pickle Invades Miami. With Benoit & Sergio, Crazy P Soundsystem, Tiger & Woods, Guy Gerber, and more. Sunday, March 25. Electric Pickle, 2826 N Miami Avenue, Miami. Tickets $40 via residentadvisor.net. Visit electricpicklemiami.com.
What I really enjoy about your music is how polished it sounds, which seems to be a rarity these days in dance music. How do you approach making music? Do you approach remixing differently?
I am a big fan of '80s boogie and pop productions. Technically it was a very exciting time. You had all the goodness of analogue gear combined with first digital equipment (thinking of FM synths and digital EFX units). While today's pop or club music is more about the loudness and "banging" effect I think back then engineers or producers paid more attention to each musical element. Every little sound had its own space sitting right in the mix. I try to do the same when producing, but I am still very far away from being good at it. I get asked to do a lot of remixes but only take on tracks that I can really do something special with. Little Dragon, Azari & III, Friendly Fires: these are songs I really liked by artists I admire and so I took on remixes by all of them. But now I need to finish my album.
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What do you think of the current wave of EDM influence infiltrating pop music?
I don't think it is really a new thing. There were always dance music elements in pop music. But I think it's here to stay, at least for now. Everyone in hip-hop and R&B wants a dance track -- look at Busta Rhymes, Diplo and Tiësto last year and Usher with David Guetta and Diplo in 2012. I love great pop music, but some of it isn't that great to me.
I hear a lot of influence in your sound from krautrock to disco. What artists have influenced your sound?
The list is endless but a lot from the '80s and early '90s. Which decade is better? Every decade is good but for now, the '90s have come back into focus. I grew up listening to all sorts of music, pop, disco, hip-hop, new wave and even a bit of metal. Looking back I would say that the more disco/boogie like stuff has influenced me the most. Maybe because it is related to my first musical memories.