tINI on DJ Gender Divide: "The House Scene Is Not Defined by Gender, Everyone Is Welcome"

​Miami, meet tINI.

Who is she? Only one of the transtlantic tech-house scene's most accomplished female DJ-producers.

It helps that she's a card-carrying member of Loco Dice's beloved Desolat family, which means regular headlining slots at EDM hostpots from her native Berlin to Ibiza. Then there's the matter of her acclaimed production work -- 2011's auspicious debut album Tessa, a slice of groovy moody Balearic techno goodness.

But you already knew if you're an underground techno head and regular at Space's Techno Loft. Catch tINI there on Saturday with Argentinian tech-house sensation and Desolat labelmate Guti.

Crossfade: When did you first get drawn to electronic dance music? And when did you begin DJing/producing?

tINI: I was 14 years old. My older brother had turntables and he allowed me to play with his records. Later on, I started buying my own few records and went from hip hop and rap to electronic music. I also graduated as a media designer for audio and video and I've been into tech stuff since I can remember. So for me the step towards solo productions was really natural. I am still learning by doing. I am looking forward to getting more analog equipment and exploring sound.

How did you first hook up with Loco Dice and Desolat and how did joining the label's collective impact you professionally?

We'd met in Munich and played several times together. I think that Dice liked my music and approach on DJing. We stayed in touch and actually my first track "That's Right" was released on Desolat. It was a big thing for me and it gave me confidence that I'm on the right way -- that my music is not only my private autistic affair, but there are people out there who really like it.

2011 saw the release of your debut album Tessa. What can you tell us about the creative process behind the album?

Most of the music was produced and recorded in Ibiza. I lived there during the summer in 2010, had my residency at Ushuaia, but in general I was disconnected from the party mess. The nature of the island is incredible: light, air, water. It made me slow down, take a deep breath and experiment with moods, sounds, structures. I used every spare minute with my instruments in the small studio in my house there. Some tracks were already completed on the island and the others, drafts, I took back to Berlin and finished them there in my proper studio.

What was the concept behind using field recordings of people's voices on the album?

I am not a big fan of the standard voices you might find on some sampling CDs. Also, I don't really think a professional singer would have fit my sound. I love the human touch in this digital age. Also, it's kind of a diary, 'cause all these talking or random singing moments just happened and were never planned to end up in my music.

Why did you decide to release a long player in this age of digital downloads and short attention spans? Do you feel there is an advantage to releasing a house/techno LP these days?  

The music released on Tessa is a collection of tracks that I made during a certain period of my life. I produced "Fail Better" already in late 2009, just refurbished it on the island. Those tracks somehow belong together. There is not an obvious hit/club banger there. It's a very personal yet danceable collection of music. I sent it to Loco Dice and Martin Buttrich, and they obviously liked it! Also, an album is something really special. There is so much more behind it than behind a single dancefloor track.

What are your favorite things and least favorite things about the Ibiza scene?

My favorite thing about the scene in Ibiza is that you meet people and DJs from all over the world! A great mixture of different sounds and characters. A big dislike is definitely the growing prices -- entrance, drinks, rent -- and the overtaking of police and government who try to 'get rid of the ravers'. Everything gets more and more controlled and organized. Maybe too organized for Ibiza. I remember my first visit at DC10, when it was still an open-air dancefloor!

Did you find it challenging as a woman to get ahead in the male-dominated EDM scene? Do you think women are on their way to making a bigger impact?

I don't see myself as a woman in a male dominated EDM scene. Sure, it's obvious that the majority of people involved are men, but this has so many reasons... EDM requires certain affinity for technology. And although we live in a technical world, most girls still play with dolls in pink kids rooms, while boys get computers and video games. It's a complex topic, but I don't see it as a problem. The house scene is not defined by gender and everyone is welcome. Neither is the knitting scene, which is female-dominated, I guess.

What have been the highlights of your tour with Guti so far? Any crazy travel anecdotes?

Besides some rainstorms, lost (and found) passports and bags, we have a lot of fun travelling together as you can imagine. But for some really crazy stories you might have to wait until the end of our tour!

What do you have planned for 2012? Any forthcoming projects or releases?

There will be Tessa remixed release on Desolat with a few fine remixes from my album tracks! And I have a EP coming out on Marc Antona's label Dissonant called Shmooh's Raisin Theory with two great remixes! I am about to finish a remix for my DJ friend Anthea, and there are several new tracks of mine on hold ... So be prepared!

tINI and Guti with Murizio Ruggiero and Dsan Powell. Saturday, January 14. Space, 34 NE 11th St., Miami. The party starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $20 to $30 plus fees via Call 305-372-9378 or visit

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Sean Levisman