Danny Tenaglia talks AIM Festival, New York Clubs, and Being Yourself

There’s two things you will need to know about Danny Tenaglia: He’s a living legend of the New York scene, and he will be the nicest person you will ever talk to.

We had the opportunity to have a lengthy conversation with the artist as he prepares to headline the Montreal’s AIM Electronic Music Festival July 12-14th. A 3-day festival that takes place on campgrounds that will have some of the best techno and house acts in circulations.

Accompanying Danny this year will be the likes of ANNA, John Digweed, Pig&Dan, and the Desert Hearts Crew. Danny is scheduled to close out Saturday with a 4-hour house set on the main stage.


Danny Tenaglia is a walking encyclopedia with the entire history of the New York Club scene inside of it. Starting in the early ’80s at the age of 16, Danny’s trajectory of success is in large part due to not only his love of music, but of the scene overall too.

When we were speaking to him, we got a glimpse of how passionate he was about his roots as well as his ambitions. Multiple times, the interview would just steer off into a deeper conversation about music. It felt less of an interview and more of an enjoyable conversation. Here are some of the things we were able to talk about.

You are an award-winning producer, Grammy nominated, and a profoundly respected artist, at what point in your career did your success start to shock you?

I don’t think it ever shocked me as it all happened gradually over 3 (now 4) decades and I’ve definitely been humbled by it all. I’ve received many awards since the 80’s. Several were from DanceStar including Lifetime Achievement. DJ Magazine inducted me as the first DJ into their new Hall Of Fame category several years back, many are from The Winter Music Conference and the after The Pacha Ibiza Awards was when it probably all started to affect me and come to a realization of sorts when I started to win awards in Ibiza, most noticeably when I was given “The DJ’s DJ” award back in 2000. This meant more to me than any Grammy nomination because to me I’m much more of a DJ than a remixer, or a record producer, since that is how I started as a very young teen. Being a DJ will always be my first love.

What were your first few steps in your DJing career?

Well, I was probably about 12 when I discovered there was a new artform of entertaining with continuous non stop music by using 2 turntables and a mixer. I always knew of DJ’s being Disc-Jockeys on the radio, but this was a new nightclub thing basically replacing a live act and I was pretty fascinated by it all. The dance floor, the sound, the lights and DJ booths. It was 1976 when I got my first residency in a bar in Williamsburg, I was barely 18. After that I worked at a Roller Disco in Greenpoint 5 days a week from 1990-1983. However, it wasn’t until In 1985 that I jumped on an opportunity to work at a club in Miami 3-4 nights a week. I stayed out there for 5 years. I missed the very first Winter Music Conference, but for the following 33 years I participated every single year. It was there between 85-90 where I started getting recognized and written about in the old school way of social media, which was Billboard magazineDance Music Mags, DJ magazine and other foreign ones. I started getting a lot of attention through that media. In 1988, I went into a studio and made my first record which quickly got signed to Atlantic Records. So between Miami gigs, the WMC and remixes, this kind of put me on the map in a big way and I started to get hired to do several remixes for major labels. By 1990, I knew it was time to come back to New York because this is where everything was mainly with the various recording studios and a big dance music scene. I had already known just about everyone in the business and I knew this was where I need to be if I wanted to pursue being a producer and remixer as well as future DJ gigs.

You’ve been back and forth between Miami and New York multiple times in your career.

I still have a place out there. I got a condo back in 2004 and I use it as my winter escape. New York is and will always be home base for me. Miami is the getaway. Although, I am considering selling and finding a nice home in NJ, but I will always be a true snowbird and head south every winter to escape the frigid temps, even if I have to Air BnB.  Winters are feeling longer and colder each year.

What’s something that Danny Tenaglia would like to see more of in the industry? Is there something he feels like there’s lacking of?

Everything is 100% different these days. My job was always to make people dance, to keep the dance floor full. If you failed or if you started to see people leave the dance floor, you played something else to get them back on. That’s not the case these days.
You know, what is somebody gonna say? “They’re not fist pumping?” or “They’re not holding up their camera phones?”  They’re not leaving the floor to go to the bar and wait for a better song to come on.
DJ gigs are basically a form of concerts now. We are on big stages and platforms now, plus it’s a whole different ballgame and a different attitude as far as entertainment goes with us DJ’s selling tickets.
Even musically, every DJ sounds different from each other. We’re all pretty much playing music that the other guy’s are not playing, and music that the people on the dance floors very likely never heard before, but if it’s relative enough within genres then the crowd participation is pretty much mutual with how they respond to the build ups and the break downs. Back in the heydays, we all couldn’t wait to get our hands on many of the same records being released. We would go weekly to the record pools and record labels and the various shops hunting for new songs, promos, extended versions and dubs.
You know what is definitely missing in a large way? It is the actual art-form of dancing and freely expressing yourself. I think it says a lot about this new generation that many people feel uptight about looking silly. But then again, we didn’t have to worry about people filming us and posting it on social media to shame us. Sad but true. I remember back in the days how one song could come on that everyone was in-sync and united over, and all of the sudden the dance floor is packed like Bamm! That use to happen a lot, especially at The Garage but pretty much everywhere. You would hear the very intro of the song and them Boom! People would say  “Oh my god! I was just about to take a break but that’s my song.” That level of excitement over a song or track is missing. Sweating was expected.

 

New York music scene has grown out of Manhattan and devoured Brooklyn. As a Staple in New York, how do you feel about the change?

There is something very surreal about it. Looking back, I have been a part of so many of NY’s iconic venues and it truly makes being a successful DJ so much more meaningful to me, but it’s definitely quite surreal. These days, when we drive through Manhattan and pass some of these venues and we say wow, this is where Twilo was, or this is where Paradise Garage was, The Loft, The Saint, Vinyl, Arc, Funhouse, Roxy, Cielo, Sound Factory Bar, Pacha, Crobar, Spirit, Tunnel, Limelight, Palladium, Studio 54, Better Days and so many, many more I could name. Now, they are no longer there, now the new clubs are in my backyard in Bushwick and Williamsburg, right where I was born and raised. But, many will come and go, and most will never be able to compare to some of Manhattan’s best.
What really seemed was the most strange to me was when I started playing Output because Output was only like 6 blocks away from the first bar I ever worked at back in 1976. It feels good at the same time, that I have this amazing history growing up in Brooklyn and learning from the best of best since the early 70’s, but there’s a great sadness about it too because the way it makes me reminisce and wonder what it would be like today if all of these amazing venues were still open? I’d be satisfied with half, but I also left out a whole bunch. Maybe our next interview. Hehe

Do you have any advice for producers/artists starting in New York?

The number one thing I tell people, is how important it is to make music. That’s your business card. That’s what’s going to get you attention. That’s what’s going to get your name around the world once it gets on a record label and Beatport, or Itunes, whatever it maybe.

That’s when an agency is going to find interest in you. Any DJ can go to an agency say “can you get me bookings?” and they’ll say “Well what do you have?” You can’t just put a mix on Soundcloud, you can’t hand out flash drive keys with your latest set. You have to make music. Luckily, it’s more affordable than ever to make own little home studio. It’s easier than ever to make your own track with all the plug-ins that basically throw all the familiar sounds out to you.

My other advice is: Put the phone down. Enough with the social media. FOCUS. Make some music, pay attention. If you party, separate that. Those are the things that will set you back. There are now thousands and thousands of other DJs that are now doing that. Time to prove yourself!

What’s the best thing about the music scene like out in Montreal?

I’ve always said this, it’s my favorite place to play. Especially the club Stereo. The people who come to Stereo seem to equally love what I might play at the beginning of the night, Techno middle of the night, Tribal, closing with classics. You don’t get that love everywhere; that appreciation. It’s really rare you play from the heart and it’s open-minded to it all.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

I pray. Plain and simple. I’ve always had my moments and I’m giving thanks. It’s a very personal thing for me.

You’re going to be Headlining the AIM Festival on Saturday at the Monolithes stage with a 4-hour house set. What is the significance of house music when it comes to Danny Tenaglia?

It’s more of soulful feeling, more of a swinging house groove, more to be present. As opposed to the techno stuff, [like I won’t be sounding like] I’m going to pull out my Len Faki records and go that route. Probably be a lot of classics, personal edits, mashups and versions that I’ve done that are exclusive to myself. Not go back to a disco era, but definitely a house vibe.

You’ve been expressing this phrase “Be yourself” for quite some time now. Although the message is obvious, why are you so adamant about getting it out to the rave community?

The song was originally written by Celeda who sings it. She was always a big fan of Sylvester (American Singer known for his hit disco singles in the late 1970s and 1980s) and I was a big fan of Sylvester from day one too. I totally understood where she was coming from with that “Be Yourself”, whether it’s gay, straight, transgender and just accept one another.

I have to be careful with my answers because “Be Yourself” doesn’t mean that you can also be an asshole. But accept one another, by hair color, by tattoos, by ear piercings because we can get over opinionated sometimes. I’m just as guilty as that as well. When it comes to the dance floor, there’s this certainty that you can dance like no one’s watching, and you can “Be Yourself.”

We’re looking forward to your new release “Don’t Turn Your Back” can you tell us anything about it?

I started that song roughly about 6 years ago. I slowly kept developing it but never feeling like it was finished. Maybe because the first 3 years I didn’t even have vocals on it. Then I was in a studio one night and I decided to say “Don’t turn your back” and I did. That gave the song a whole new direction.

I started playing it out and it started getting a lot of attention. Social media hype and people asking “What song is that?” and “When is this coming out?” I finally approached Jamie Jones who asked me to be part of paradise and he said “Yes! I’d love to sign that track!” We were able to get remixes coming out from Carl Cox, Harry Romero, Mendo and I’m a huge fan of all three of them.

It was an absolute pleasure to speak to Danny Tenaglia. C

lick here If you want to see him at the Montreal AIM Electronic Music Festival

 

 

Indigo Spaceship fuses Techno & Ramen for LA debut on Black Friday

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As we get ready for what could be the heaviest Los Angeles Thanksgiving party series to date; one event that’s slurping under the radar is none other than Indigo Spaceship, a new concept involving Techno and Ramen. With the increased popularity of this traditional Japanese dish in LA, the organizers are fusing the two things they love (Techno & Ramen) and bringing them together at an intimate warehouse location this Friday after Thanksgiving. Below is a special welcoming message from the Indigo Spaceship captain for all to join their official take-off.

“Join us in this new gathering on a spaceship in LA!

Indigo Spaceship’s mission is to approach the downtown warehouse movement a different way. Combining 2 of our favorite things, TECHNO & RAMEN! We will be offering elevated beverages in a comfortable indoor-outdoor space in the heart of downtown LA. Cocktails with cold pressed juice, coconut water, and ramen! We are offering a space for those who seek something more than a typical night out. We support local and international artist’s who all bring the vibe to the party that we’re looking for!!”

Abductions available.

“THIS ISNT RECREATONAL, THIS IS SACRED” – ISS 2016
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Kraftwerk Brings 3D Tour Back To The United States

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Some of our favorite resident robots (no offense to our beloved Daft Punk) will be returning to the states yet again. Given the success of last year’s 14-stop tour, Kraftwerk has just announced that they will be playing a second round of gigs in the United States.

The tour, which will visit nine cities, begins in North Bethesda, MD on September 3, continuing on to Atlanta, Memphis, New Orleans, Dallas, San Antonio, Phoenix, and San Diego, ultimately culminating on September 18 in Los Angeles. Tickets will be publicly available at 10:00 AM (local time) on April 29 (Friday) for all shows except Los Angeles, which will go on sale May 1 (also at 10:00 AM local time).

Scroll down to see all of the tour dates and to catch a video glimpse of what to expect.

 

Kraftwerk in Concert

Tour Dates:

9/3 North Bethesda, MD – The Music Center at Strathmore
9/6 Atlanta, GA – Cobb Energy Peforming Arts Centre
9/7 Memphis, TN – Minglewood Hall
9/9 New Orleans, LA – The Orpheum
9/10 Dallas, TX – Bomb Factory
9/12 San Antonio, TX – Tobin Center
9/15 Phoenix, AZ – Orpheum Theater
9/16 San Diego, CA – Balboa Theatre
9/18 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl

Fine Time x Acid Camp Techno Sunday With Seven Hour Set By Konstantin

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 11.31.01 AMSpring is in the air… As is the coming season of eagerly awaited techno events. This Easter Sunday a collaboration between Los Angeles promoters Fine Time and Acid Camp calls for an exclusive seven hour set with Giegling label co-founder Konstantin. The enigmatic German DJ is set for a stateside appearance, and it’s going to be a good one.  Read more

Four Tet, Ben UFO, and Andy Stott Take On Joshua Tree This Spring

four-tetFYF and Goldenvoice will bring the live sounds of Four Tet, Ben UFO, and Andy Stott to the picturesque California desert this spring. On May 7, the trio are set to play at Pappy and Harriet’s, an intimate outdoor venue located in Pioneertown on the outskirts of the famed Joshua Tree National Park. Read more

Black Lodge One Year Anniversary Invites Claude Young for Master Class and Extended Set

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 8.54.43 AMLos Angeles’s premier techno collective Black Lodge celebrates its one year anniversary on March 5 with special guest Claude Young, a name plucked straight from the roots of Detroit’s pioneering techno scene. Claude will play an extended set at Hyperion Tavern alongside Nomadico, and Black Lodge residents Force Placement and Kosmik. Read more

Surgeon To Play Debut Live Show As Anthony Child In Hollywood

surgeonAnthony Child, aka Surgeon, will be making a rare stateside appearance at the Masonic Lodge in the heart of Hollywood on March 4, his first debut live show alongside a band of prestigious names that have long left marks in the scene including Drew McDowall, Alessandro Cortini, Pete Swanson, and Greh Holger. The event will be hosted by local collective Mount Analog. Read more

DJ Nobu Plans LA Debut for Making Shapes

DJ NOBU

At the forefront of the Japanese techno movement you will find DJ Nobu. He emits  a signature style of deep, driving, hypnotic techno that has garnered the recognition of global establishments such as Dekmantel, The Bunker NY, and recently did the honor of a 10 hour closing set at Berghain. But to try and put his impact into words would almost be a disservice, making it that much more essential to see him in action.

Those in Los Angeles are in luck as Dj Nobu will be making his LA debut for the Making Shapes party on Friday March 11th. DJ Nobu’s inaugural West Coast appearance will undoubtedly be a pristine showing of techno, in an ideal atmosphere that Making Shapes curates so well. Complimenting the evening will be fellow selectors Jeniluv and Split Secs.

An RSVP is mandatory for this event with advance tickets available through Resident Advisor. 

Connect with DJ Nobu on Facebook / Twitter  

Connect with Making Shapes on Facebook / Official Website 

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Dekmantel To Host Winter/Spring 2016 Tour Across Five Continents

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.22.05 AMThe Amsterdam-based music company Dekmantel will embark on a winter and spring 2016 tour across five continents with 27 show dates. Dekmantel is a cutting-edge electronic music company known for being a well-established record label, promoting its festival brand that includes Dekmantel Festival (August 4 to 7) and the new Dekmantel Selectors in Croatia (September 1 to 5), and functioning as the select destination for underground music showcases. Read more

As You Like It and Public Works SF Invite Ben Klock and DVS1 to the West Coast

benklockNo stranger than fiction, As You Like It invites the boss of Klockworks himself Ben Klock to the West Coast for another round of quality techno. Zak Khutoretsky aka DVS1, who has put out releases on HUSH, Klockworks, and Transmat, is set to play alongside Ben at Public Works SF on April 1. Read more