There’s been a consistent topic brewing recently in the international dance community – “The Romanian Sound”. While it may be easy to generalize the warm bubbly tech grooves by the artist’s origin, it certainly extends further into the realms of minimal, house, and techno, and even experimental electronic music.
One label that prides itself on this high quality sound is Tzinah Records. Starting in 2010 under the guidance of Primarie and Adrianho, the two Romanians set out to deliver and create their musical interpretations to the world. Both were involved with the A&R process when establishing the sound of the label, but Primarie continued to develop the brand and larger creative vision for what would become Tzinah Records. Both climbing the ranks as DJ’s in the Romanian scene, it was a natural progression to start making music, eventually leading to where they are today with Tzinah Records, one of the most respected minimal labels in Romania.
In speaking with Primarie, his enthusiasm and sincerity is clearly evident, which is the only necessary explanation needed when understanding how the label has come to fruition.
“The best part of being involved with this is meeting people that are in the same frequency with us – Meeting people that we follow and that we respect as artists and starting to work with these people…Tzinah really changed my life for the best” – Primarie (Founder of Tzinah Records)
In Tzinah Record’s six-year lifespan they’ve overseen a plethora of releases from their Tzinah Family, and have been supported by nearly every artist in the underground dance music community. The list is endless, just trust us on that one. Arguably more important than the support from A-List underground artists is the tight knit musical family Tzinah embodies. They believe strongly in what they do, and make every effort to be the best they can be, both for themselves and their label roster. It’s an ethos that will certainly carry Tzinah to great heights.
The co-founder of Tzinah Records, Adrianho, recently did the honors of recording a podcast for our Global Vibe Radio Series. In true Tzinah fashion, the mix is a cerebral blend of tech house and minimal that Tzinah has become so well known for.
In addition to a blissful mix from Adrianho, we caught up in great detail with Primarie about everything Tzinah – Truly a label with an uncompromising vision for electronic music and lifestyle.
Hello! Thank you very much for taking some time to talk with us. The topic…none other than Tzinah Records! When did Tzinah Records begin?
Hi there, I’m Primarie and I’m pleased to talk to you about this! Tzinah Records began releasing music in 2010, when Adrianho and I wanted to make something more for this scene. At that point we were DJ-ing and having events in Romania, but we felt we wanted to have something to leave behind. A record label was the best thing for us, as we wanted to get more involved in the production of music.
Where did you and Adrianho meet? Do you know what he was doing before Tzinah?
Six years ago I was living in South-East of Romania and him in North-West. We had a gig together and we kept in touch since then :)
Can you tell me about the name of the label? How did you settle on “Tzinah”?
Ok so this is the first time telling this story in an official interview :) We did not settle on Tzinah; Tzinah is what we had in our head as the best name for the record label. Let me explain why!
Tzinah is an invented name coming from the time when we as kids were playing Counter Strike, and most of the time we were playing it in an internet cafe. We had ten computers running on a LAN game, and we were making teams and playing really hard. In the gaming community shooting the other player in the head was a big thing for us and when we would do it we would scream “Cine mă?
In Romanian this means something like “Who killed you? I killed you!”. So this was our slogan when we would kill the other one with a headshot. Because we spent a lot of time in the internet cafe and a lot of time playing this game, actually a lot of nights, this word that we were screaming got to sound something like “Tzine mă…” and then it went straight to Tzinah. So basically if you also want a translation this would be ‘headshot’. This is what we followed from this word. We chose tracks that we think they hit you in the head, and they dissolve your mind :)
That’s actually a really funny and unexpected story! Growing up myself and friends would play Counter Strike and several other games as well! Glad to hear it was a global sensation haha
Who were some of the artists that helped launch the label?
As I said before, the idea came from me and Adrianho, but from the beginning I took care of all the vision and the work for the label. Adrianho took a step back at that time and concentrated on the production of music. I’m happy that he is now one of the best-sold and prolific artists from our label, and also a very good DJ in our booking agency.
Also he is an important voice when choosing what we release. All of the DJs from Tzinah Family booking agency are also doing some A&R work with us. It is the best filter to come out with the best tracks – if the track has to pass not just through one person/manager, but through more people that are DJs and playing them in the club environment they are getting real feedback from the crowd in front of them.
Is testing the track in the club the most important part of the A&R process for you guys? What do you look for in a Tzinah release?
I would say yes. We look for tracks with a specific sound of course but for us the melody matters a lot. We love to play and release distinctive sounds, not so much fine tools so to speak. We are looking for groovy and bouncy tracks that rise us to higher frequencies. We are not looking for low energy tracks (or artists) to show us their latest dub work. We are looking for happiness in the tracks we play and release and good vibes in general. And of course we look for tracks that are smart, developed, and that keep our meticulous mind busy and release our soul on the dancefloor. All in a very underground manner.
Tzinah Records really seems to be a family, and it shows in the music. Does Tzinah have a studio that you all like to work out of?
Tzinah is an independent label, people have to be reminded by that. Basically this is done mainly by one man…I mean the managerial work, at least. I’m very happy when you say that Tzinah seems like a family. Yes we believe a lot in the artists that are in “Tzinah Family” which is the name of our booking agency. And this can also be seen just in the releases of our label. Instead of going after names we started to release stuff involving our team. That’s why artists that are part of our family have priority on releasing or remixing and on getting their names out there. We also do a lot of promotion for them, we promote other releases from other labels, we promote every podcast and every news about them. We totally believe in our family.
I’m looking at the “About Tzinah” on the website, and see that Tzinah releases are in the playlists of almost every DJ on the club circuit. How did the label get to this point?
It’s almost six years of work man :) It’s not something that comes the next day, but I can say that we caught attention when we started to release exactly want, what we felt is the right music for us to play. Also when we stop looking at what other labels are doing and we just followed our vision. We made our vision around our core artists and we are keep developing it every day. So in this way we are not looking back, but forward all the time. By the way that list of DJs has not been updated over a year now… should we do it?
Maybe! It’s an endless list either way. The music speaks for itself when people will be asking ID? ID? ID? Haha What’s one of your favorite parts of being involved with the label?
I guess for us the best part of being involved with this is meeting people that are in the same frequency with us – Meeting people that we follow and that we respect as artists and starting to work with these people. Lastly, becoming like them. For me personally, it is a very happy moment when I see an artist that used to be relatively small in the beginning, and is now having good releases and a good ascension in his/her career. I’m very happy Tzinah is helping a lot of this good people. Of course we should remind here about new music every day, it’s something that we can’t live without.
Additionally…worst part of running a label?
Tzinah really changed my life for the best. But I will say here that running a label takes away the focus on your personal career.
In what ways did it take away the focus on your personal career? It seems you have an immense level of dedication to the label which is admirable!
Yes, I mean that it takes away your attention from production and maybe it gives more clear view on what tracks to play or not and so on. But music production is a big part of the career of any international DJ. I will to concentrate more on that in the future.
Did you have any challenges when launching the label? If so, how did you all overcome this?
Our first challenge was to release music that is recognized on a world-wide level by the artists we followed at that time. It happened after the fifth or sixth release. I personally cried when I received the first feedback from Richie Hawtin! I was a big fan at that time. The other challenge was to find the right people to make a team behind this project, to find the right people to get close to and to be around this people. In the way that we wanted to find people with the same beliefs and with the same vision on music. We wanted to have a team to be comfortable with and participate at events with our friends. So this was the moment when Tzinah Family as an agency was born. Big up to Primărie, Adrianho, Hansel!, Crocodile Soup, Jozhy K, Plusculaar, Silat Beksi and our newest member Claudia Amprimo.
Our next challenge is to see these people have their own career running flawless as well as us as a team too. One more thing I have to say about this is that Tzinah Family is a group of artists sharing the same believes and interests. If this changes the group is changing too. There were other artists too that were part of this agency but as the time passed, we evolved and they remained where they wanted to be. So this group is ever changing and evolving.
Romania has a deep rooted culture in electronic music, and seems to pride itself on local collaboration and talent. How would you describe your experiences in the Romanian music scene?
I respect a lot of what DJs before me did for the music scene in our country, and I try to participate at their events even today when I have time. You will see me playing at events but you will also see me in front of the DJs that I respect and follow. And yes collaboration is a very important key to success and to bringing things together so that’s why it succeeded that way. On other local collaboration I would actually suggest to some of the Romanian producers to try to collaborate more because it makes the scene stronger too. You learn more stuff and you make better productions from two or more minds. Get out there and unite with others :) As for my experiences, I admit I am the kind of guy who works alone, but I’m always open to work with someone in a studio. Or at least to be in the same room with someone. Because this is where you build something nice, a clear connection and then everyone puts a layer, and so the composition comes to place. I’m not a fan of changing projects and collaborating at distance. On the other hand I also like to play a lot of back-to-backs as a DJ – totally depending on the other. So I have a lot of afterhours in my background with this kind of collaboration :)
How has nightlife culture changed over the years?
One interesting thing is that nowadays “electronic” music is being played and listened all over in clubs, on the radio, at the mall, in a restaurant, and it became the music of today’s average listener. Everything is in the same basket to say so. This sometimes makes it so that the people who maybe don’t follow underground music, but still are present at our events, it can break a bit our mental frequencies and our vibe. They arrive in this situations with friends, etc, but I guess this thing came when the music exploded, when Romanian music started to be considered a genre of it’s own, and then people “that are not so much into music” just wanted to go out and have fun. I think the next challenge for Romanian music now is to remain underground music. In the past years you had here in the same music scene everything in the same club, now you have different kind of clubs for every kind of music. Here now there are clubs who promote only the kind of music we play which is the best things for us. Of course there are clubs who have different nights in this electronic music and most of them have a night dedicated to Romanian underground. This is also a thing that keeps the scene up. If we could manage to have this in every city it would be a dream that comes to life.
What are the plans for Tzinah Records in 2016?
We will have another release for our “Tzinah on Black” series – vinyl only! We will still be releasing underground names and artists that are in the beginning with their career. We are not looking for Romanian only artists. We will make more showcases involving artists from Tzinah Family. Our purpose is to unite. To make a community of artists and people and to share some love.