June 2, 2015Feature

“I went from playing super small clubs with about 150 people to suddenly Space Ibiza.” Tensnake speaks to Eric Davidson

A modest if not energetic crowd gathered as Marco Niermerski took the stage in the Light House tent at Forbidden Fruit Festival in Dublin. About three songs in and the amount of revelers had tripled. By the end there were people just accepting the rain on the fringes of the tent simply to get a glimpse at the party ensuing inside.

I meet Marco as the crowd he leaves behind cheer homegrown hero Matador onto the stage and we get chatting about exactly how it all came to this.

“When I started going out I went to a place called Front Club which was a very popular gay club in Germany at the time. It was the first acid house club, so that’s where I musically socialised. Later on Hamburg became more known for techno, we have a lot of really credible minimal labels like Dial Records, and that’s what I really remember growing up with.”

"This super commercial, trashy music really wasn’t my thing"

Marco then graduated from the floor to the stage about ten years ago in a small club in East Germany.

“They booked me really early on in my career,” he explains. “I was super nervous. Back then I only played live sets, so it was totally different as for the past couple of years I’ve been just DJing. Starting out live was intimidating, people may have only known one, or none of the tracks I was playing, so it was hit and miss. You get more practice and routine and it eventually becomes fun.”

On 25 January 2010 Marco released ‘Coma Cat’. He would have no idea of the reach the track would have in the electronic music world and how the vocal and piano would be become so iconic to summer parties.

“I didn’t realise in the beginning how big it got. First it came out on a smaller label called Permanent Vacation and it took almost a year until it got bigger. Defected Records signed the record and made it huge in the UK and before I knew it it became an Ibiza anthem and a summer festival tune.”

So did the prospect of success frighten Marco?

“I went from playing super small clubs with about 150 people to suddenly Space Ibiza, which was a big thing for me. I was nervous and I really had to get used to it.”

With the sudden burst of success in the dance music world he experienced, the name Tensnake was craved by promoters around the world. Marco was being brought to some of the best party destinations in the world, and like anyone who grew up in a club culture excess was inevitable.

“I still party on tour but I now know not to go to every after party. I try to keep the balance more now. If it gets too much I have to slow down a little bit.”

Marco’s set at Forbidden Fruit was made up of mostly underground house tracks, aside from ‘Gypsy Woman’ by Crystal Waters which was met with rapturous applause. But how does he see the landscape of the electronic music changing?

“In the last two years house music has obviously had a huge comeback, which was great to see. However, I toured the United States and I have to say the changes there are bigger than in Europe. For so many years they were only used to rock and hip hop, so suddenly the festival thing started over there and EDM exploded.

“This super commercial, trashy music really wasn’t my thing, but now I’m back touring over there and it’s getting better and better. They have a really good club scene in some cities. The kids who grew up on EDM are getting a little older and are looking at what else electronic music has to offer.”

Photos by Eric Davidson

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