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Interview: Matthias Tanzmann

We speak to the Moon Harbour label boss and Circoloco headliner.

Tell us how your partnership with Davide Squillace began, why did you start playing with him all the time?

I'm not sure how it really started but I got to know him through DC10, 5 years ago maybe, we became friends and started to play together, not back to back but after each other as we got close play times. Then we stayed together in Ibiza in a house 3 years ago and started to get more closely connected music wise. Then at this point we were friends and played together for Circo Loco somewhere else.

You feel close musically to him?

Yeah it is close, when we started playing together we kind of liked the same tracks and stuff then the idea came to maybe play back to back. I think it was a special occasion like last year at one of the parties here in DC10, we asked Andrea and Antonio if we can do it and we did and it was like "Wow".

When I interviewed Davide previously he said his sound had got a bit softer and yours a bit harder?

It's an interesting combination as we have different backgrounds, he's come from techno and I've come from deep house and when it comes together it is an interesting combination. At the moment he is softer than I am sometimes, it's always interesting, when we were playing Amnesia opening we thought we would have to play really hard but we played pretty much our sound, which was really cool.

Do you think when people play b2b you have to push each other in a certain way or that you are on the same path?

It's a combination, sometimes you push yourself if you think he is playing too hard and you want to direct it somewhere else, sometimes you think what is cool and what will continue the journey and story we are telling, so its really interesting. It's trying to create something.

Do people expect you two to be playing together?

Yeah people ask for us a lot now, but we don't want to do it too much, we want to make it a bit special. If we did it together every week it wouldn't be interesting anymore. So we still play separately at DC10 and then we play b2b when we have special occasions at DC10 or when we have showcases.

Davide and Matthias playing in Italy

In terms of the world tour, Circo Loco especially, apart from Tania you are probably the most regular person who plays on the tours, when I speak to people the first name they think of is yourself. Do you feel like you represent Circo Loco?

I think Tania is definitely still the one Circo Loco main artist, she was there from the beginning; that people recognise me for Circo Loco....I'm honoured. Of course I'm aware that people see me connected to the brand and I'm really really happy to represent the brand because it's exactly what I like in music and the party here is fantastic. It's great people think so.

What is it as a DJ that makes the club special?

The fantastic thing for me at DC10 is that it is really underground compared to the other clubs on the island, there are more underground parties but this is the only place that plays really cool music to a bigger crowd, and its extra special. The floor is full of people especially the terrace and you don't play hits, you play deep shit and people are wow, they are really big into it following and grooving. From time to time you have to play something that really lifts them's just an amazing atmosphere. People music and atmosphere just create such a legendary party, its something special.

I know you actively encourage people to do the famous DC10 sit downs...

Yeah for example on Monday it happened again and I was checking the computer for a new track and I looked up and see ‘oh' the first 5 metres people were sitting down so I was like cool, so I just put in the loop to prolong the part where all the people sit down, that's part of playing with Traktor because you can prolong a certain part of the track in the loop, and now it encourages people. I never really start people to do it, it is the crowd themselves, if the club start to do it I help them as people at the back don't see it, and when it happens its crazy. People jump up and its good fun.

What do you think of the changes they've made to the sound this year?

I think it is a good improvement they have the absorption and then the bass speakers are now inside the walls, I was talking to the sound guys and before the specs were differently put in the room and now with improvements it sounds much better. I have to be honest I haven't managed to go in the middle of the dance floor yet as I was there for the Opening and it was way too busy. This week I've checked the back side and it sounds good. In the DJ Booth it sounds really good.

The main criticism was that it was previously too base heavy?

Yeah, they were really working hard on that and take it seriously, Andrea is a perfectionist in sound and he really wanted the club sound to be amazing.

There are lots of styles at Circoloco now, especially with the likes of Seth Troxler, Jamie Jones and Zip. So there's not really one Circoloco sound, is there?

No, there's not a specific Circo Loco sound I think it's a combination of all those artists. Seth and Jamie are really big now, it's really strong and makes the Circo Loco brand stronger. It's the special sound of the terrace in Circoloco. I'm the one playing closer to the old sound as it's more tribal, percussion, deep tech house style and now with Jamie and Seth there's a new kind of vibe added to it and its really great. It really works together and an update to the sound and it also shows that Andrea was ahead of time when he picked those guys.

Why do you think the underground sound has become so popular globally. There are lots of parties in Ibiza like this.....Cocoon for example, Kehakuma, We Love, Carl Cox, The Zoo project etc?

Maybe especially for Ibiza it became popular because it was different and wasn't over-styled and super expensive, it was more liberal and free. It is more like an after hour and after party feeling. People like Carola can really entertain a big floor they can play at a small club and play really nice deep and have the crowd rocking and then they can also play to 10/15 thousand people easily, with a different sound but catch people there and take them to their underground sound. Maybe people are fed up with the more commercial sounds.

Circoloco Compilation - The Next Level 2011 Mixed by Matthias Tanzmann and Davide Squillace - Buy Here

I want to talk a little bit about Moon Harbour, you've been celebrating a decade of the label this that mind blowing itself that you are ten years down the line?

It was last year already so yeah you suddenly realise then you've been doing it for a long time, when we started the label there were already a lot of labels around and it was a young label and we started something new, then ten years passes and you realise we are not the young label anymore. We are regular players, it was really nice when we realised that and we had regular tours, and compilation and with the people working there and we built up something like a group of artists we are really proud of.

How do you position your label as part of who you are as an artist and what you do career wise?

I think the label is like the base of everything, we see it as a pool for artists, a home base, that we want our artists to see it as that. We play shows together and everything revolves around the label.

What do André [Quaas] and the rest of the team do to keep everything going?

André was running the Distillery Club in Leipzig, a club we still do parties at, and he wanted to do something new and we both had the idea of doing a label so we joined forces. So basically what I am doing is checking music and taking care of the artists and what he is doing is all the rest, he works all day and all night he is like a maniac. On top of being the label manager he is also my booker and manages everything around, the crew do almost everything with promo, etc and other bookers working for the agency.

Have you had offers from other agencies, and how do you balance where you want to go as a DJ yourself against the fact you can build something of your own?

I have offers from other agents of course, but there have been more cooperation offers as I think now people respect that this is our agency and it's not going to change. Also, for me it's like if I left the agency that's the whole idea of the agency gone. The artists, the label and the booking agent have to support the label as there is no existing vinyl market anymore and we still produce vinyl. So I am there for the agency and everyone there like a fixed attachment.

How do you find new music for the label or for you to play?

Its usually through friends, either a filter from someone you trust like Ekkohaus, when I got to know him he was a recommendation of Argy and he was a friend, a friend of mine listened to his tracks and was like cool so now he is one of our main artists. I have to DJ a lot of what is recommended by friends and of course the promo links, sometimes to be honest I get about 50 links a day and I can't listen to all of them, so I just pre-select from names I know, interesting labels or some are just lucky and I have enough time to check everything.

How much of your set do you plan?

My set is never planned but I can create a crate that I put music in, I do it very rarely. I did it for the Circo Loco opening as there were tracks I really wanted to play. But usually I don't prepare sets, I carry my music catalogue and organise it by import date, its not categories by style or alphabetically. I do have some crates of Deep or techno but I usually don't use them except when I am really desperate and might need a techno track now and can't find one. By having them sorted by import dates I have the ones I got last week on the top as I really want to play those so it kinds of keeps it fresh. Obviously you do have to organise if you want to play a tune from a year ago, but I will change the import date on that occasion so I can find it easily. It's not the only way to work but for me it developed from there, it is similar to Itunes. When I import I always import from Itunes.

What is going on with Moon Harbour right now? How do you balance the need to release music and the quality control of it?

I ask myself the same question because I get good music that I would like to release but then again it might not make sense in terms of label, artist, and career development. So we focus on releasing music of key artists from the label, like Martinez or Ekkohaus and putting out their tracks and records to build up their profiles. Then from time to time we do take new artists on such as Arado, Marco Faraone and we have a release coming from Adam Port who did a remix. But the main focus is on the main pool of artists, I'd rather release their music than change.

How does someone like Lunar City Express become a Circoloco resident, is it just down to music or attitude and ambition as well?

It's not just down to music its to do with networking as well and how you are involved with people and you have to be a good artist to get to the point where people want to take you to the next step like playing at Circo Loco. But then again you have to be involved in the whole group to match. Music and art go together and hype around artists help a lot too.

Tell us about the Amnesia Opening, is that the first time you played there?

Yeah, it was fantastic, we got there at 4, did some interviews backstage, and then we passed from the main room to the terrace. We have been there before but to play there....WOW. When the lights come up and a big room and there's a good crowd going with the music and the flow we were trying to create, we had the greatest time. I think we played like 5 hours I think from 7-12.

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