In a scene dominated by male figures, tINI is a name that has risen in the last couple of years to big proportions. She is now celebrating the release of her new album on Desolat called ‘Tessa’. We caught up with tINI before she played her residency DJ performance at Fuse, 93 Feet East on Brick Lane in East London to find out more about her passion for electronic music, her involvement with Desolat and her new album ‘Tessa’.
Please can you introduce yourself and tell me what inspires you to produce electronic music?
My name is tINI and I’m from Munich, I’ve been playing music mostly as a DJ, but I’m also a producer. I love electronic music, although I grew up with a different kind of electronic music, more New-Wave and Dark Wave, bands like The Cure.
My brother used to bring me mix tapes back home with him. He’s 4 years older than me so he kind of created my interest for electronic music.
How old were you back then and how did you source your own music?
I think I was 14, I used to go to a place called ‘WOM’ AKA World Of Music, now defunct, but I was more into CDs at that time because we had a no turntables at home and I wasn’t even thinking about becoming a DJ.
Of course we did have a record player at home but it was a pretty shitty one, so I got my own little system but it only had tape and CD, so I was listening to tapes and CDs. I guess I was searching through lots of things, checking what I liked but it was kind of random in the beginning, I was still learning about the varieties of music and all the different styles there were.
It’s tricky to listen to something and identify immediately that it’s deep house, dub techno or whatever. Of course you can give it a name but sometimes it’s hard to identify the music, and when you start you have no idea that there are so many different styles.
It was interesting later on when I started to collect records. I just bought what I liked without thinking if tech house fits with electro or if electro fits with deep house or tribal, I just bought what I liked and played it all together without thinking.
What producers would you say are influential for your personal music taste?
I have to say that it’s not based on the electronic music scene. It’s more down to other styles of music, I’m listening to a lot of different sounds, a lot of downtempo indie music and guitar based music. I’m a big Radiohead fan and singer songwriter stuff. It’s not like I sit down to stuff and carefully listen to producers. I get influenced by so many things; DJs that I’m listening to, traditional concerts, Jose Gonzales or whatever.
In productions terms, what are you using? Analogue or software?
I use a combination, I have some analogue equipment, but I’m still collecting. I have a Micro Korg and an Electribe, a drum computer and I bought one modular synth to play around with. It’s not a big studio but it’s enough for what I do and I also have some equipment from the early 1990s.
I also have CDs with sound files on them, they’re not finished samples they’re just recordings from real machines. I use them because I don’t have the real instruments them at home anymore and I want to use my own samples, not someone else’s. I try to create my sound with stuff that I already have.
I use Ableton, Logic and Reason. Before I had a Mac I started off with Fruity Loops. It’s funny because I just recently found some stuff on my computer, tracks from Fruity Loops – they didn’t sound bad at all.
Some people say they only produce with analogue equipment or if you’re a producer, they only produce with certain loops; I’m not like that! Everyone should try to express themselves and make music in the way that they want and can, and with what they can afford, which is also a big thing. Not everyone has the money to build up a big studio at home.
Are you happy with your setup?
I’m happy with the equipment I have, I’m collecting more and more as time progresses, but I don’t even have a proper studio. I work mostly with my headphones on. I’ve bought some nice headphones, and I have the worst monitors from JBL ever. When I visit friends who have their own studio, I check out the stuff that I’ve made because I don’t have a real reference at home. For catching up with my ideas and building up sounds it’s enough.
I produce music when I travel, either to or from a gig. When I’m in a certain mood or when I meet someone and it inspires me to start working on a sound. Working on my laptop and headphones gives me the chance to work everywhere in the world and I can do it straight away.
When did you start working on your new album ‘Tessa’?
The story about this album is connected to Ibiza, where I was living last summer, but there are also some tracks on it from 2099, for example ‘Fail Better’. When I stayed in the house in Ibiza over the summer I didn’t go out, I stayed in because I had so much fun working on this music and there I had even worse speakers, really bad computer speakers.
I would say the main part of the album took place in Ibiza and only ‘Fail Better’ and ‘Maria Luise And Bert’ are from 2009 back when I lived in Hamburg, I reworked everything on the tracks as I’d discovered new techniques and I wanted to work them into the tracks, even some basic stuff which I did not know. I love learning by doing, so I found out how to make songs sound better or with reverb or whatever. I realized I had these sounds from back in the day.
When you were working on the old and new tracks for the album ‘Tessa’ did you have an idea on how you wanted it to end out?
I never sat down and said that I was going to start working on an album. I had so many ideas in my head, I started to make tracks and sent them all at once over to Loco Dice and it was more or less his idea to make the album. He thought the tracks had a certain feeling together and that they worked as an album and he didn’t want to separate them.
I didn’t come up with the idea; it wasn’t even in my head, I was just making music. I originally sent over a lot more tracks, which we had to be cut down because of the limitations of a CD album. I was so happy when Dice came with the news that he really wanted to make an album. I was like ‘’Wow OK!’ because all I had then was this one release on the Desolat compilation and one remix on Desolat as well and now I have an album. It’s not a typical way of working to come up with an album with such a minute amount of releases to my name. But he was like ‘why not?’ as he saw the whole thing together.
The album does have a certain vibe; the tracks work together somehow. I’m now making new tracks and yes they are still tINI tracks, but they are different to the tracks on the album.
Who is responsible for the albums artwork and did you have any creative input into the artwork?
Desolat let me do everything in the end, they asked me how I saw my own album and asked me what I wanted to do. I said I didn’t want it to be loud or crazy or for it to have my face on it. I started searching online and I found some nice sites where young designers upload pictures of their artwork.
I saw this picture of this paper collage and I was checking whom it was by. It was Tom Uglow so I found his site on Flickr with a lot of work from him and I was like wow! I looked for his email address and couldn’t find it, so I left a comment underneath the picture telling him to contact me. He got back to me on Facebook, so I could connect to him. I ended up buying the digital copies of his existing works, which I then used.
We also had a team of designers from Bionic Systems who did the rest, such as the logo and so on. But it was down to me; there was nothing that they just put in there. They really wanted me to come up with the ideas and for them to make them happen, which was really nice.
Who’s behind the mastering and production of the album?
The Desolat family use one genius-mastering guy called Enrico Mercaldi from Time Tools Mastering, I was waiting for people to ask me about what Martin Buttrich did for this album. We worked together mixing down the tracks on the album, we gave them a better sound as to what they were producing from Ableton as it doesn’t make the best sound if you don’t have your own studio.
Martin mixed down my tracks and after that I wanted to give it to Enrico because he mastered my first track, and for me he makes such a great sound, it’s crazy what he can do. You can give him a rubbish sounding MP3 and he can make it sound like incredible club track. We were in close contact and I’d go see him and give him feedback and make sure it was what I wanted.
Why did you move to Hamburg?
I had to get away from Munich, I needed a change, I’d been in the same flat for years, changing flat mates and I just wanted to do something new. The opportunity arrived for me to get away; I was making music and freelancing as a TV editor, which was my real profession before I became a full time DJ and producer. I used to have a normal day job, yes, when I lived in Munich and on the weekend I was playing but then it just got way too much with work and gigs during the week and weekend.
When I became freelance it freed up more time so I moved to Hamburg where I got a small residency at a club called Eagle, which was really nice but I ended up in Berlin, but I’m not the cliché DJ, a lot of my friends don’t go out clubbing, they choose to go see modern classical concerts and I never go out there.
How did you get involved with Desolat and why is it always referred to as a ‘family’?
It is a family, it feels like a family, we take care of one another; we call each other, not everyday but almost. I’ve know Loco Dice since 2002 now, which is almost 10 years now and after such a long relationship you get closer to that person, especially when you tour with them.
I had started DJing for a year or so and I was playing very deep tribal sounds. At that time in Munich it was very tech house, they thought that I’d be a good warm up set for Loco Dice as the other warm up DJs weren’t available.
They asked me if I wanted to do it, and I was very excited and scared but I said of course I’ll do it. All my friends came and supported me and I was very nervous. I’m always nervous before a gig, which I never want to lose, the day I lose that feeling I should stop. I want it to thrill and excite me.
Dice arrived early to the club and listened to my set, and I was dying because I knew he was there and he was walking around and then he was like ‘Hey, what’s your name…I really like your sound…you know what I’m going to play 2-3 hours and then we play back to back for the rest of the night’. Dice never usually asks anyone to play back to back with him; I was really honored that he asked me!
I took my friend Tessa, who is a massive fan of Dice she introduced me to his music and made me aware of who he is, so I told Tessa that he’d asked me to play with him. So we went across the street and I went white with nerves, but she was so supportive telling me that I could do it. This is why the album is called Tessa, because she’s always been there for me.
After we played together Dice told me that we should play again some time, we exchanged numbers and whenever he came to Munich we’d play together and he was very supportive of me because he knew there was something going on with my music. He asked if he could help out with producing music with me. I said that I wanted to learn how to use programmes, as I was used to using editing software. I said that I’ll give it a go and if I need help then he could help me.
Dice really takes good care with everyone involved in Desolat, he believes in them and wants to support them.TiniDesolatOctober 2011HouseMinimalTech-House