Tencion Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Dimitri. Let’s start with your label Lowendcommunity. Can you tell us about its ethos? And how would you describe the highs and lows of running your own label?

Hi Greg, thanks for having me! The initial idea for the label started in 2003 when I was running my own club in the Netherlands, in my hometown Eindhoven. I became really close with a guy named Ivo Rotteveel who was one of the resident DJs in that place and with whom I started the label. Due to personal circumstances it was not until the year 2010 that the label really saw the light of day. First of all we weren’t sure if anybody would ever consider releasing our music and with the basic know how in the pocket we decided to do everything ourselves. We really wanted to have a proper release with beautiful artwork which was done by Christoph Voorn (Joris Voorn’s brother) and approached already respected producers like Dimi Angélis and Jeroen Search for a remix of our first ever release called “Waking Up Benirras” (as The Low End Theory). On top of that we did very heavy social network promo to build our base. There were not too many labels and DJs doing so we kind of stood out, I guess. This first release instantly got picked up by the legendary Laurent Garnier who put the track on his PBB online radio playlist for many months….This really encouraged me to explore the boundaries of my producer skills and from that point on we just kept on doing the things we love and are facing our 10th birthday next month!

The Low End Theory – Waking Up Benirras (Original Mix)

Since running a label is not our core business and we still have daytime jobs there hasn’t been a constant stream of new releases and at some point I could not find the time and inspiration to produce new stuff myself until 2017. That year my wife Melanie encouraged me to pick up producing again under a different alias and with a new sound, so I started my Tencion project with which I aim to focus on the emotional aspects of music. The first track I did as Tencion called “Dancer in the Dark” got picked up by Terry Francis and got signed to the Fabric label to be part of the last instalment in their Fabric mix series. Eventually the track did not appear on the Fabric 100 mix album – so as you can imagine, I was a bit disappointed…

But….The fun I had with producing, making music and being a DJ every now and then was back. After ten years of searching and shaping you can say that I found my identity in this crazy and so often beautiful electronic dance community.

You are about to release your stunning new album: Culture Club on Lowendcommunity. It’s an atmospheric selection of titles which covers all aspects of music. Can you talk us through some of the influences which helped inspire such a diverse collection of sounds?

When producing: Emotion and Life itself are most influential to me, I guess. I’m also heavily influenced by 80’s bands such as Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode and Simple Minds. I really like certain aspects of the ambient/chill out genre. This has also been a big influence on my musical upbringing. I have been going to Ibiza every year since the year 2000 and it was at places like the old Café Mambo where I really started to appreciate the sound they played at sunset. One night, Pete Gooding, a resident DJ who used to play there often, dropped the track “We Have All The Time In The World” by Louis Armstrong right before sundown…and the track: A Brass Band In African Chimes by Simple Minds right after it. I still remember It brought tears to my eyes and I really felt the power of emotional music and what it could do to a person’s heart and mind. I guess I try to create the same mood and atmospheres in my own music nowadays.

Can you talk us through the process of how you created one of the tracks on the album from the initial idea through to its final production? Do you have any favourite software/ hardware that you like to use?

I had the idea to build a track just around a simple bassline in Ableton, together with the Sylenth1 plug-in. When I created the bassline I started searching for some simple tools to create emotion into that track. Just some simple string-and synthesizer notes combined with a piano chord in the middle really set the tone for this Hyperdawn track which really is a slow burner in my opinion. You have to listen multiple times to the track before it really grows on you. I really like it when there’s more to a song than you initially think. Of course everybody has its own emotions, feelings or demons you can say and of course not everybody might like it, it is something I connect to. I always try to create a song that will stand the test of time. One that can be played after 20 years or so and still will sound relevant.

listen to Hyperdawn https://www.beatport.com/track/hyperdawn-original-mix/14013719

What are your feelings on song writing in 2020 and do you feel that the power of music can communicate the same things through instrumentation alone?

I guess there hasn’t been much change in song writing the last couple of years for me. I think more and more producers go into the direction of writing more pop songs instead of doing only dance-floor bombs. This is also a result of the pandemic of course. In that light it can be really interesting to see how some producers change their sound and come up with fantastic new projects, apart from their usual four to the floor bangers. I do think that you can communicate the same emotion with instrumental tracks alone, although I have been working on some vocal cuts as well lately. My daughter Doris is a very good singer herself and I would love to do some tracks with her in the near future.

What is your favourite instrument?

I love to play the piano. Although I am not a schooled player, I can fool around all the time with my midi keyboard, trying to create new and interesting melodies for one of my releases.

How do you see club culture changing as a response to Covid-19? Do you think it will provide a chance for positive change in terms of giving more people the opportunity to be heard at a local level?

Of course! A lot of bedroom DJs can be stars at their home-parties nowadays! Nobody knows how long this crazy virus will still be with us and right now a lot of clubs and artists in the industry are having a difficult time. Clubs in the Netherlands aren’t allowed to be open so there are more and more illegal parties at home, I guess. It really is in our nature to party after a week’s work so when everyone is healthy and keeping their distance I don’t see anything wrong with that. In the end the crowd (alongside the technical equipment) is the most important part of the party. You can play at the shittiest place you could ever imagine but if the crowd is connected with you and the music it will always be a good night.

Outside of electronic music who are your most important influences?

I have to say: Life itself and my children are most influential to me. I also get a lot of inspiration from bands like Radiohead and Editors nowadays, apart from my love for 80’s bands of course…

And finally. Can you share your forthcoming plans for 2021?

I am currently working on a new Tencion EP which will be more dancefloor connected than my Culture Club album. I am planning to release this in the early spring of 2021. Hopefully the clubs will be open then!! I also love to do a release with my label partner Ivo Foreal to celebrate 10 years of Lowendcommunity.

facebook @tencionmusic

buy Tencion – Culture Club https://www.beatport.com/release/culture-club/3072246


Soul Clap – fabric93 – Fabric

Dedicated to the memory of Derren Smart whose voice you hear first as this mix from Soul Clap not so gently unfolds. And of course it’s all rather wonderful. Full of spiritual awakenings, funky life-affirming grooves alongside some glorious celebratory vocals. Not only featuring their own labels sounds along with its extended family of artists the selections also highlight the depth and resolution of both influences plus experiences which feed their music. As I said it’s life-affirming. What works for me here as an aside is that while the music is rich in the past it never feels like just a direct copy of history, or indeed that the past has simply been re-edited and altered. It feels true and intensely purposeful. And at no point will your hips stop moving! Also rarely these days do you get such a wide range of styles under the one banner as you will hear soulfully charged House sounds segueing neatly into hot Disco flavours and even some grittier, electric moments. In one word then: Excellent.

Release: April 21

Buy fabriclondon.com/store/fabric-93.html



fabric 64: Guy Gerber

Sixteen new productions from Guy Gerber go make up this latest compilation in the fabric series totalling 64. And as you have come to expect from the producer this is another selection of exquisite resonating music that reaches way beyond your imagination. Always spirited, yet incisive and experimental, this effortlessly deep compilation of sounds are as invigorating first thing in the morning as there are very late at night. Weaving between haunting vocals and cinematic instrumentals this once again highlights Guy Gerber as one of the world’s finest in this field of electronic music. Every track stands out in its own right and it would almost be pointless in suggesting particular highlights, but here goes anyway: the completely infectious One Day In May loops heavenly ambience into dancefloor nirvana, while the opening Store-House Consciousness and The Golden Sun And The Silver Moon sound as blissful as the title suggests. The music plays between dancefloor and horizontal listening with consummate ease, with number 64 proving yet another to be a winning formula.

release: June 25






Jamie Jones
Tracks From The Crypt
Crosstown Rebels

Jamie Jones second album for Crosstown Rebels sees two of the world’s most significant players combine forces again successfully, after the DJ’s string of awards plus the labels succession of killer releases. The collection features unreleased tracks – although heaven knows why – alongside new productions, and if you’ve witnessed Jamie play live then Somewhere, Paradise and Frequencies may already be well known to you. But waiting eagerly to get out there too is the equally fresh future-funk of Mari 2D Underground and the uneasy edge belonging to Tonight In Tokyo feat. Luca C. Also make sure you listen out for the sinister bass experience that is Over Each Other with Livia Giammaria’s vocal sounding tastefully bitter in the process too. All the signature sounds are present, with those defining original House influences playing their part to reinforce what is undoubtedly another essential in the canon.

release: June 25





Remi Mazet
Le Kiff
La Vie En Rose

The fifth release from the label sees Remi Mazet deliver breezy summer sounds to quench your thirst for all things funky. Playing with a hint of Gwen Guthrie in the air, the punchy bassline buzzes over introspective Rhodes chords and technological synths on the Original version to great effect. Boris Horel then provides the remix of Le Kiff with bouncy European bass and perky percussion, leaving second track Are you There feat. Mr.Matlar completing the picture with more easily accessible grooves backed up by intriguing voices and frisky snares. Good release.

release: June 25





NTFO, Karmon, Betoko
Wowshit EP
Diynamic music

This three track EP marks the labels 58th and presents their trademark style perfectly. Opening with NTFO & Karmon ‘Nobody Else’ and its punchy melodic bassline, which plays against snare rushes and atmospheric touches, this neatly infuses together a thoughtful production with dancefloor sensibilities. The title track is then provided by Karmon who works moody bass over sharp percussion and classic early-eighties keys, and this again proves to be easy to fall for. Betoko’s, Raining Again provides a potential anthem for the North of England with shuffling synthetic rhythms and detuned vocals intoning the wet stuff.

release: June 25





Just An Illusion
Crosstown Rebels

If you haven’t already checked Amirali’s beautifully crafted album for Crosstown Rebels then you’re missing out on an experience. In the meantime here is the chance to love the hauntingly atmospheric new single which also come s with some great remixes. Such as, Franck Roger who expertly builds the tension by adding fresh chords and drums to re imagine the vocal, while the MK version surpasses the remit with typically classy bass and beats feeling totally big-time. Appleblim’s aptly titled Black Mirrorball Mix then twists the elements over throbbing kicks into something altogether more space aged, making his statement loud and clear.

release: July 2






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Ahmet Sisman
Dance With The White Rabbit EP

Love this production from Ahmet Sisman whose Dance With The White Rabbit feels all at once like a party in your head. Impressive sound fx and dubbed vocal treatments give the track a very big feel indeed, but it’s also the combination of differing styles that give it all such a unique edge. Nico Lahs provides the remix with funkier bass and a deeper mood, while Audiofly cleverly break up the beats on their abstracted version. Meanwhile, Hello To Alice continues the Wonderland theme with more expressive voices and dark electronics to finish.

release: July 4







Money On U

This is the second release on Artform’s sister imprint, Arthouse and comes from Erase Records’ Dimos Stamatelos. The Original version sets a punchy tempo against cool Rhodes chords, a taught tech bassline and with hard hitting vocal snippets this is set to induce frantic head nodding. The effective Frogs and Socks remix then teases extra tension from its undulating synth and smart dancefloor arrangement, while label head Jamie Anderson’s Latin Hustle version introduces the chords to warmer possibilities with the intensely funky percussion giving it all a precise edge.

release: June 18 as a Beatport exclusive for 4 weeks. July 16 general release.





Chateau Flight
Versatile Records

If you like to think outside the box then this will most definitely tempt you. It’s distinctly impossible to categorise but then that is precisely its charm. Sometimes House-ish, sometimes Techno-esque, other times sounding like Pink Floyd through a Dance blender, this isn’t always a comfortable ride but is a rewarding one. One half of Zombi, Steve Moore supplies the remix in two parts with his ‘remix’ making some sense of the madness by building layers of arpeggios over a steady kick drum, as the ‘Off-World’ version provides more of an ethereal landscape by gently playing with voices and pulsating rhythms over an epic feeling eight minutes.

release: June 25





Jerome Derradji Presents: 122 BPM
The Birth Of House Music – Mitchbal Records & Chicago Connection Records
Still Music

This three CD set from the early to late Eighties catalogues of Mitchbal Records and its subsidiary Chicago Connection Records is pretty much indispensible listening if you’re in any way interested in the history of Chicago House Music. Mitchbal Records was founded by Nemiah Mitchell Jr and released their first influential 12” single by Z Factor aka Vince Lawrence (before starting the infamous Trax Records) I Like to Do It in Fast Cars in 1983 (hear below). The selection also includes music from Mr Lee and Libra Libra, and joins together the diverse set of influences that went to make up what became known as House Music: from UK New Wave/ Synthpop and European/Italian dance all the way through to the soulful end of American Disco. The CD comes with invaluable extras such as a 28 page booklet on the labels’ history plus mix from Still Music’s Jerome Derradji, and also features one of Frankie Knuckles rarest remixes: Unfinished Business.

release: June 2012



interview at http://timeoutchicago.com/music-nightlife/clubs/15409691/the-untold-story-of-the-family-that-helped-found-house-music




Fabric 61: Visionquest
I’m confused. Is this Techno, or is it House? If you really have to draw definite distinctions between electronic music (which you can sometimes dance to) in 2011 then please be my guest. However, the reason I feel this selection from Visionquest merits ten/ ten is because it transcends the distinction and thoroughly blur’s the lines between soul and technology – or are they now one and the same. Also, because listening to the soundtrack evolving produces the same intense involvement derived from playing Miles Davis or John Coltrane. If I can use a word such as beautiful in cold December, I can also use haunting and eloquent too. I love the way the music doesn’t shy away from songs either and they are at once thoughtful and thought-provoking. Musically the productions are skilfully crafted and engage with funk – if you can suggest a better bassline than on DJ T’s remix of Phreek Plus One ‘Passion’ then go ahead – as well as being cinematic in scope for those more heady aspects.  Exemplary. 10