Techno Tuesday: Matthias Tanzmann on sixteen years of touring while running a label
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Matthias Tanzmann redefines the notion of stamina. Sixteen years have passed since Tanzmann founded Moon Harbour Records with partner André Quaas in Leipzig, which he has since helped to become an epicenter of German club culture. Saddling the dual roles of being both a label’s figurehead and its leading act is a lofty enough feat to tire anyone out after a year, but Tanzmann has managed to become one of Germany’s most consistent and tenured bellwethers of tech house and deep house.
Rather than settle down after sixteen years as a label head and even more as a DJ, Matthias Tanzmann has managed to increase both his own output and touring schedule. The veteran performer seems to be in the midst of a never-ending world tour; In March alone, Tanzmann has already graced stages in Switzerland, Spain, Russia, Germany, and Holland. Following a quick stop in Ireland, Tanzmann is venturing stateside, beginning with a three day marathon of performances in Miami for Miami Music Week, March 17, 18, and 19.
Matthias Tanzmann’s passion for performing is clear in his tireless dedication to touring. We got in touch with Tanzmann to learn about the roots underlying his long-lasting labor of love, and how the act of touring has changed for him over the course of his legacy.
After 15 years of Moon Harbour, what has changed the most about your own music and the music that you rely on for sets?
The music I play these days is more tech housy than I used to when Moon Harbour started. I was mainly playing and releasing deep house in my early days. This was different from what is labeled deep house these days. Over the years and through my DJ experiences the sound has gotten more functional and dance floor oriented.
How has the experience of touring changed for you between now and the start of MH?
It has changed in many ways. I haven’t been playing as many gigs all over the world yet when I started the label in 2000. This has gotten more intense over the years. Another aspect is the professionalism that the electronic music scene has developed meanwhile. It has become an industry. All that was very different when Moon Harbour was founded 16 years ago. There have been no tech and hospitality riders, neither did DJs have a tour manager.
What are the biggest challenges you’re facing on this tour?
Probably to find some rest among the numerous gigs within just a the few days. The schedule is pretty tight this time. The good thing though is, that I will be able to play East and West Coast within one extended weekend.
What past live experience (if any) had the biggest impact on how you conceive your music and brand?
There hasn’t been a certain moment that influenced the sound of Moon Harbour and me. It has been ongoing process. We have this kind of conceptional bracket that covers the range of groovy deep and tech house music. But basically the label sound evolves together with its artists.
What music was most significant/influential to you starting off as an artist? What music plays this role now?
My first musical love as a teenager was the techno sound of the 90s. The music Sven Väth used to play when he came to my city. I regularly traveled to Berlin to go to Tresor and other clubs. At some point in the late 90s I got into deep and tech house music. And this is what I still love.
What aspects of your current show excite you most?
What I like about DJing these days compared to the earlier years is the ability to manipulate the music through technology. The digital era opened doors to live modifications and remixing during a DJ set.
Which tour stop are you most excited to play?
I think Miami will be the most exciting part. There will be a lot of friends and colleagues around. Miami Music Week has always been one of my personal highlights of the touring schedule.