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Danny Tenaglia - The Futurism Movement

Author: Rezo
Monday, September 1, 2008

3D’s Cyclone speaks with New York-based DJ/producer Danny Tenaglia, who recently broke a half-decade release drought with Futurism.

It’s been ages since Danny Tenaglia visited Australia, yet local dance tastemakers are enthusing about Futurism, the DJ’s first club compilation in six years. Though a house veteran, Tenaglia infamously embraced progressive in the ’90s – around the same time as Deep Dish – but, while Deep Dish forged a new international following, Tenaglia focussed on residencies in his New York hometown at Twilo, Tunnel and Vinyl (later Arc).

Tenaglia resisted the ‘prog’ tag. In 2003 he presented a volume of his favourite records in Azuli’s Choice series. This decade has seen an epic watershed in DJ culture. For every François K reinventing himself, 10 others have disappeared. Ever into contemporary sounds, Danny is currently enamoured with ‘deep techno’ – or minimal. Still, he’s not irreverent about the past, believing that clubbers should know the music’s history. “It’s essential to know your history as a clubber and as a human!” he says.

Auspiciously, Tenaglia has plenty happening in 2008, having accepted a residency at Space in Ibiza. The once voracious remixer includes a single, The Space Dance, on that Tommy Boy comp. However, when approached by Australian media, Tenaglia declines phone interviews to plug Futurism, opting for an e-mailer – and skipping questions. He remains elusive.

You’ve taken a recording – and release – hiatus in recent years. How come-
I’ve been busy exploring the world! When Vinyl/Arc closed in 2004 – the club where I had my Be Yourself residency for five years of incredible Fridays – it was a very sad moment for me. I miss the room and the vibe and the chance to play new music for the same involved, trusting and educated audience every week. But a by-product [of that] was that I suddenly got the freedom to take weekend gigs all around the globe. I’ve been to over 27 countries.

Here in Australia there’s a perception of you as a progressive DJ. Where is your head at in 2008-
I’m an ‘everything’ DJ – and [I] have always been. Futurism is showing more of my techno side but, if you visit New York on any given Sunday, you might find me on the dancefloor at Danny Krivit’s parties enjoying classic and soulful house. My roots are in Philly soul, Motown and, of course, the open musical policy of Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage. All of the music I play is different interpretations of the same overall vibe – groove, depth, emotion, all of it.

How have your sensibilities changed in recent years-

My sensibility has always remained the same. The music has changed around me and I’ve responded to that in real-time. How can you ignore what some young producers are doing with unique sounds- I’m constantly inspired and excited.

Many ‘old school’ DJs have been swept away by successive changeovers in dance, but you and François K have adapted and endured. How important is it for DJs to reinvent themselves-
It’s not reinvention, it’s just [about] being adaptable and always open. François and I are both from a time when DJs played everything. They weren’t known for a single style. When you truly love music, how could you be satisfied with only one colour in the spectrum- You need the whole rainbow. When it’s an aesthetic, an ethic, a belief guiding you, rather than a style, the possibilities are endless.

WHO: Danny Tenaglia
WHAT: Futurism through Stomp
WHEN: Out now