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Stenny: interview “We will be able to develop things in a creative and inspiring way”

One of the leading artists of Munich’s Ilian Tape label

Mixmag Japan | 6 March 2021

Stenny, Stenny interview, mixmag

(c) Manuel Schuller

Along with the Zenker Brothers and Skee Mask, DJ/producer Stenny is one of the leading artists of Munich’s Ilian Tape label, which has been gaining much momentum within the German techno scene as of late. Bred in Turin, Italy, Stenny’s current base of operations is Munich. Subsequent to his 2013 debut single, “Solstice Deity”, he has been constantly releasing works, and at the end of 2019 he released the much-anticipated full album, “Upsurge”, on Ilian Tape. His tracks are not only fully functional for DJs, but also highly acclaimed for always being on the cutting-edge, incorporating elements of IDM and broken beats.

While clubs were closed due to the pandemic, Stenny performed for the streaming program of Munich club Blitz and virtual rave “Club Quarantäne” run by Resident Adviser. Exactly one year since his first show in Japan at VENT Tokyo on 6th March 2020, Stenny sat down with us to talk about what he’s been up to, producing music, Ilian Tape and more.

― How is the situation in Munich? How are you doing under this pandemic?

Stenny: At the moment we are still in a lockdown, I just came back from a long walk and I’m listening to some music. Can’t do much more. I’m planning to release new music in 2021 therefore I’m really busy in the studio.

― How did you feel about your first visit to Japan last year? What is the most impressive experience you had?

Stenny: It was intense. I spent only 24 hours in Japan. The travel logistics got unexpectedly complicated, and I nearly had to cancel the Asian tour. We managed to rebook the flights in time, but meant to land the same day of the gig, and having zero time to visit the country, as I had to fly to Taiwan directly in the morning. The train ride to Narita was so beautiful in its simplicity. I spent my time just looking at the landscape while listening to some of my favourite music and had very strong feelings.

― I’ve heard that Japan is a special country for you. Why is that?

Stenny: My fascination for Japanese culture and art began as a child and developed during my studies in architecture. The history of the country, the profound philosophy that intertwines aesthetics and time is incredibly interesting. I love and respect the culture so much.

― You released your first album, UPSURGE from ILIAN TAPE a year ago. What was your source of inspiration for this album?

Stenny: The production of the album was quite long, it was rare to have continuity in the studio because of my many trips and my job. The main inspiration was my travels and the places and experiences related to them, as well as the different contexts where the album was produced and edited. There was no precise strategy other than to create a well-thought-out path through the emotions I wanted to express.

― The green objects in the artwork are very characteristic; what do they represent?

Stenny: The artwork it’s a plastic bag, the ones you use for trash. Anja Lekavski, the artist behind the cover and I, thought it would be interesting to use something that normally would be a waste, and morph it into something visually captivating and meaningful.

Stenny, Stenny interview, mixmag


― I would say your sound became simpler and more sophisticated since “Stress Test”. The album contrasts with your previous works that were closer to low-fi. Still, I find these have a similar feeling. What do you think of the changes in your producing style?

Stenny: My method is quite consolidated, but I like to challenge myself and bring things forward with every new piece. I try not to repeat myself too much. This is the basic principle of my music making. I like the idea of exploring in different directions but without sounding too sparse. I think about my music as impulsive and direct, and as much I believe that personality is more important than technical perfection I enjoy being more precise and careful about certain details nowadays.

Stenny, Stenny interview, mixmag

(c) Manuel Schuller

― Did you use new hardware or software for the tracks?

Stenny: The setup in my studio is hybrid. In the last year I added some interesting new machines that inspired me a lot and allowed me to explore new possibilities, like the Pulsar 23. It’s my favorite piece of gear at the moment.

― What can you tell us about the club scene in Munich? What is club Blitz like?

Stenny: The scene is very small, there are some interesting places like Blitz, Charlie or Rote Sonne, which are basically the underground clubs. I must mention Radio 80000, a nice independent station that broadcasts every day and creates a broad platform for all of us. Blitz, sadly, has been closed since one year. due to the pandemic. As for my point of view, I hope that in the future there will be more focus on local Artists and generally more involvement from people with the right attitude. I am convinced we will be able to develop things in a creative and inspiring way.

Main floor of Blitz ©Simon Vorhammer

Stenny, Stenny interview, mixmag

Second floor of Blitz ©Simon Vorhammer

― Lots of Japanese people think German Techno is limited to Berlin. Can you tell us what’s the difference between the scenes of Munich and Berlin?

Stenny: Berlin is the capital of freedom and integration, and facts speaks for itself, but Munich, Frankfurt or Cologne have had and still have their history with this music too, and it’s very relevant. At the moment, Munich and Bayern are administered by a conservative party, which don’t really seem to value our culture as much as happens in Berlin. This makes things a bit harder for creatives, who are often moving there, or in places where it is easier to connect and cheaper to survive. Hopefully this will change.

Stenny, Stenny interview, mixmag

Stenny in front of the gate of Blitz which are closed due to the pandemic

― You’re known for being a DJ with a variety of genres. Does any theme or style define yourself? What would be your current obsession as a DJ?

Stenny: Right now i’m not focusing much on DJing but only on writing music and doing research. Clubs have been closed, and I don’t really like this live stream trend. That said, I don’t really get obsessed with the genre too much. I care more about selecting the right music in order to create the atmosphere and flow I desire. I appreciate many different styles, so I tend to consider more the speed, power and intensity of tracks instead of sorting them by genres. That’s how I prepare my sets. I often look for that bridge that lets me connect two tracks in an unexpected and interesting way, to switch on a higher intensity level or to calm down and give the crowd a space for thoughts. I love to create these dancefloor dynamics, and practice surprising and interesting transitions.

― Can you tell us more about your encounter with Zenker Brothers? How did you release your first work from Ilian Tape?

Stenny: We met in Turin many Years ago at an after-hour, where we both were djing. I don’t recall many details but I showed some music I had produced. Looking back, I admit it wasn’t so good but they probably understood my intentions and kept an eye on my progress, until they decided to plan a release. Many things have changed and evolved since then, Ultimately I moved to Munich and we established a long lasting relationship based on friendship and mutual trust.

― You and your label-mate, Skee Mask seem to be doing B2B together often. Do you have anything in common? What do you think about his DJing? What is the impressive experience of doing a B2B with him?

Stenny: He’s one of my favorite DJs. He’s brave, he’s fast, he’s technically skilled. He can always surprise you. Our b2b are often a challenge where each tries to overpower the other, we have for almost the entire set 4 hands on the mixer. Sometimes we even argued. It’s really funny and intense. He’s known for his wide music knowledge and collection, that allows him to match any music style he wants to. I learned a lot from him. Our music taste is very alike but we are completely different individuals, that makes it even more interesting.

Stenny, Stenny interview, mixmag

Stenny and Skee Mask playing B2B

― Finally, do you have a message for your fans in Japan?

Stenny: I’m looking forward to coming back and performing in front of you. Can’t wait to experience your amazing culture and explore your country.

English_Denis, Romeo, mu”he

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