tINI: The Gang’s All Here



Summer in Ibiza can be classified into two categories the Mediterranean island is acutely known for – live music and the beautiful scenery. Though I can’t say I’ve personally soaked in the Ibizan surroundings while listening to a DJ set live, it is an item worthy of being added onto a bucket list. German DJ-producer, tINI, kicked off the fourth season of her acclaimed “tINI & The Gang” party series at Sands Beach Bar in Ibiza last Wednesday. Along with hosting her weekly house and techno infused beach parties, tINI will also have a weekly DJ spot on her very own radio show, “It Could Be Worse,” via Ibiza Sonica.

Here, Life+Times speaks to tINI about her post Mysteryland USA adventures into summer and how house music’s “sexiness is missing.”

Life + Times: So tINI, how have you been? What do you have planned for the summer?
: I would say I have a pretty busy summer coming up. Crazy schedule. I thought I was touring a lot last year, but even more this year. (Looks over at tour manager) I have my lovely tour manager here sitting next to me making it possible. What do I have planned? I think the biggest thing coming up right now is another season of “tINI & The Gang” in Ibiza. As well as I’m back with a radio show talking bullshit on the radio. So, people can decide again if they want to hear my voice or not.

L+T: Obviously they do.
: Well, at the end of the day it’s a radio show.

L+T: Exactly. If they don’t like it, they can switch it.
: But also a lot of people like the nonsense that I talk. So, I will do this again Tuesdays on Ibiza Sonica Radio. This time I won’t play, I will just host, present new artists, upcoming talent, and give them a platform. Pretty much the same concept is happening again at the beach with “tINI &The Gang.” We’re in our fourth season already. [There will] be some new artists and some artists that already played there last summer. Yeah, I’m pretty excited for this because we stay at the same beach, different name this time, but same concept. It’s gonna be free, mostly underground artists, and I try to keep it low-key, but high quality music. This takes a lot of work, so I wish I had more time for studio; but at the moment it’s a bit difficult. I do have some stuff, but I’m a perfectionist so I’m never really satisfied. I can’t promise there will be an album out anytime soon, but for sure some releases. I’m working on stuff. At the moment my focus is certainly on the summer and all this touring; and then take all of this experience and inspiration to the studio after.

L+T: Sounds like a solid plan to me. So, when you host your “tINI & The Gang” party and your radio show – how do you find these different artists to feature? Do they submit demos or are they artists you stumble upon while you’re touring?
: Mostly I do stumble upon them or hear them playing. There’s some guys, for example, Bodeler that’s playing with me this summer. I met him in Argentina. He sent me tracks way before I met him and then I had some gigs in January this year in Mar del Plata and he was just riding me like, “C’mon, let’s meet up. I’ll take you to the beach, show you around.” I met him and his friends and they were the most amazing people. We had the most amazing time. I never actually heard him playing…I know the stuff that he produces is the kind of music that I like. I play a lot of his stuff. He’s one of the person’s that I stumbled over more or less. Yeah, there’s a lot of other new artists and young kids that keep on following “The Gang” and supporting “The Gang.” One boy from Switzerland, Archie – for example – he’s gonna play for “The Gang.” There’s João [Maria], a really good DJ from Portugal.

L+T: Wow! They’re from everywhere.
: Yeah, they are. I’m not sure if I can bring everyone to Ibiza, but I’m gonna host some “tINI & The Gang” parties outside of the island as well. So, I’m gonna find a way to bring people from all over to have a good mixture of the gang.

L+T: Cool. Have you thought about going global with your parties, like hosting ‘tINI & The Gang in the States?
: Yes, I did. We talked a bit already. We had a show at Art Basel at Space [Nightclub] in Miami. We did Mexico (BPM Festival) for the second year, the second time this year. I know there’s requests from Australia, there’s requests from South America, so the possibility is there, but I don’t want to sell out yet. (Laughs)

L+T: That’s not selling out. Come on!
: (Laughs) No, don’t get me wrong. It’s more like I’m scared that if everything goes too fast with the brand…I think the summer is gonna bring a lot more awareness from the people again. So, I totally believe that things happen at their time. There’s a time window and a time frame for everything. Right now, we’re gonna host “tINI & The Gang” in Madrid. There’s gonna be one in Italy. There’s one planned in the UK, but I don’t want to force anything. So, I know the possibilities are there which makes me very happy, but I take it very easy. If it’s not happening this year, it might happen next year, or the following year after.

L+T: When you’re ready.
: Yeah, when I’m ready and when it feels right. I don’t want to push it too much. I just want to make it happen naturally.

L+T: Your fans can tell if you’re just trying to put something out just to market and sell versus being like, “This is tINI. This is how I roll.”
: Yeah, I’ve got my tempo for everything, I would say.

L+T: Exactly. In regards to music overall, you have a very diverse background. It’s not just house, techno, or hip hop – it’s everything.
: Definitely.

L+T: What would you say particularly got you involved in producing and DJing?
: Actually it was the start in going out in Munich. Electronic music that I went out to in the beginning was more like two-step and UK garage. It was a night area in Germany, there was a club called Raum Acht which means “Room 8.” There were parties with the two-step music…and there were parties happening at the old airport in Munich – where the whole techno scene started. So, it happened every now and then that I’d just stumble over to the other club and I’d discover this other music and I was like, ‘Wow. I really like this.’ It was really dark and in a nasty club with grungy spots in that club. It was really underground music at that time. I really got into it. Then, I travelled to Ibiza for the first time and I heard Loco Dice in 2002 or 2003, and I totally got hooked up.

L+T: I do like much of Germany’s electronic music scene. One of my favorite places is Suicide Circus in Berlin.
: You know how to speak German? Ein bisschen?

L+T: Nein. Ich bin Gabby. I can read it, but as far as responding back…you see what just happened. (Laughs)
: Well, I understand. Your German is better than my Japanese. That’s something.

L+T: I’m a work in progress. Going forward in this music scene that’s constantly evolving and introducing hybrid genres, do you ever think certain genres will just die out? So, instead of it just being house – it turns into a genre and term connected with a new or recycled sound.
: House will hopefully never disappear! House and techno are essentials and basics for everything. I myself, I’m not a big fan of all this synthy EDM craziness happening. I mean, I don’t want to diss anyone, like everyone can play and like whatever they want; it’s just that when it gets into my zone it doesn’t touch me. It makes me feel uncomfortable when I’m jumping into a cab in Miami and there’s terrible noise that is happening. I feel like I’m too old because this is what my dad says about my music. Well, that’s not what he says about my music, but that’s how I feel old people think about our music – “It’s just noise!” I’m like, ‘Am I just old?’ I don’t know. The sexiness is missing and its charm. Real house is something so sexy.

It’s funny what they call deep house these days, especially on Beatport. I think it’s a joke. You cannot take it seriously. Everything is “deep house” now and actually it’s “tech house” and what used to be “tech house” is whatever. I don’t even know anymore. There’s so many words to call music. I don’t like to categorize stuff. I just know what I like. I play deep house, I play house, I play dub techno, I play techno, I play tech house, dub-y stuff, [and] minimal. There’s some eclectic stuff and everything. I can’t really say this and that is going to die out or this and that is going to survive or come up. For this, I think you really need to be a genius to know. I have the feeling that it does go back to the more raw and analog sounding music. You can tell vinyl is coming back and I’m so happy about that because I’m a vinylhead. I’m a collector since I started deejaying 11 years ago. I buy vinyl and I never stop. If you see me playing on Traktor, you mostly hear me playing digital vinyl. In a festival I play more energetic and I play different everywhere I go. Sometimes I look at Gregori, my tour manager, like, ‘Wow. I’m a different DJ.’ That’s what I love. I think the magic of being a DJ is you have so much music to choose from and then you find a certain track for every moment. That’s why I don’t like to record my sets and play them to people or even listen to them because there’s just this one song that’s hitting in at this very moment – you’ll never experience the same emotion. Even if you play the same sets at different clubs, it won’t hit you again twice. I never play the same set twice.

L+T: That’s really good. That’s becoming a rare thing. I can almost predict what song will be played next when it comes to certain DJs.
: I definitely have my favorite songs that you will find in each of my sets, but the directions I go always depends on the club, people, and the vibe. And I forgot the question?

L+T: It’s okay. We just ended up in this conversation.
: That’s good.

L+T: Last question – Do you think a DJ is a musician?
: Yeah, I do think. If it’s a good DJ, it’s definitely a musician. If you use your instruments right – I would say I sometimes play with three or four channels open and I’m not thinking – then you can really create something. You have this little beat coming, this melody on the side, [and] you have this major beat or track. For me the biggest magic – and what a lot of DJs don’t get because they play very loopy and it happens to me as well I’m not always the perfect DJ – but there’s always a special moment and you can feel it when you mix one track into the other and two melodies create a third one. It’s a great something that only happens with two songs in that moment. Then, you sort of make music. When you’re totally lost in it and then you feel right away, it’s like playing freestyle piano. You just use your tools. There’s definitely just DJs that play songs by other people. So, no not every DJ is a musician, but the possibility is there.