An interview with Matthias Tanzmann

Matthias Tanzmann started his DJ and production career in the mid nineties in Leipzig, playing regularly at the renowned club ‘Distillery’. Founder of Moon Harbour Recordings and sub label Cargo Edition, he has since had loads of releases, having been playlisted by renowned DJ’s all over the world. Synonymously linked with quality deep-house and tech-house, he has released many records from the likes of Luna City Express, Marlow, Martinez and Dan Drastic. His success has won him a residency at the famous party series Circoloco at DC10 in Ibiza since 2007. Playing regularly on both the Balearic Isle and at international Circoloco shows, resulting in 3 consecutive nominations at the Ibiza DJ Awards.

Just to warn you Matthias, some of these questions don’t have question marks.

Do you mind if some answers do?

Few of us can predict the future, but as a captain of your industry, could you make an insight as to where you see yourself in dance music’s fluctuating future?

Hopefully soon playing live with my new project ‘Better Lost Than Stupid‘ alongside Martin Buttrich and Davide Squillace. We have the live show scheduled for 2013.

What are your thoughts on the rather subjective 2012 DJ Awards? Are you proud to have made the ‘Deep House’ nominations this year? Other nominees included Dan Ghenacia, Dixon, Dyed Soundorom, Jamie Jones, Kerri Chandler, Maceo Plex, Maya Jane Coles and Solomun. Who would you have win? (Besides yourself in the third person of course).

Yes, of course I am honored. Especially since deep house is where I am coming from. The nominees include both the rather classic and the current sound. I am not sure if I would call all of that deep house, but each nominee is a great artist. I would probably give my vote to Dixon. I have always been a big fan of him and his Innervisions label.

An awesome sound that you’ve heard recently?

I spent a few days on Corsica in August. At a supermarket there was a dispenser for plastic bags next to the fruits display. It was not fixed so whenever somebody pulled out a bag it would oscillate and its metal foot would make this repetitive sound knocking on the floor. I recorded it. Not sure if I can use it for something.

Do you have any dance music role models who have inspired you? Or are you a master of your own environment? There’s no doubt this list could be long and endless, so maybe you could give us a few unexpected wild cards…

I am a big fan of Matthew Herbert. He was a big influence to me when I got into house music in the 90s. The way he created music and how he performed it live was mind blowing to me. Moodymann would be another reference or what the guys from SVEK did many years ago.

What’s your favourite post party recovery technique?


When a door closes a window opens. Do you climb through the window, or do you take the door?

Depends if I wanna get in or out.

Rare, medium rare, or well done? (We didn’t include Vegetarians on this questionnaire).

Medium rare.

Was it always dance music for you, or did you go through other musical phases? I particularly enjoyed the industrial ice cream grind-sponge era a few years back. Any pseudo genres that you were particularly fond of?

I think that era was totally overrated. Personally I always preferred post Croatian folk / German Schlager-core cross over.

Your Fabric 65 tracklist strongly reflects the current aesthetic of your recent DJ sets. A particularly stand out selection was Monkey Maffia’s ‘Sources From The Past’. This highly original rework takes its origins from swampland Mississippi, telling the southern gothic tale of the bridge hopping Billy Joe Macallister. Do you intentionally use non-dance related acapellas in your mixes to establish a link with the past?

No, I don’t. I actually had no idea where Sören (Monkey Maffia) got the vocals from. But I like the way he used them for his track. In my DJ sets I hardly play acapellas on top of the mixes.

With one foot in a clown suit while the other plays a tuba, you’re venerable high-profile residency at DC-10’s ‘Circoloco’, remains to be a sultry and epic affair. This is where your ubiquitous ‘Better Lost than Stupid’ side project including Martin Butrich, Davide Squillace and yourself, continues to champion the island’s minimalistic love of groove laden tech-house. When can we expect a ‘Better Lost Than Stupid’ album release?

We are working on it right now. We meet for one week every month in Barcelona and lock ourselves into the studio. It should be ready for 2013.