14 questions with… TENSNAKE
Computer Music|December 2020
After being given a classic drum machine, Hamburg-based Marco Niemerski started releasing music under the name Tensnake, including the worldwide hits Coma Cat and Love Sublime with Nile Rogers. Not a bad gift…
Nile Rogers

Tensnake, aka Marco Niemerski, has been making infectious house and disco music since 2005 during which time he has collaborated with Nile Rogers, Stuart Price and Jamie Liddell, launched his own label True Romance and remixed everyone from Pet Shop Boys to Dua Lipa. And all because of an unwanted drum machine. Time to take our 15 (aka 14) questions challenge…

1 Do you have a production philosophy?

T: “I try to stay open minded when I work with other people. Working on my own can become limiting. Exchanging knowledge with other producers helps gain new perspectives.”

2 When did you get into production?

T: “I think I must have been around nine or 10 years old, when my older brother came home with a [Roland] TR-606. He was the drummer of a band and played just for fun. The band leader was a pretty wealthy dude and bought the drum machine but never had any use for it. So my brother brought it home for me to play around with, and from that moment on I was hooked. Not much later I got a Yamaha RX11 for Christmas and birthday together and at the same time I got a C64 and slowly got familiar with computer-generated music. Then I got my first PC, connected the gear via a MIDI box and used my first DAW, which if I remember correctly, was Cakewalk.”

3 You’ve seen some changes since then…

T: “Oh it has changed completely. Back then I was addicted to buying new (or used) outboard gear and as I did not have a lot of money, I always had to sell old stuff to be able to buy new synths or drum machines. Eventually I sold most of my gear as plugins became better.”

4 So you switched to software?

T: “These days I mostly use software and I am fascinated by the fact that I can pull up an incredible-sounding Prophet-5, add some greatsounding tape saturation and compression and it sounds super close to the real deal. And all of that on my laptop. I developed the same addiction I had for synths, but now for plugins! I love to try out new software and to be inspired by different presets, sounds or workflows.”

5 Tell us about the rest of your studio

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