Terminal V Podcast 030 || DJ Tennis
Artists like DJ Tennis really need no introduction. Almost as soon as the Italian and his Life and Death brand burst on to the scene the consummate creative changed the game. That was 2010 and since then Manfredi Romano has played his part in blurring the lines between many genres to produce an all-encompassing toolbox of sounds that can take his productions and DJ sets in all manner of directions.
House, Disco, Techno, and even more commercial moments all rub shoulders together courtesy of DJ Tennis. For most the prospect of stitching together these genres together is a stretch but for Manfredi this is par for the course. At play is such a deep understanding of what makes the body move that really anything is possible during his podcast for us and you will never see it coming.
Hey Manfredi, where are we speak to you from today?
I’m in Mexico City spending some time working on different projects and exploring the local scene which is very interesting and there’s an exciting young and upcoming talent with a very interesting taste and very interesting musical direction specially in electronic music. It’s a crossover between indie, electro and disco.
We are over half way through 2021, how has things been going for you so far?
2021 has been much better than 2020. Luckily, I live in the United States and things reopened much quicker than other countries. This allowed me to work and to play and also to develop new things locally in Miami specially and to connect with the people of my city.
What has been happening outside of music and the studio?
Outside of music and studio I’ve been working on a few other businesses including clothing with the Life and Death clothing line and Life and Death website. And bicycles! I’m working on developing a bicycle brand. Stay tuned. I’ll tell more in the near future.
You have had quite a busy year already with regards to your releases, can talk us through your tracks so far?
2020 was very important for me for studio work because I had the chance to spend more time in the studio and to perfect my production techniques. I’ve been studying a lot of new different production approaches and this allowed me to improve my skills in production and I am very grateful to have the chance to improve and grateful to have been inspired during that time because not always you find inspiration.
Sometimes when you struggle you are not inspired but that happens to me when I have limitations. For me limitations are a boost for creativity so I got very inspired in 2020 and this helped me a lot to improve my skills. I worked in many remixes, Boys Noize, Who Made Who to name a few and my first release on Circoloco compilation called Atlanta. Circoloco Records is a new joint venture label between Circoloco and Rockstar Games.
Boys Noize, Jake Shears and Defected, not necessarily names you might hear on the same record. What attracted you to do the remix?
Boys Noize remix started a bit as a.. not really a commitment. Alex asked me if I wanted to remix one of his records and the remix got picked up together with the Purple Disco Machine for Defected and I’m really happy this happened cause I really respect Defected and I’m a big fan of Boys Noize.
You also contributed to the recent Circoloco VA, tell us about ‘Atlanta’ and your chosen style for release?
‘Atlanta’ is the result of a need in my brain to work on positive and happy music. So I decided to work on a Chicago, Detroit’ish house track and I’m very happy cause I want to work on something timeless and less functional.
Talking about your own label, after a decade in the game there appears to be a shift in your scope for the label, tell us where you see Life and Death going in the coming year?
Life and Death is definitely always continuously evolving. It’s always been a label with diverse styles and diverse artistic approaches and I wanted to push boundaries a little bit more. Next releases or current releases like Beatfoot and Ataxia specially, mark this evolution. I wouldn’t call it a shift. I would call it a process of constant evolution. So, expect different kind of styles. I want Life and Death to be a platform for different kind of approaches ranging from Ambient to Post Rock to electro to techno and to rave music. I like the full spectrum. I’m really really inspired by 90’s releases and artists.
What has brought about the shift in the label?
We still don’t have events planned. Our events in Barcelona and during ADE are not going to happen due to uncertainty of the period specially for Europe but we are going on with the Rakastella event. It’s an event that we organise in Miami during Art Basel in collaboration with Innervisions’ Dixon and Ame. Very looking forward to that. It’s going to be the re start of the label events and we are planning something in Mexico, we are planning also something in Portugal but we are waiting still.
Regarding branding, the branding has always been very diverse and psychedelic and I want to continue working with incredible designers like Sam Taylor for example to create always a surprising and very colourful and very eclectic mood.
You switch up your style depending on where you play, where and what style are you happiest playing?
Been collecting music for more than 25 years so my style doesn’t have a specific plan behind it. I like to merge different genres. To go from indie to electro to techno I don’t mind. It’s something that I really pick in the moment. I don’t plan in advance. And I want to keep doing this cause this is kind of my signature approach.
You have mixed the new edition of our podcast, what club or festival could you see this style of mix going down at?
You really don’t know if the style of mix matches any kind of festival. When you do a mix for a podcast is a completely different mind-set than recording a live mix. For me podcasts are more about the journey where I explore more experimental sounds and I combine with uplifting dance sounds. I try to do that as close as I can as a live mix. Sometimes I do it with decks. Sometimes I do with Ableton I don’t mind. For me is the journey that counts.
What secret weapons can we expect to hear in your mix? Anything you have made or edited specifically for your sets?
As I said for me the mix is a journey so I combine obscure music I’ve been digging between vinyl and whichever platforms and adding some secret tracks or non-release tracks from my label. I wouldn’t call them secret weapons. As I said, I work more for the flow than trying to showcase a single track.
Interview by Stu Todd