Truancy Volume 232: Stenny

Stenny is an essential producer in driving forward the sound of Ilian Tape. He has remained loyal to Ilian’s sonic aesthetic while carving his own musical path with incredible finesse. We can confirm, having seen him play at Herrensauna in Tresor and the Backdrop party in Newcastle’s Cosmic Ballroom, that his DJ sets are as exceptional as the records he releases. A versatile, adventurous and tough approach allow for constant forward momentum and a truly unrelenting energy on the dancefloor. Though the beats may be broken, his flow is anything but. His Truancy Volume proves just that – it is gripping at every turn with the energy and flare he channels into the set going some way to demonstrate his almighty capabilities when at the helm of the party. From playing football in the parks of his hometown Turin, to touring the world’s most respected clubs from his new home in Munich, his fast paced ascent is hard earned and well deserved.

Listening to your productions, going back to Solstice Deity from 2013, it is clear you had your own unique sonic palette, but one that still fit within what Ilian Tape were aiming to do musically. You and Ilian have remained very loyal to one another, with all of your own releases to date emerging on the label. How did your ongoing relationship with them start? “Around 2011, I used to play occasionally at this after hour club called Doctor Sax in Turin. I’ve been already following Ilian Tape’s output back then, so I suggested to book Dario and Marco for a label night, where I played as one of the support DJs. In the following months, we reached out to each other several times, and eventually shared some music, until someday they offered me to release one track on a VA. Nearly at the same time I begun music with Andrea, we built a studio and started working on new material to present to the label. We all agreed that focusing priorly on this project would have been be the best way to create a solid group, so things went on and one year later I’ve got my first EP signed.”

Your productions remind me in part of the great British Murder Boys, with a nod to Bristol’s Livity Sound influence perhaps. Your most recent Old Bad Habits EP from 2017 masterfully brought in some deeper melodic moments of transcendency, reminiscent of Surgeon’s latest album Luminosity Device. Who do you personally feel has influenced your music making? “I had countless sources of inspiration, mostly coming through records I was buying at the store Ultrasuoni. There you could find every sort of import stuff, so I started collecting music from Detroit and the United Kingdom, such as Underground Resistance, Anthony Shakir, Drexciya, or Rephlex Records, Warp, Boards Of Canada. Birmingham Techno is obviously my thing too, and I’m really into New Wave, Post Punk derivatives and all sorts of avantgarde experimental stuff. Ultimately I have the fortune to hang out with The Zenker Brothers, Skee Mask and Andrea, and to release on their same platform which I consider a incredibly inspiring environment.”

You just came back from your first tour of Asia and India How did you find your time over there and what were the particular highlights? I am interested to know how the scene in India is developing. “This tour was great experience, as it was my first time ever in Asia, I enjoyed it to the fullest. India was truly fascinating, totally worth to spent some extra days in Mumbai and Delhi. I’ve never seen such extremes in my life! It’s so intense. The road traffic is absolutely delirious, but I loved the vibe, the culture and the food. I’ve got to know very smart and dedicated people and the scene seems to have a lot of potential. The second week I’ve travelled to Singapore, Vietnam and in Seoul, which also really surprised me. I felt very welcome. Beton Brut is definitely a great club run by very nice people.”  

The last time I saw you play myself was at Herrensauna in Tresor. It was one of the most intense and brilliant techno experiences of my entire life! Which other parties do you always savour playing? “I loved that party, was probably one of the best night I had in Berlin.. wild crowd, no bullshit and cool people. I’ve been often invited at the City Club in Augsburg, and I recommend you to check this place, it’s one of my favorite clubs, completely DIY and so real. Looking at the bigger picture, I really enjoy what I’m doing and I can’t imagine my life without it. Of course, not all promoters have access to such a space, sound or expertise as Tresor. From your experience, what elements combine to make a wild and memorable party? “I’m not sure, I guess that’s something you can’t really plan in my opinion. Of course, it is about the efforts you put into the night, but is really unpredictable. Knowing the secret I will probably start my own night.”

Your sets take in more broken and adventurous elements than many other techno DJs. How do you find the reception varies to the music you play when you tour internationally compared to back in Germany? Is there an open-mindedness you find all over? “I definitely play techno music, but not exclusively, it’s not about pretending to be eclectic, but the way I have fun. I believe the geographic location itself doesn’t really matter anymore, as music is much more accessible to anyone. When I prepare for set, I always keep in mind that the response may be unpredictable, therefore I just pack a lot of different music and try to make a journey out of it, and that’s somehow what keeps the whole thing challenging.”

You work in a record shop in your adopted home of Munich. Which store is this and do you find working there helps inform your musical career? “It’s a big record store called Optimal. We have all kind of music and a small selection of books. I work only part time and i’m taking care of the electronic section which is pretty big. There is a lot of work to do, but when the vibe is good I have a lot of fun. It’s both amazing for my music culture as disastrous for my finances… I love that.”

Can you tell us a little bit more about your musical upbringing in Italy, and do you recall your first true “rave” experience growing up or other important musical moments or influences you enjoyed at a young age? “I grew up in the outskirts of Turin, so there wasn’t really much exciting stuff to do. Smoking at the park, playing football… stuff like that. I had this idea of making electronic music since I was a kid, the very first input came through video games soundtracks such Wipeout 2097 or Ghost In The Shell, so when I got my first PC I had some demo software for making beats and that was the fun. At the age of 15, I started to go to some Hard-style Techno parties on Sunday afternoons. I still have to laugh so much when I think about it, but actually that’s how I got into DJing. A group of older friends were really into techno, they knew all the good stuff, so occasionally we would spend time listening DJ mixes in the car, driving around the block or to some Bar in the city center. When I dropped my architecture studies, I had different jobs and spent mostly of my free time raving, playing records in my room and occasionally DJ in some local clubs.”

How are you finding balancing the other aspects of life as your touring and release schedule grows busier? “I’m not completely balanced yet, I used to have 2 jobs beside music, but I couldn’t keep up jumping from a place to another. My producing flow just didn’t exist anymore, I nearly went crazy, so right now I just work part time at the store and make music.”

When, where and with what did you record the mix and what was the thinking behind your musical choices? “The mix was recorded at Blitz Club, with 2 Technics Turntables and 2 cdjs. I selected around 30/40 tracks and tried to mix them spontaneously without really planning a tracklist, as I would do normally behind the decks. I recorded 2 takes, with a slightly different tracklist and using two different mixers, Xone 92 and a Model1. I chose the second mix due to a better sound quality and mixing.”


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Joseph Clarke