Italian producer Stenny has become a mainstay over at Zenker Brothers‘ Ilian Tape. He met Zenker Brothers in Turin, Italy, and quickly became a key figure in the Munich based label. Over the past six years, Stenny has released a number of EPs on Ilian Tape, including this summer’s incredibly popular Stress Test, all leading up to his most recent release, Upsurge. We got the chance to speak with Stenny about his journey to this point.
Hi Stenny, thank you for taking the time to speak with Monument. I’m sure you’re very busy with the release of your debut album Upsurge on Ilian Tape. Congratulations on a fantastic release. I’m sure you must be delighted to have your album come out on such a great label. Earlier this year you released Stress Test which was an undeniable banger. When you are producing your music, do you know which ones are going to go down the best? Did you know there was something special about Stress Test?
I feel pleased when I hear that a track has a particularly good result, but, no, I don‘t really know specifically which ones will be more appreciated. I have received very good feedback many times about tunes I literally hate.
But, I guess, no one is fully cool with their own results.
Your production style suits Ilian Tape’s sound perfectly. You’ve been working with the Zenker Brothers for quite a long time now. How did you begin working with the label?
I started working for Ilian Tape many years ago, after meeting Dario and Marco in Turin.
Straight after a gig, they asked if I maybe had some music to show them, but this was long before the first release. It was a long process and I’m happy it went that way.
The Ilian Tape camp has a lot of very talented producers. Do you work together within the studio while producing your projects, or is it more of an individual effort?
I feel more like an individual producer, but I still enjoy making music with other people, even just for fun. I think I made music either with Dario and Marco, Skee Mask and Andrea, but recently I didn‘t have too much time to invest in collaborations as I was very busy with the LP.
Your sound has a certain stylistic quality which makes it recognizable almost instantly when heard within a DJ set. Was this an intentional decision or did it happen naturally?
Certainly I aimed to create a certain sound aestethic during the last few years but with time, things evolved spontaneously and eventually some possibility emerged within the process. My tracks are not really randomly happening, I start with ideas but often they morph into something that I still don‘t know how to define, and I don‘t intend to do so.
And it is not Breakbeat although the beats are broken.
I think is just the natural result of a certain process I generally adopted while making music. I don’t intend to get stuck or repeat myself too much and I hope to be able to push things forward constantly.
The move from making EPs to making an album is a great jump. How did you find the difference within the creative process?
In my case i just tried to move the focus through different scales. Like in a architecture project, wherein you have to design from a 1:1 hyper detailed scale, to the landscape overview.
It started with very far and sparse ideas and sketches which have been produced in a time span of 2/3 years.
Some of these ideas didn’t dissolve in time so I went back to them but with new methods, and slowly the whole picture started to appear. I had this album in mind since years but for a reason or another I’ve never been able to fully concentrate on it.
Your sound is very break-beat intensive. Do you find software as proficient as hardware when making this style of techno?
It makes no difference at all. It just depends on someone’s workflow.
I like more the full hands on approach instead of sitting at the computer and moving the mouse, but there’s some mind blowing software which I just need to use more and more. I just use it in synergy with the hardware and the possibilities become endless.
When you were making Upsurge, did you have a concept in mind, or was it more of a series of songs made in a certain period in time?
I had a concept but not such as deconstructing a genre or pretending to sound post/avant anything.
I was influenced by the exponential acceleration towards an uncertain future we are witnessing as human beings, and the feelings that come with that. That’s why Upsurge.
I wanted to create something meaningful and personal, which I would love to listen, eventually forever. I wanted to frame those years of change and transition towards a new phase of my life. I’m not sure if I have been successful yet, time will tell.
Now that the creative process is over for Upsurge, will you focus more on DJing, or are you more of a person who always needs to have a project on the go?
I have new projects in mind already. I’m happy to focus on DJing as well, it’s something I love and requires a lot of dedication.
I take it very seriously, my commitment to DJing is full. I have so much respect for it.
Do you have the same mentality behind the decks as you do within the studio?
I might have a similar approach. At the decks I play other people’s music, therefore I have very different factors influencing my choices.
I can decide to play rather functionally, or to experiment, but generally it is a mix of the two, as it happens in my own music.
My sets can be rough and banging, very physical, but also touching when it’s needed.
If there were one record that you would have to bring with you to every DJ set you play, what would it be?
Autechre – Anvil Vapre
Thank you for taking the time to speak with Monument, on behalf of everyone I would like to say that we really appreciate you speaking with us and that we really love your new record.
Upsurge is available on Ilian Tape now. You can preview the record via Ilian Tape’s Soundcloud below.