Are you in? In conversation with tINI
tINI, mINI, miney, mo.
It's rare to find an artist who’s truly living and breathing each moment, who’s open-minded and up for anything. An artist who’s incredibly personal, yet remains a figure of enigmatic curiosity and mystery.
Following a five year absence since her 'Tessa' EP on Desolat, tINI declares she’s been “letting her work breathe.”
October 2018 saw the German producer and DJ launch her new label, Part Of The Gang, breaking her previous radio silence. Her multifaceted production has “grown up” over the years, incorporating depth and technique.
Future plans include remixes from Mr G, collaborations with JAW and the release of more secret weapons from the likes of Bodeler, some of which she’s been teasing out at clubs to hoards of curious dancers. One track in particular is made up of nonsensical vocals capable of making crowds “lose their mind”.
Her tip? Play the stuff out before you release it, and if no one gets bored after a year, you’re on to a winner. On that note, tINI claims she sees herself as micro manager of sorts. In emphasising that “everything is welcome based on my taste,” tINI doesn’t want to follow a stylistic path with the gang, preferring to avoid a strict label-defining genre.
Born and raised in Munich, we throw it back to her youth, a time when she was snowboarding on the regular, and listening to indie and hip-hop. I ask how she thinks Munich compares to growing up in London and breaking into the music industry. We conclude that depending on which city you’re based in and who you hang out with, given there’s variety, that anything is possible and just to “get lost in it!”
It was her first ever visit to Ibiza which really inspired her musical path. As an early 80's baby – to which she calls herself a “millennial” – her introduction to techno was through no other than the indisputable Queen of DC10, Tania Vulcano. Previously caught up in the 2 step scene, tINI claims that this first experience at Space was something truly ahead of its time: “progressive, hypnotic and tribal.”
After quickly gaining a reputation for meeting the constant demand for fresh, new, weird sounds, tINI became a valuable asset to the underground. With a deep-spirited ethos audibly and visually, she began producing in 2008.
She informs me of her roots, stemming from Richie Hawtin’s V.4 Minus movement, Magda, Troy Pierce, Mini-Bar Sound, Marc Houle, Archipel and more. Hearing these reduced sounds work without overbearing synths or vocals left an indelible mark on the German producer. However, despite such epiphanous encounters, jumping on the same wave as everyone else wasn’t part of her plan.
“It gets big, you lose focus in the other things. Then something else comes along with a different request and you’re left gigless.”
I suggest that with minimal, quite literally ‘less is more’; as a genre it allows for greater levels of experimentation due to its recognition and appreciation of intricacy. For tINI however, combining elements from multiple genres “whilst finding the minimal aspects” and fusing something new is key. Ultimately, this allows the German artist to do it her own way.
By 2010 tINI had formed her gang in an organic fashion. What started simply as a cool party, very quickly shaped itself into a brand, made only with 100% love. tINI has seen how The Gang actually has the potential as a platform for impact. What's next, The tINI Retreat? The tINI Hotel?
“I am open to everything” she chuckles.
With plans to play less and put more time into future projects, we discuss ‘Heart Of The Gang’ (a dream label of hers), finding new artists, and giving them the possibility and opportunity to tour with her. It doesn’t stop there. ‘Art Of The Gang’, another partition of her label, gathering DJs/artists and taking care of their work whether it be through exhibitions or party visuals are all topics of discussion.
tINI and The Gang is truly malleable with ideas ready to be spun far and wide. For her, keeping focused is loving what you do and knowing why…
“If the motivation is to be rich and famous, fair play, but live the passion all the way through.”
Her biggest support has been from her male colleagues. Her advice to those females seeking to get into the scene:
“Don’t be a lazy mixer, that’s not to say you can’t get away with CDJ's…”
However with vinyl’s extra baggage and expense the sync button isn’t for her to judge. If that’s how you are comfortable making magic then so be it.
Elsewhere she pleads, “don’t promote yourself as feebly sexy, if you are a good DJ nobody cares about looks or the big tits.” Time investment into image will be appreciated nonetheless. Elseways, “don’t jump into the business too early, convinced of a career and then let the real life slip.” Find stability and know you can survive without having to take a gig which leaves you stuck with something that’s not you.
With all this to reflect on, how does she keep her sanity in a world that’s non-stop, driven by the night time and with the potential to be very lonely? Her secret for the road: good friends, food, sleep, exercise and meditation. Never would she have thought the latter would have such an impact on her life, helping her body adapt to those late nights when everything else goes to sleep. No wonder tINI is always seen to be smiling and dancing.
There was a time for tINI when she lived in constant fear which she describes as "bullshit". However, after leaving her agency and losing the party beach in Ibiza, it was time for her to make a transition. For 6 years she travelled with her tour manager, ‘Authentic Blach’ (Roberto Blach). Having a friend alongside her was the only way she found “to make it work”. After certain nights, when things might not have played out as expected, sometimes you just need someone give you a hug and say “it’s okay.”
tINI admits to being capable of taking a lot of physical/psychological stress, but knows when to listen to her body if things become too much. She vows to take one week of downtime off per month whilst making sure she keeps the happy medium between djing and the dance.
“I come from the dancefloor – so wherever I go out you’re going to find me around there.”
Over the years she’s experienced a plethora of memorable moments. Of particular note is the 31 hours – “more than a day!” – of unplanned back to back with Bill Patrick, one of her nearest and dearest whose shared the fun and the tears.
Others include her exploits in the early years:, under the glamourous DJ duo name of ‘Shaved Legs’, tINI and her friend Anna played in an abandoned Dresden gas station filled with “sleazy men, around-the-world themed rooms, everything in one.”
It would be rude not to mention the other very special B2B with Enzo Siragusa. Her relationship with Enzo was the beginning of a movement all the way back to the days at 93 Feet East, playing a solid 8 hours of 120 bpm. Together they helped one another to form fuse: stripped back, minimal, dubby and slowed down grooves.
“We created our own sound and we weren’t even aware of it!”
Fast-forward to this summer in Ibiza, a step up from what tINI calls their “underground peanut world,” the two find themselves meeting in the middle, rolling on with the tINI and Enzo duo.
For those that don’t know about tINI and The Gang’s lengthy summer residency at Underground club, she offers a little glimmer as to why this the island remains so magical for dancers.
“Everyone’s meeting in one place for the party, you meet friends from all over the world on the dancefloor, the weathers always good but you’re there for one reason of course.”
With the struggle of over-commercialisation that the island goes through, tINI still manages to find a window of uniqueness. Her party emphasizes quality over quantity, real music over big lines up, happiness over riches and those who play are there to keep the spirit alive. Whatever comes out goes straight back into the artists. Turning down offers from sponsorships, she states she wants nothing more but to “stay free” and able to make her own rules. Many hypothesise that “you think like this now, but in a few years you’re going to think differently.”
Despite such claims, tINI states she will “never change”.
“I’ve seen brands popping up in Ibiza with their first season going amazing, before disappearing because they want more, more, more. If you put everything on this exaggerated level, you miss out on what actually makes the people smile… all the smaller details.”
For tINI it’s about the little things: the giveaways, the coming down to the party early to say hi, not selling the brand for nothing and letting the concept get shaky. Curating tINI and The Gang was the moment she really stood back and thought about what it actually stands for. It’s all about the familiar feeling, the faces and the gang… But who are they?
“Everyone is the gang, whether it’s new artists, or I meet you on the road. There’s no limitation to this thing. The gang is growing in all directions.”
Her first logo she designed, with the united T and G, represents the fusion of both sexes, no separation or exclusion of gender and sexuality. Anywhere she goes, The Gang comes with.
"It's really all inclusive…"
tINI will be back in the London stomping ground in Fabric, February, 2019. Follow her on Facebook HERE.