Danny Tenor is a big deal in Barcelona. Resident DJ for nearly 20 years in some of the cities best night clubs, Danny has built a career based on getting to know his crowds and delivering quality sets 2/3/4 times a week. We all know about the jet setting glitterati A listers, but we never really hear about the grafters, the guys who turn up week after week and perform to a standard as good, if not better than the DJ the crowd has paid to come and see. This is Progressive caught up with one of Spain’s unsung heroes in sunny Barcelona for a chat….
Hi Danny, thanks for agreeing to talk to us at This is Progressive. If I could start at the beginning, tell us how you got the dance music bug and started DJing.
Hi, the pleasure is mine, thanks to you for giving me this opportunity. My interest in dance music began around 1993. Later in 1994, I met a schoolmate who was an amateur DJ, he showed me his DJ equipment and taught me to mix, after that I bought two turntables and I began to practice alone at home.
The 1990s were such a different time for dance music and as such, I guess you’ve seen how cyclic the industry is. Any music genres you would like to return? what about ones you hope never to see again?
That’s correct, 1990 was a very different age from nowadays, however, electronic music is generally borne from the same base and it’s usual that past renowned styles appear again with new and different sounds and using musical fusions. Sincerely, the only thing I miss from that period is the great love and dedication that was used in the productions, above all in the commercial dance music. With all due respect, nowadays it is not that way and this is what I miss, quality in this style of dance music.
For the rest, I recognise that in all periods of time there has been “non commercial music” with quality, however I prefer the current one.
Tell us about your lucky break and how you started working as a resident DJ with the PartyXyou guys.
In 1995 I used to go out to several great clubs in Barcelona, I was quite young (17 years old), I just finished changing my music style due to my fascination with the house music scene in the town. One day, I was playing as a resident DJ in a discotheque and I had a lucky break because a renowned DJ of the city was there and he was listening to my music. After he proposed that I work for him so I met PartyXYou group and then I was hired.
The dance music which springs to mind instantly when I think of Spain and in particular Barcelona is Techno. How have you developed a more progressive scene in a city regarded as a techno’s second city outside of Berlin?
Indeed, before 2000 some clubs tried to, but they didn’t succeed.
Shortly after 2008 Techno began to be accepted in Barcelona, but in most cases TechnoHouse is played. Progressive scene is complicated to be accepted, there is a minority group that really likes it. Between 2000 and 2003 it was a bet on it, but it definitely disappeared, so at present there isn’t a club betting on this musical style, it’s a shame….we still have a long way to progress.
Bet it was hard at first, what do you think was the secret to your success?
And is still complicated…my secret of success is perseverance and my friends, audience and followers.
You have an extensive resume of resident slots. How do you prepare for gigs where the crowd knows you? Do you feel the need to constantly surprise them?
The set structure is essential as well as the selection of the tracks. Nowadays, it would be difficult for me to perform without this philosophy. I try to t surprise my public, using a logical structure, surrounding…in summary..a deep trip.
Do you find you prepare for guest slots differently?
I usually work in my style. Sometimes I must partly modify the DJ sets with more groove to please that public which is oriented to Techno.
Tell us about your radio show – Communications. How did you get that?
It is broadcasted by Golding Wings Radio (Los Angeles – USA). It was an idea from DJ Argentino, who listened me via the internet. I began as a guest DJ and as time went by, they offered me the weekly resident program due to the rise of my audience.
Outside of music, how do you relax? Living in one of the worlds most beautiful cities helps I guess!
The most I like doing is watching nature programs, enjoying the city and it’s cultural offerings.
In the old days, we DJs used to keep a few secret weapon records at the back of the box for difficult crowds. Do you have anything like this? Would you like to tell us what they are?
Hehehe… My secret weapons are always classic tracks, like The Age of Love, Gerd – Arkest’s Blaze, or Der Dritte Raum – Hale Bopp…
Regular gigs must be every young DJs dream, but after a while the reality is that you are up all night and your friends work all day. It can be lonely being a resident DJ, so how do you balance your working life with a personal life?
It can be perfectly balanced as long as I take it professionally and get enough time for a working life. When a DJ travels constantly, then he only must be dedicated to music, but not in my case.
Any interesting stories from behind the scenes you can share?
The best experience I had as a DJ was in Culture Electronic Festival (Badajoz-Spain) about 6000 people and 30.000W of sound where I was playing with great Techno stars Bando (Primate Records UK) and Christian Wünsch (Tsunami Records)
What was your most embarrassing/ funny DJ mistake?
There are some situations which are embarrassing. The worst is to err the track on the mixer or to make a mistake with the turntable…cutting the music sharply is always embarrassing…
Given what you know now, what advice would you give to young DJs just starting out?
Two pieces of advice:
First of all: to bet for what you are motivated to, independently whether is a trend or not.
Secondly: before starting, it’s important to learn how to mix. It’s essential to hear a lot of music, the musical psychology and culture is a must; to be a DJ is not only playing whatever you like in any way, is an art of technical and common sense; the structure of the set, the connection with the public and the equalisation scale and optimal levels are fundamental.
A DJ who knows how to mix but doesnt know how to do the rest points is not considered, by my side, a good DJ.
Finally, any future plans you can share with us?
Someday in a future, I also would like to dedicate part of my time to music production.
I have done some works in this field, but it still doesn’t sound good enough. The world of a music producer has nothing to do with world of a DJ.