As Oliver Huntemann gears up for another big year of touring and releases, we caught up with the German techno mainstay to discuss his credible label Senso Sounds, reworking his iconic track ‘Tranquilizer’, his newly established Taqueria restaurant ‘Holy Taco’ and much more.
WWD: Hello Oliver, welcome back to WWD! Let’s dive straight in. 2019 was a busy year for you and your label, Senso Sounds. What were some of your highlights?
It’s great to be back, thanks for having me! 2019 was one of the busiest years I had. It’s hard to pick a highlight but for sure my label turning ﬁve was one. We had great showcases with almost every artist from the label at various unique locations around the globe. Unforgettable our rooftop pool parties in Barcelona or the 24hrs madness at Kafes and Module in Istanbul – just to name few.
WWD: You ended the year by reworking your 2011 classic ‘Tranquilizer’ collaboratively alongside Hidden Empire, Ilija Djokovic and Christian. What spurred you to want to update the track?
Bringing ‘Tranquilizer’ back came to my mind after a few open air gigs. Especially those ending with a sunrise on a beach. I often found myself, digging for the right track in these moments, just a few minutes before my set time ends. Most of the time I ended up with Tranquilizer. Not too unusual to play my own track of course but the reaction was always massive, even after all those years. I ended up tweaking the track on my own to give Tranquilizer an up to date touch. At the same time it got to my mind that a rework from other artists would be great to bring the track back. As I’m quite picky with selecting remixers for my own music, it did take almost a year until everything was ready. But the wait was worth it. All the remixes are amazing and beyond expectations.
WWD: You’ve been touring all over the place too! What’s been your most memorable gig of 2019 and why?
My most memorable gig was probably one of my last gigs in 2019. I played in Bogota and was not aware that they’ve installed ﬁreworks right above my head. They dropped those crazy loud and bright rockets during my opening track. My face for sure made a good expression. Someone took a video of the whole scenario and I had to laugh a lot when I watched it as it looks like everything is going to be out of control and then the party continues with full energy. In that moment I was indeed a bit scared but it was a show for the books.
WWD: You must be happy to tick off yet another successful year. How did you celebrate on New Year Eve?
As I just came back from Mexico and India in late December and I was really happy to have the night off. I went to my tour manager’s house and celebrated with him and his family while my wife and the two boys were staying in Mexico City on NYE. Therefore I had a Senso Sounds New Years Day Party on the 1st of January which started at 8am and lasted 24hrs.
WWD: The last time you were featured on WWD, you were announcing the opening of Holy Taco – your newly established Mexican food outlet! How’s things been going for the restaurant since its grand opening in Hamburg?
I really can not complain. Holy Taco was welcomed by Hamburg and its people with a very big heart. We are booked out almost every day – since day one. The critics are amazing and it’s great to see how much our guests appreciate the concept and the food, especially after more than one year of work, blood and sweat from the ﬁrst ideas till opening. I’m very grateful about that.
WWD: You’ve been running your label Senso Sounds since 2014 and it’s been going from strength to strength. What aspects/characteristics do you look for in young artists hoping to get signed up?
The most important thing is a good idea and the love for detail. I kind of like a personal signature within the tracks. Making your sound stand out from the crowd maybe takes a bit longer but lasts longer too.
WWD: Is there anyone out there at the moment that you’d like to produce/collaborate with?
I keep collabs very rare as I even have problems to ﬁnd enough time for my own productions. That’s why Dubﬁre and me always take years until we ﬁnish a new track. We’ve been exchanging sketches from our next „Element“ for a year and for sure it will take some more months. I’m busy enough with that and don’t think about an additional collabs.
WWD: What’s it like to be a touring DJ in your ﬁfties? Do you still get a kick from the constant moving around or does it eventually become tiresome?
Touring keeps me young. Yes, the ﬂights, the nightlife, that one vodka shot too much… It exhausts of course and I can’t hide that my body and mind does need that extra hour of sleep and regeneration. But generally I think that touring keeps me rather young. I’m always surrounded by young creative people, I’m able to see new cultures on a weekly basis. Those are things that keep me in a really fresh shape.
WWD: Finally, what can we expect from Oliver Huntemann and Senso Sounds in 2020?
The year starts for me with a residency. I’m back with a monthly date at the lovely Watergate Club in Berlin. ABSURD will be all about me playing all night long with another DJ friend joining me – the ﬁrst edition will be with Lilly Palmer on the 6th of February. With Senso we already have a good portfolio of new releases coming up. A few new fresh faces will be around, like RFCO aka Raul Facio who just got signed. Carlo Ruetz and Maksim Dark also dropped me some nice tunes a few weeks ago. Expect some high quality releases during the ﬁrst months of 2020.
Oliver Huntemann’s ‘Tranquilizer 2.0’ is out now including remixes from Hidden Empire, Ilija Djokovic and Christian Craken, Buy HERE. You can also catch Oliver playing at The Steel Yard in London on Friday 17th April, more info: https://thesteelyard.london