Tiga is the head of Montreal's Turbo Recordings. Underground club hits from the last few years include "Bugatti," "Let's Go Dancing," "Plush" and "Pleasure From The Bass," all of which bear the same trademark sillyness combined with an undeniable groove. Frankfurt based DJ & producer Lauer is 1/2 of Tuff City Kids along with Gerd Janson. His penchant for jubilant, melodic sounds steeped in the rich pasts of house, rock, and hip hop, have garnered him releases on labels like Permanent Vacation and Running Back Records.
There’s tension at the heartof Tiga’s musical soul. On the one hand he’s the underground techno don, theproducer who made ‘Mind Dimension’ (2008) and, together with Audion, thepounding ‘Let’s Go Dancing’ (2013). On the other, there’s the pop sensibilitythat led him to record electro versions of Corey Hart’s 1984 hit ‘Sunglasses AtNight’ (2001) and Nelly’s ‘Hot In Herre’ (2003). It’s this duality that makeshim one of electronic music’s most engaging characters. He’s about as far awayfrom your faceless techno DJ from central casting as it’s possible to get. His new album, ‘No FantasyRequired’, is a case in point. It neatly balances the two sides of hischaracter. Recent single and club smash ‘Bugatti’ is included, with itstypewriter beats and deadpan, slightly daft vocals. The re-rubbed Mad Decentversion featuring “unless it’s getting played on the beach in Ibiza“ PushaT cemented its hip status. This is the kind of dance music that works aswell driving around on a sunny day as it does at 4AM on a darkened dancefloor.The pulsing sub bass riff and twittering hi hats on ‘Make Me Fall In Love’ areoffset by a restrained yet infectious vocal from Scissor Sister’s frontman JakeShears. “Jake is an old friend,” says Tiga. “He sang on ‘Hot In Herre’ and ‘YouGonna Want Me’. He seems to be the only co-vocalist I can work with.” Thenthere’s the harder edged ‘Don’t Break My Heart’, which sees a pile-driving kickdrum underpinning atmospheric, Burial-like disembodied voices. And ‘Planet E’,a collaboration with Hudson Mowhawke that channels classic Detroit techno andupdates it for 2016. This is dance music that’s about so much more than justdancefloors. It’s been six years sinceTiga’s last album, 2009’s ‘Ciao’. There’s no particular reason for the gap,aside from a punishing DJ schedule. And there have been a string of killersingles, including his aforementioned collaboration with Audion and solooutings such as ‘Plush’, one of the standout tracks of 2013. Never one to takehimself too seriously, Tiga says of ‘No Fantasy Required’: “You can enter anyof a number of cliches here: new direction, more mature sound — take yourpick.” Actually, there’s a bit of truth in both, but at the same time it’svintage Tiga. It seems Tiga wasalways destined to be a DJ. When he was growing up, until the age of 12, hisparents spent half the year in Montreal, the other half in Goa. “They werehippies,” he says, “But it’s not like we lived on an commune.” It was, “wild”however. He remembers getting up at 6AM and cycling to meet his parents atGoa’s legendary beach parties. “I wasn’t allowed to go at night time,” he says.“There would be people out of their mind, swinging from trees. The music waskind of like they played in Ibiza in the late ’80s. My dad said it was musicyou did ‘serious dancing’ to. I guess that’s something that stuck with me.Never underestimate the power of being lost in the moment on the dancefloor.The funny thing is I grew up oddly conservative. And I’ve never found and ofthe after hours party scene shocking. I’ve never felt the need to rebel.”
Tiga’s first properjob was packing clothes in a factory. Everyone else that worked there wasJamaican. “It was so boring,” says Tiga, “But the people and music were great.”It was at this time that he started DJing, playing rave music inspired by theUK scene. In 1994, he bought a record shop called DNA. Two years later, in1996, he opened his own club, Sona.. Then, in 1998, he launched his own recordlabel, Turbo, which has since developed into one of techno’s most trustedimprints. Acts signed by Tiga who’ve gone on to become major dance musicplayers include Chromeo, Azari & III, Gessafelstein, and Duke Dumont. Tiga had beenDJing for a decade when he released his ‘American Gigolo’ mix on Turbo.Featuring tracks including ‘Frank Sinatra 2001’ by Miss Kittin & TheHacker, ‘I’m A Disco Dancer’ by Christopher Just and ‘Poney Part 1’ by Vitalic,it chimed with the emerging electroclash scene. It also featured ‘Sunglasses AtNight’, recorded with Jori ‘Zyntherius’ Hulkonnen (who went on to become one ofTiga’s long-term collaborators). The song became one of electroclash’s definingmoments. Electroclash was seenby electronic music’s custodians as trashy, something that wouldn’t last, Infact, many of electroclash’s key figures went on to dominate dance music overthe following decade, none more so than Tiga. His debut album, ‘Sexor’, wasreleased in 2006, followed by ‘Ciao’ in 2009. Then there are the singles suchas ‘Mind Dimension’, ‘The Worm’, ‘Vulkan Alarm!’ and ‘Let’s Go Dancing’ and‘Fever’ with Audion. Together they add up to one of the most impressivecatalogues of any electronic producer. Tiga has played a hugepart in defining the dance music landscape. He counts some of dance music’sbiggest names as friends and collaborators. Indeed, collaborators have alwaysbeen important part of Tiga’s make up. “Each album has had a few key players,”he explains. “The first album was me, Jesper Dahlback and 2manydjs. The secondwas 2manydjs and Gonzales. This time it was mainly Matthew Dear and a friend ofmine from Montreal called Clarian, who used to record as Footprintz. This albummade me realise that if there a secret to my longevity it’s the people I workwith. More often than not we’ve become close friends. It’s the favourite thingabout my career is getting to spend time with interesting people.” It’s the same urge tocross-pollinate that’s made Tiga such a prolific remixer (he’s reworked tracksfor The XX, Depeche Mode, Iggy Azelia, Human League and Ninja Tuneco-founders Coldcut, amongst many others). And he’s been remixed by someimpressive names too, including Maya Jane Coles, Brodinski and Loco Dice. Given that Tiga issuch a character, it’s puzzling that, until recently, he’d never performedlive. “It’s was on the cards for a long, long time, as far back as my firstalbum, but I put it off because I was insecure about singing live,” he says.“And DJing was going so well. I guess I reached a point in life where I caredless about making a fool of myself than doing something new. The newness alonewas attractive.” Tiga’s live show seeshim performing alongside Jori Hulkonnen in front of a back drop of Venetianblinds inspired by Berlin’s Panorama Bar. Kindred spirit and close friendStuart Price helped Tiga curate the music. “He’s a ridiculously talentedperson. I trusted him. We sat down with my whole catalogue, with the songsbroken down into parts, and we decided which songs were in, which were out,what sounds we wanted to push, how we wanted to control the energy levels.” New album, a liveshow: it feels like a new start for Tiga. But also a return to what made him sofresh and exciting in the first place. “The new album is definitely a littleless clubby than the stuff I’ve made recently,” he says. “The thing I feel goodabout now, and I can hear on the album, is that I feel more honest, open andplayful. I think those things were more prominent at the start of my career,and it’s good to see them back.” Only a fool wouldargue with that.
Philipp Lauer is a producer, musician and DJ based in Frankfurt. He performs as Lauer and also as one part in Tuff City Kids with Gerd Janson.Raised on a strict diet of hip hop & punk rock, Philipp finally succumbed to the pleasures of electronic music in the late nineties when he started to produce deep house tracks.One of his most successful projects in the early 2000 years was Arto Mwambe with Christian Beißwenger (AKA CB Funk, TCB). During that time Philipp founded his own label Brontosaurus and they played many live shows all around the globe.His debut solo album "Phillips" was released in spring 2012 on Running Back, followed by "Borndom" 2015 on Permanent Vacation.In 2013 he started to get serious with Gerd Janson: as Tuff City Kids they put out one release after the next and started to play shows together.