Interview: Tommy Four Seven

No Sleep Novi Sad, the second biggest electronic music stage of Exit Festival presented its new program concept with some of the biggest world clubs and labels last summer during four festival nights behind the famous tunnel leading away from mts Dance Arena. Parisian Concrete made the debut with their famous non-stop party on Saturday, the 9th of July. The show was headlined by techno wunderkind and the star of a new generation Tommy Four Seven, followed by the leading Concrete residents and current leaders of the Paris techno scene, Antigone and Francois X, as well as one of the rising stars Shlømo who brought his intense live performance to the No Sleep Stage!

Tommy Four Seven is a British producer that moved to Berlin in 2008, and in a short while established himself as one of the leading representatives of the ultimate and very competitive techno scene. He is Chris Liebing’s favourite performer and one of the major names on Liebing’s “CLR” label roster, as well as the owner of a new label with a constantly growing popularity, “47”. He is also known for his singles, „131“, „Ratu“, „OX1“ and numerous others, where he collaborated with names such as Regis, Robert Hood and Perc. We talked to Tommy day after his rocking show at No Sleep Novi Sad stage.


Hello Tommy. Your last visit to Serbia made it to Resident Advisor’s mix of the day! Congrats! How did you like the set at the Drugstore club?

Thanks! There was an exciting energy and the crowd seemed passionate and open minded, which I always appreciate. Great space too.


We call it the “techno cathedral”.

It feels very dramatic walking in and the reverb in the room definitely adds to the warehouse type feel.


Who influences you mostly?

I can always count on Ancient Methods who’s really carved out an iconic sound. Also, people like Powell (playing in the background now!), who’s a good example of someone who doesn’t give a fuck about fitting in. For me, this is really one of the most effective ways to push the boundaries of what dance music can be.


After moving to Berlin, you became one of Chris Liebing’s favorite artists. How did that happen?

About eight years ago, Chris approached me for some music. At the time I was living in London, finishing up at university. In January 2009, I moved to Berlin and about 6 months later, Chris asked me to join his agency and to become a recording artist on the label. I soon began touring with the CLR crew and later released my debut album, ‘Primate’. It was a great moment in my career and I’m super grateful for his support.


You have a label called „47“. What is the focus of the label?

Currently the label 47 supports the party I run in Berlin at Arena Club. Each of the performing guests contribute 1 track to be released on an EP. For example, the last party was with Headless Horseman, Phase Fatale, and Stephanie Sykes, so the current EP (out now) features a track from each of those artists plus one from myself. The various artist EP concept is limited and the label will be developing in 2017. Expect more!


What kind of sounds are you looking for at the moment?

I’m always drawn to forward thinking sounds.


How do you envision Techno? Does it have to do more with dancing or the sound itself and philosophy?

Good question! I think the word ‘techno’ doesn’t mean much today because it embodies a huge range of musical styles and ideas. Ultimately, everyone is going to a club to have a good time, which might involve dancing with friends or maybe a more spiritual experience. Nothing should be viewed as being more worthy than anything else, as long as it’s being enjoyed. I guess for me, it’s a simple philosophy in that it’s all about good music and having a good experience.


Do you think techno is becoming a copy-cat genre?

As with most things in life, people tend to copy and jump on the band-wagon when something is popular and that definitely leads to replication and regurgitation of ideas and sounds. Luckily, there is a good number of people within the scene who resist this approach and help to evolve and shape the sound of techno.


You are very creative in the studio. I really like the washing machine story of „Talus”. How do you come up with such ideas?

Thanks! I try my best to not repeat ideas. In the studio I always start with a blank canvas. Before writing I’ll usually build a new sound palate via field recordings or simply jamming with my modular. Freshly recorded sounds feed my inspiration.


What do you think about the crowd these days?

I find they’re very open-minded which allows me push myself and experiment a lot more.


Do you think people are hyping the analog gear and turntables a bit too much these days?

For me, the only ones perhaps in danger of over hyping analogue gear are the promoters of events. Things like “vinyl only DJs performing“ or “hardware only live set” doesn’t really help. Although I’m not knocking these performances, people are free to express their art however they want. For me, rather than judge music by the tools it was produced with, I think people should consider more the end result. A lot of people say it’s what comes out of the speakers which counts and I agree with that!


You headlined the Concrete night at Exit Festival’s No Sleep Novi Sad stage. How did you like it?

It was an epic experience, especially to play as the sun rose. The stage was full of passionate and positive people and of course, the Concrete crew are so much fun. Looking forward to my return in December!

Foto: Stefan Danilović
Foto: Stefan Danilović