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The Director's Cut: Tensnake - L.A.

Tensnake breaks down his new album 'L.A.' track-by-track.


German producer and DJ Marco Niemerski, better known as Tensnake has released his sophomore album L.A. As one might expect from the title, the album is an ode to the past several years of his life living in the City of Angels. Following up his 2014 album Glow, this one dives further into what his music can be beyond club-ready disco and house music.

The album covers the gamut from bouncing house music like “Rules” to shimmering downtempo indie dance “Overnight,” to late night drive worthy “Nightshift” and plenty of disco and funk layered throughout. With the beautiful weather and the lifestyle, he wanted to make an album that was focused less on the club and this was the right time to do it, and especially release it.

He has since returned to his home in Hamburg, but the LP is a reflection of his time in L.A. where the sun was always shining, carbs are non-existent and everyone is a multi-hyphenated creative.

To get a better idea of how this album came together with all of the vocal features, Tensnake dives into the process behind each track for a new Director's Cut.

Get your copy of the record here and listen below.

1. Somebody Else feat. Boy Matthews

When I started working on the new album, "Somebody Else" was just meant to be an instrumental. I tried to catch the vibe I personally feel in Los Angeles, a more nostalgic feel, or a picture of Los Angeles. I felt like it needed some vocals, and I met Boy Matthews in LA for the first time. We got along very well, and we recorded the song in one afternoon. I think it’s probably my favorite song on the album.

2. Automatic feat. Fiora

"Automatic" is actually a little bit older. I recorded it with Fiora for my first album called Glow, but somehow it didn't make it on the album. While I was going through my files, I found it and realized I actually still really liked it, so I did some additional production work on it and we recorded some vocals. I always loved the original. Even though it’s an older track, Somehow it still makes sense on the album!

3. Latching Onto You feat. Nazareene

Next to "Somebody Else,“ this is my favorite "cruising through LA at night" style song on the album. The very talented Nazareene from Australia nailed the 90s RnB vibes I was going for with this one.

4. Antibodies feat Cara Melín

Believe it or not, this songs was written before the pandemic had even begun. Who would have known!? Now, I love this song even more. I wish we would all have Covid antibodies now. On the musical side of things, it’s a very positive, feel good song. Cara nailed the vocals, which have a little bit of a Michael Jackson vibe.

5. World Beneath feat. Swedish Red Elephant

With "World Beneath," I tried to capture the old disco Tensnake vibe. Over the years, I've become a little bit more open to pop music and focusing on songwriting production, but with "World Beneath," I tried to channel the old Tensnake vibe. I think it's probably the song that my older fanbase will appreciate the most on the album.

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6. Overnight feat. Fiora

"Overnight" is another song that I wrote together with Fiora. I wanted to have a downtempo song on the album, something that's not "four on the four" club focused. I was trying to go for a more indie vibe with this one. I was listening to HAIM quite a lot at the time when I made the song, and they influenced the sound quite a bit. It's a mixture between an old Tina Turner and HAIM.

7. Rules feat. Chenai

In the last couple of years. I’ve made some tracks that are heavily influenced by '90s club music. "Rules" picks up on that vibe. When I met the vocalist Chenai (who’s from London) for the first time in LA, we were recording some ideas, but just on our phones and not properly recorded. I really loved the toplines she wrote for the song when we did that. We re-recorded everything when we met again in Hamburg when I went back to Europe, and. I think it turned out really nice! To me, it’s the most '90s sounding tune on the whole album.

8. Make You Mine

"Make You Mine" is an homage to visualization and asking the universe for what you want. This is a fun and uplifting declaration of love set to a '90s dance pop backdrop, which I feel perfectly contrasts the darker and more vibey approach of "Strange Without You" and "Automatic.”

9. Simpansi

I made "Simpansi" together with friend Anton from Helsinki, Finland. He started the track a while ago and played it to me. It's actually one of the few instrumental songs on the whole album and it felt like a nice break in between all the vocal driven songs. It has a little bit of a ‘90s trance feel to it. We both share our passion for ‘90s trance music.

10. Nighshift feat. Fiora

"Nightshift" is my Sade appreciation song. I made "Nighshift" with Fiora and we tried to apply some Sade vibes to it. it's also the one song of the album I would put in the car when I'm driving at night around the streets of LA.

11. Strange Without You feat. Daramola

I started working on "Strange Without You" together with Fiora. We broke up a some point, so I finished with singer/songwriter Daramola from Miami. There are some verses which are happy and positive, but the chorus is actually not so happy because it's basically a break break up song. It represents two very different lives in one song, which usually doesn't make sense, but to me it does make total sense. I've never met Daramola in person, but we are planning to work on many more songs, he’s very talented!

12. Call Me feat. HEXE

I worked on this track for the album when I was back in Europe. The Armada team connected me with Disciples in London. They heard the instrumental and really liked it. They came up with some vocal ideas and we sent stuff back and forth. It came together nicely as a really great club track.

14. Adam’s Hill

“Adam’s Hill” is my goodbye song. I made it for when I left Los Angeles. It was the last song I did [on the album] and it has a melancholic vibe but also a very beautiful vibe. I remember when I was sitting in my studio that was actually in Adam’s Hill in Los Angeles, there was a nice sunset, and that’s when I wrote the song. It was a nice way to close the chapter.

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