Artist of the Week: Tenishia

Artist of the Week: Tenishia

January 29th, 2009

Malta has a good reason to be proud of their citizens. Of two of them, to be exact. Joven Grech and Cyprian Cassar have been big players in the Maltese Dance scene and far beyond. Shortly after their debut in 2005, they won the award for ‘Best Newcomer’ and ‘Best Live Performance’ at the Malta Music Awards. But that’s not all, their freshest release on the brand new S107 Recordings imprint, ‘Burning From The Inside’ also won the award for ‘Best Dance Tune 2008′. But the admiration for these talented producers stretches far beyond the beautiful country, as their productions are being played by today’s DJ elite and travel the world through numerous speakers and headphones. As fully fledged artists, dj’s, producers, event-managers and webmasters, these guys have a loaded schedule. Tenishia: ‘There is not much time left to brush our teeth!’

On a mission
It takes two to tango. That’s probably what Joven and Cyprian must have been thinking when they decided to form Tenishia. Actually, it wasn’t exactly the only thing on their mind. Tenishia: ‘After a long, long talk about music in a bar, in between some drinks and some ‘oooooohhhs’ at some nice girls passing by, we could see that we had the same mission, the same ambition and the same taste of music so we met the next day and started working on something. We taught each other what we knew and our production simply got better and better by time.’ And so, after checking out the ladies and drinking a bit, Tenishia was formed. But luckily, their musical interest didn’t reign from a glass of beer. Joven: ‘I started dj’ing at the age of 15. First on a community radio station, a year after that I had my first residency at a club. I know in certain countries it’s not even legal to go into clubs at that age but in Malta you can, so I started playing in clubs as soon as I could. The owner then moved me to a bigger club he owned which at the time was one of Malta’s best; I played there every weekend for about six years, with around a 1000 attending every friday!’ Cyprian had a more classical minded background. Cyprian: ‘I started playing the piano at the age of 10, passing several exams and even started to play guitar and bass. When I reached the age of 16 and started to frequent clubs, I soon felt the urge to start producing dance music. That is when I started to experiment with my pc and started to get into it more and more each day. I bought my first production equipment at the age of 19 and ever since dance music has been a major part of my life!’

No time to waste
The first track that familiarized Tenishia with the Armada Music family, was their proggy ‘Five’, released on the Coldharbour imprint. Tenishia: ‘We handed ‘Five’ to Markus on a CD when he was in Malta. Never expected it to be on such a big label so quick! It was released in November 2005 and straight after that came ‘Outsiders’.’ And it’s exactly ‘Outsiders’ that caused Tenishia’s big breakthrough. With the lovely vocals of Kirsty Hawkshaw and the memorable lyrics (‘Take a look at yourself as an outsider, do you like what you see?’), plus Tenishia’s well balanced blend of beats, atmospheric melodies and effects, the first hit for Tenishia was a fact. Tenishia were more than lucky to score a big vocal name like Kirsty for their tracks. Tenishia: ‘We met Kirsty on a NYE gig in Gozo, Malta’s sister island. She came to our studio the next day and she liked our work! Shortly after that ‘Outsiders’ and ‘Reasons to Forgive’ were made! We’re still big friends with Kirsty and we are going to rework a big big track of hers from the nineties. Which is not ‘Fine Day’, as that one’s been remixed a million times.’ Sounds promising, guys. It’s a clear example of their chemistry with Kirsty, and a proof of their hard work that they’ve released three vocal beauties in the time span of only a year. Good thing that these guys are into music fulltime. Or do we have to be afraid of it to affect their personal hygiene? Cause these guys might take fulltime a bit too literally. Tenishia: ‘You can say we do everything! From updating the website, designing our mail shots, organize events (and that’s a lot of work), write press releases, edit our videos, dj’ing, find international gigs and of course music production. After that, there’s not even much time left to brush our teeth, let alone having a normal day job! We’re kind of living in the studio and now were also thinking of building a small kitchen in the other room so we don’t have to waste time eating out, and a small DJ school.’ Their hard work paid off by winning the ‘Best Newcomer Award’, ‘Best Live Performance Award’ and eventually the Award for Best Tune 2008@ the Malta Music Awards. Something they didn’t expect at all. Tenishia: ‘We have won the first 2 awards in just eight months after our first gig as Tenishia. We were not expecting to be voted as winners so early in our career. We created a revolution in the scene here. Before we came up with some productions, no Maltese DJ seem to have cared much about producing original tunes, everybody was comfortable earning money from events, but nowadays every DJ in Malta has changed their opinion on that!’

Home by heart
I think we’re safe to say that Tenishia has put that small but beautiful country called Malta, on the dance map. But with a population of only 400,000 people, we wonder what the dance scene looks like over there. Tenishia: ‘Malta’s scene is not bad at all, we play here every weekend and sometimes we actually play at more than one gig in one night, because the island is very small and you can practically be everywhere in 30 minutes. All big deejays come to play here every year and there’s events happening almost every week! Last time Armin came to Malta, he told us it was one of his best nights of 2008; the crowd was awesome that night. The thing is that dance music has become part of our culture, and 85% of the young people love it. There’s hardly any RNB scene and even seven year old kids know Armin van Buuren’s track by heart! So by the time they are sixteen, they’re really up for it! Besides that, summer here is ‘PARTY TIME’! It’s very hot and perfect for the beach, people are out every day of the week so that adds up to the scene a lot more! Open air events, boat parties around the island and beach parties! The only drawback here is the small population. But still, we have seen big names play for a crowd of 2000 people in a city of 4 million people and here in Malta the same DJ got 5000 out of 400,000.’ Sounds like Malta is the place to be! Especially if Tenishia is playing there every week. What can we expect of a Tenishia performance, actually? Tenishia: ‘Our live performances are not exactly a full on live show. It is actually a DJ set with live elements in it, sometimes using synths or guitars and maybe a singer as well. At the time being we do prefer to produce more tunes over spending our time on shows. 2009 should see a lot more Tenishia productions than any previous years. Till May we are going to have at least 5, if not more, releases. All on Armada labels including remixes.’ But let’s have a look at their ‘Burning From The Inside’ first.

A show for support
After three records with vocalist Kirsty Hawkshaw, a team-up with Tiff Lacey was definitely a surprise. But especially a very pleasant one. Still we wonder, what’s the story behind it? Tenishia: ‘Burning From The Inside’ started in Australia, during Joven’s 1 year Down Under adventure, as a non-vocal track . It remained untouched for a while, until Ahmet Atasever, a big friend from Aussie land that works for Matt Darey’s label hooked us up with Tiff Lacey. At the time we were producing our stuff over the net and it did slow us down a little. When Joven returned to Malta in April we refined the track, did a new mix and gave it to Armada, ending up in Armin van Buuren’s ‘ASOT 2008′ compilation and to be the ‘lauching track’ for the new S-107 Imprint!’ And what a launch it was! Armada Music’s happy to have such talented producers on board and is already looking forward to the next productions. Speaking of that, what’s coming up in the near future? Tenishia: ‘Locally we are organizing our own event, ‘Tenishia Live’ on the 7th of February. We are doing this as a big thank you to all Maltese clubbers for showing us their support. It’s been crazy the last few months and fans from Malta have doubled if not tripled, especially since Armin called us on stage while playing ‘Burning from the Inside’ here in Malta. So yeah, we’re doing this event for free and the feedback is absolutely impressive! Production wise, we have a nice remix for Benya’s ‘Serendipty’ which is also going to be released on S-107 label, another remix for Australia’s no 1 tyDi, a new track on Coldharbour and also, still in production at the moment, a new production with local rock band ‘Airport Impressions’, who are impressing us big time! We also have some international gigs coming up, in Nicosia, Cyprus with Ferry Corsten and we’re also discussing some gigs in Asia and America!’
Sounds like Tenishia’s world stretches far beyond the white sands and crystal blue waters of Malta.

Exclusive Mix (January 2009)
Listen here


Burning From The Inside
Tenishia feat. Tiff Lacey
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The brand new S107 Recordings imprint is starting off in style! The first release, Tenishia’s team-up with trance lady Tiff Lacey ‘Burning From The Inside’, is an award-winning tune! At the Malta Music Awards a panel of judges choose the track as ‘Best Dance Tune 2008′. Even though it doesn’t need that kind of back-up, it does prove the strength of this beloved track and confirms Tenishia is one of the leading producer-duo’s at this moment.
Reigning from the beautiful, warm island of Malta, Tenishia has been alluring the crowd with vocal pearls like ‘Outsiders’, ‘Reasons to Forgive’ and ‘Invisible’, all three with Kirsty Hawkshaw. However, for ‘Burning From The Inside’ they teamed up with another angelic voice: Tiff Lacey. ‘Burning From The Inside’ has a warm, dreamy sound that gives it that typical Tenishia feel. A tender feel-good track that, led by the spellbinding vocals, is a perfect example of progressive trance at its best.

1. Burning From The Inside (Original Mix)
2. Burning From The Inside (Original Intro Mix)
3. Burning From The Inside (Tenishia Burning Dub)
4. Burning From The Inside (Tenishia’s Burnout Mix)

For more info on Tenishia, check www.tenishia.com