DJ/Singer/Producer Henri Has The Perfect Summer Jam!
Posted On 30 Jun 2014
Tag: Ariel Pink, Blondie, Bob Boilen, Burn, Can, Caseno, Chris Holmes, Cole Rise, Doug Aitken, Giorgio Moroder, Grimes, Harris Robotis, Henri, Henri Tiefenthaler, Here We Go, Here We Go Magic, Hold Me, Hollywood, Hula Hoop, Ibiza, It's Like That, It's Like This, Jen Turner, Joy Division, KCRW, Kraftwerk, Krautrock, Melbourne, Moogs, Neu, NPR, nu disco, Spare Room, Station to Station, Tangerine Dream, The Fall, Thrillionaire, Thurston Moore
DJ/singer/producer Henri aka Henrietta Tiefenthaler was born in London but is now based in LA, where her versatility is beginning to attract serious attention. She DJs, performs with her psychedelic krautrock band Thrillionaire and develops her own dance/pop productions.
She recently co-wrote and sung lead vocals on “Hold Me”, with Hamburg producer/DJ Raik, a dreamy electronic track, released on Golden City Sounds, a label Raik co-founded with house legend Boris Dlugosch and Isi from Digitalism. She has an EP of her own material in the works, while also building an impressive portfolio of remixes and edits, including versions of Digitalism, Joris Voorn, NO, Spiritualized, Azealia Banks and Can.
Currently, her song, “It’s Like This, It’s Like That” is hitting the airwaves and it is the perfect summer tune. “It’s Like This, It’s Like That” is now on rotation on L.A.’s Favorite Radio Station, KCRW. The video was directed by Instagram and Litely designer/creator Cole Rise.
“With its airy disco vibe, the track reminds me of dancing on the beach at sunset or hazy picnics in the park,” says Henri. “I love hooks like the ‘Ooh, ooh, oh, oh’ in Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ and the catchy synth part in Todd Terje’s ‘Inspector Norse’.”
Learn more about Henri in this interview!
Can you describe how you’ve gotten to where you are in your career today?
A lot of hard work and persistence. Ha! Well, I’ve always sung. I was head of choir at school and had to sing in church twice a day for 6 years. My first foray into music since then was when I guest DJ’d at my friend Chris Holmes’ night at this cool bar in Hollywood called the Spare Room. I was really obsessed with Krautrock and wanted to do a Krautrock-themed night where I only played bands like Kraftwerk, Can, Neu! Tangerine Dream, The Fall, Joy Division… There are so many bands in the last 20 – 30 years that were influenced by Krautrock. Mike from Here We Go Magic brought his band-mate Jen Turner because he knew she loved Krautrock as much as I do and a few months later we decided to start a Krautrock band. I’ve been getting more and more inspired by electronic music though and in the last year or so have been focusing on that.
When was the first moment that you realized that you wanted to be a entertainer/performer?
As soon as I stopped wanting to run an animal sanctuary and be a vet.
Tell me about the video for your first solo release, “It’s Like This, It’s Like That”? Where did the idea for it come from? How did you get involved with the video’s director, Cole Rise? Do you hula hoop?
I’ve been listening to a lot of nu disco and wanted to make a fun, pop track in that vein. It started with a beat that Harris Robotis from Caseno came up with when I was in Melbourne about a year ago and really slowly developed from there.
I met the video director, Cole Rise, last September. I was the music curator for a month long Happening masterminded by Doug Aitken, called Station to Station. There were many elements to the project but I was involved in bringing in the musicians to come on the train and perform at the Happenings throughout the month, and we had a recording car decked out by Moog on the train where musicians like Giorgio Moroder and Thurston Moore were invited to spend the day recording music while we were traveling from city to city. Cole Rise was invited to come on and take pics, which is where I met him. He made this time lapse film on the train and saw me fiddling with the Moogs in the recording car and asked me to make a 30-second soundtrack. I recorded train sounds on the trip and turned them into rhythms. These professional whip crackers and auctioneers were traveling with us as they were part of a performance art piece that introduced each event. Bob Boilen from NPR helped me record the sound of the whip cracking which I turned into the main beat.
You can see/hear it here: http://stationtostation.com/dodge-to-santa-fe-by-cole-rise/
I then developed it into a full-on song, sampling Ariel Pink, Giorgio Moroder and the auctioneers. I chopped up their bid calling and made it into a really crazy, skippy melodic texture: https://soundcloud.com/henrimusic/fight-the-war-against-boring
Here’s more info about Station to Station: http://stationtostation.com
As far as hula hooping goes, I didn’t even hula hoop until I had to in the music video but I love it now. It’s a great form of exercise while you’re sitting around the house too.
Who are some of your musical influences? Who are some of the newer artists who inspire you?
Dance music wise: Todd Terje, Lindstrom, Worakls, N’To, Cosmic Kids, Tensnake & Fiora. I think Grimes and Lana Del Rey are pure genius and I’m so excited they both have albums coming out. I love Todd Terje’s high-energy, nu-disco vibe and whenever “Inspector Norse” comes on, it always makes me want to jump up and dance, which isn’t that common for me. The only other song that can do that to me is “Pon De Floor”.
Other than Krautrock, older music that’s inspired me are bands like Massive Attack, Aphex Twin, Radiohead…. I love trip-hop like Zero 7, Tricky, Sneaker Pimps and David Holmes.
Talk about your BURN Residency this summer in Ibiza. How did you get involved with that? What’s it like performing in Ibiza? Who are other DJ’s that will be there?
My Austrian DJ agent, Philipp Straub from Titan International, brought me on to host the televised Burn Residency competition. They start with a few thousand contestants throughout the world and only 20 make it through to the competition. They’ll be going through lots of challenges and seminars for 2 weeks during which I’ll be interviewing them and keeping up to speed on how they’re developing. I’ve never been to Ibiza before so really looking forward to that, although also quite nervous I won’t be able to keep up with all the partying! Carl Cox and Pete Tong will be moderators on the program and I have some friends who will DJing while I’m out there which is super exciting. I know Tensnake and Skin will be there at the same time and I’m sure everyone and their mother in the dance music world will be there as it’s peak season.
How are you using social media networks and sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram to interact with your fans?
I’m constantly posting pictures, music and events on all my social media networks. I use Soundcloud to post all my tracks and mixes. I love sharing music and music videos that I’m into on Facebook. Sometimes I feel like I need to contain myself as there are so many great tracks out there and I want to make sure people don’t miss them.
What is your approach to songwriting? How do you capture the inspiration when it comes?
A lot of the time I record straight into my phone as I have a habit of forgetting melodies as quickly as they come to me. The same goes with lyrics. I’m not one of those people who can think of a melody and remember it a week later.
If you had the opportunity to work with any artist/band from the past, present or future, who would it be and why?
I’d love to work with Grimes, combining beautiful ethereal vocals with cool dance beats. “Genesis” is one of my favorite tracks.
Why is this lifestyle (recording, traveling) one that you’re all willing to follow now?
It’s such a great opportunity to travel the world, get your music out there, and integrate with your fans. Also, I don’t think DJs and musicians have a choice these days. Touring is the best way to get your music heard and make any money in the music industry.
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music?
I just want people to have fun and feel inspired. All of my tracks are extremely different from each other. I’m permanently feeling different things and wanting to send out different messages. I love exploring different genres and taking a piece from all of them. So many DJs and producers have a niche style but I like to constantly switch it up and work with new people which might be a good thing but also makes it really hard for people to recognize my style. I keep wanting to write songs with an environmental message but haven’t quite figured out how to combine dance music with depressing lyrics.