Q+A: 5 minutes with Adana Twins

German electronic duo Adana Twins are the sort of people who make music their entire lives. Their dedication to the dance floor, be it through their own productions of the creation of spaces for artists to share their work, is what’s established them as icons in the underground scene. Inspired by influences from hip-hop to the austerity of their hometown Hamburg, the duo’s sound is constantly pushing the boundaries of emotional and aesthetic possibilities in dance music, while their label TAU is responsible for releasing music from emerging talent who ascribe to the same desire to find emotion in electronic music. Their latest major release comes by way of Innervisions on the label’s Secret Weapons 14 compilation. How Far Can We Go is classic Adana Twins; dark, intuitive, and full of feeling. We caught up with the duo ahead of How Far Can We Go’s release to speak about the track, their major influences, and why they have a love for ten hour long DJ sets. 


Adana Twins, welcome to The Playground! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us.

Set the tone for us. Why music?

Benjamin: Because Music is one of the only things in the world that connects all different kinds of humans. Music makes me happy and since I was a kid music was always the biggest thing for me and my surroundings.

Friso: For me, music was a way of expressing different feelings: joy, sadness, aggression. It has been with me all my life and especially electronic music was extremely important for me as a teenager. It allowed me to separate myself and feel like I belonged. Especially as a music producer and DJ, it always gives me a lot of pleasure to show people on the dance floor new, unheard music or sometimes old stones, which I then dig up not only for myself. Music is life, having the freedom to simply dance with people and be happy is great. The last few years have shown even more how important it is to enjoy your life!


You two have distinct interests and approaches; Benjamin’s love for hip-hop and Friso’s for club music. How did you begin to synthesise what has come to be your own unique sound?

Benjamin: It was in 2010 when we started to produce together. We started with sample based music from old Hip Hop and funk classics and combined them with House Beats. The result were EPs on Exploited and Baalsaal Records where we sampled Lauryn Hill, Malcom McLaren or Timex Social Club. After some time the samples became less and less and our own sound was growing. Let’s describe the synthesis maybe like this: The beat parts were influenced by club music while the melodic and poppy parts come from the hip hop site. But to be honest… over the years we both melted strongly together and it’s not really easy to put one of us and our influence from the past in strict roles in the Adana Twins Project. We both love beats and we both love strong sounds and melodies and we stir everything together. 


You’re gearing up for an upcoming release on Innervisions. What has your experience with the label been like so far?

Benjamin: Innervisions is one of or better said the only label out there that delivers high quality over such an extended period of time. You see labels and hype come and go. But with Innervisions you have the feeling it will last forever. And this is just wonderful and unique and something everyone can learn from. 


Tell us about How Far We Can Go? What is this track about, for you both?

Well, we made the first draft of the track last year in September on a train ride from Hamburg to Berlin while we were travelling to our TAU showcase in Berlin. At this time touring life started to be more regular again after some of the restrictions were being lifted. And How Far Can We go reflects the vibe we had at our shows during the few weeks before it was produced. So when we arrived in Berlin we bounced the first draft in our hotel room, played it as the opener and people seemed to love it. So next week we went straight to the studio for fine tuning and finishing touches. Long story short: for me the track is proof that playing music or just being in a club as a guest is the most important inspiration to make music.


There’s a gorgeous, spacey sort of vibe to the track with those sci-fi arpeggios. Is there an element of futurism going on here?

Benjamin: Let’s say there is definitely an Adanas Twins vibe in. I am also a big fan of science fiction movie inspired sounds which I try to bring into our productions whether it’s a funky disco track like “My Computer” or like the dark trance tune that “How Far Can We Go” is… 


You’ve mentioned that you find a lot of inspiration in your hometown of Hamburg. How has the city informed your music?

Benjamin: We both started to organise parties together in Hamburg and we both always went out together as ravers. Also we played here for years as residents at Baalsaal, Neidklub (the main institution for the famous Ed Banger sound during that time) or Solomun’s Ego. 


Did the experience of the pandemic and lockdown change your outlook as artists, or change the way you approach making work?

Benjamin: I really enjoyed it to expand on my productions and create more music that was just for listening. Something like “The Day After Tomorrow“ or also our release on Afterlife “The Day Before Tomorrow“ which was more stripped down when we sent Matteo the first version. But I also had to say that I lost the instinct a bit about what is working in the club and what is not, because there were simply not a lot of parties. However, the vibe came back when we started touring more and more again. Like you can see with “How Far Can We Go“  

Friso: I think when something is taken away from you, you often want it all the more. I was very happy to see how much energy is back on the dance floor. As Benni said, we just need the joy on the dance floor, the full, sweaty clubs, the inspiring festival. All that makes us artists and also shows what an important part music is to experience with people. Not only as a music producer, but also as a human being. The more beautiful it is now to finally be able to do all these inspiring things again that it takes for us to make club music.


Tell us about your love for long-form DJ sets. It seems like not a lot of people are doing that anymore. Why is the marathon-set an essential artform for you?

Benjamin: ‘Cause this is where we are coming from. We started as residents in a small bar where we played every weekend 8-12h in a row. We simply loved it. And this is still what we like the most. Playing long sets in great clubs where you can take the audience on a journey together. This type of party and this feeling would be never possible in a 90 min slot.


How does a long-form DJ set help you to connect with the fans, versus an average hour long slot?

Benjamin: Let’s say it connects us and the fans in that we “become one“ during the night. The longer the night goes, the more we are growing together.  

Friso: For a 10-hour set, you have to prepare yourself musically in a completely different way. Of course I couldn’t do that every night, but I think it’s also extremely important for us as artists. When we play all night, the evening starts slow, much more diverse, eclectic. So I have to look for more diverse music and broaden my horizon. That also helps tremendously for the other sets though. You discover new tracks, new artists etc. That’s part of what makes us, that’s where we come from and that’s part of what defines us.


Who’s on your current playlist, and who should we be listening to right now?

Benjamin: All stuff from our label TAU, of course! I really enjoy that we can release music from people whose productions we love. And from outside the TAU universe you should listen to Ivory right now. 


Dream collaboration?

Benjamin: I really would love to make a song with Sudan Archives. She is amazing. 

Friso: I would love to unknowingly bump into Daft Punk at Burning Man and jam around with them.


If you had the power to turn back time and write any song in the world, which one would it be and why?

Benjamin: The Cars – Drive. What a fantastic and emotional song. I love it. 


Listen to How Far Can We Go below. Download and stream the track here.

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