Anniversaries are always a wonderful thing, as they not only show stamina but also prove quality at the same time. Twin Town Production, a label from Germany’s Saarland, is currently celebrating its more than 20th anniversary with an impressive triple-vinyl. Since the beginning, the label under the direction of Toni Tress has not focused on genres but on musical quality. We had a chat with Toni Tress to find out a little more about the label’s history.
Hello Toni and welcome to House Music With Love!
For those who don’t know the story behind Twin Town, can you tell us a little bit about your label?
Twin Town was founded on the day of a historic event – the day the Twin Towers collapsed in New York. Our first vinyl record came fresh from the pressing plant on September 11, and TWIN TOWN PRODUCTION was born. An exhausted UPS worker rang the doorbell at my studio in the Saarland to deliver 550 records, and through the hallway, we both kept glancing at the TV showing images of the towers burning. I’ll never forget that day. The first EP is called “On a Mission” and is still part of our label catalogue.
You are celebrating your 20th anniversary this year with the release of a 3×12″ compilation – what can we expect?
Well, actually, it’s our 21st anniversary already. Due to various factors such as the war in Ukraine, the lack of raw materials and the coronavirus pandemic, vinyl pressing simply took a very long time (in this case, more than 20 months). But all in all, we have succeeded in creating a timeless piece of beauty with this retrospective on our label’s history.
The 3×12″ compilation features tracks selected by my dear friend, Nicolas Molina, who acted as A&R and DJ and combed through our back catalogue to bring the finest club tunes back to the surface.
Our listeners can expect a wild trip through all possible genres, and it is an absolute must for fans of vinyl records and contemporary electronic music. Analogue mastering was done by the one and only Stachy.DJ, who also takes up an entire record side (D1) with a remix from his alter ego “Hofuku Sochi”. It’s an eclectic selection of soulful house, chillout, D&B, acid jazz, IDM, dubstep and breaks.
You’ve also put a lot of effort into the design – can you tell us more about that?
The artwork was designed by Manuel Wesely from the “MMM.do” agency based in Saarbrücken, Germany. Many thanks to him once again for his incredible work. Mick and Marc, the Henkubiks jazz formation, the great remixers, label artists and, most importantly, our customers and record collectors will certainly love to add such an exceptional piece of art to their collection. The compilation will be available in a limited edition of 200 and there will be no repress.
Manuel’s design concept tells the story of the first ten years of our label, put into context with historical events.
Not only the outer sleeves are printed, but the inner sleeves also feature a great design. The final touch comes in the form of a piece of tape that keeps everything together. The music is pressed on neat 140 gram vinyl records. And here’s a little tip: the tape is part of the artwork and should not be removed! Twin Town is “the city where the sickest music is played that you’ve never heard before because you’re always looking for ….“ Based on this common theme, the records are combined into a collection.
Part One implies that this will not be the end – are there any other releases in the pipeline?
You’re quite right, we are currently working on part two! Twin Town is always good for a surprise. So I don’t want to reveal too much about upcoming releases just yet. But we’ll keep you up to date. Maybe next time, we will venture into cyberspace instead of keeping it old school !
You’re also a DJ and event organiser yourself – what influence does that have on your work as a label owner?
It has an enormous impact and there are a lot of mutual influences. At the moment, I am really amazed to see where our musical journey has led us. Nicolas and I just returned from gigs at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg and at a secret location in Berlin, where I heard a lot of 90s-inspired music and tunes from other DJs. 135 bpm seems to be the new beat of the scene, with old happy hardcore tracks from the Netherlands being put through the sampler and slowed down by 10 bpm.
And people really love this new stuff. We also try to keep up with this new trend, but of course in our very own kind of way. I think it’s very cool that we were never limited to a specific genre, but instead found our very own niche in the vast cosmos of electronic dance music. That’s the actual idea behind techno – using sound machines, samplers and drum computers to break with repetition and create something new. We will keep going, I promise!
You’ve been in the business for many years and have seen a lot. What keeps you going?
I simply love it. For me, it is a vocation and my passion. Whether as a DJ, event organiser or label owner. My inspiration and motivation can’t be expressed in monetary terms – even in times like the pandemic, where closed clubs and actual occupational bans in our industry put me in a deep emotional crisis. In the end, it’s always music that gets me back on my feet and keeps me going. And it’s the people behind the label.
Without the artists and their dedication and creativity, a record label is worth nothing.
Together with friends, family and fellow people, I try to keep everything together, making sure that we have a varied roster and that there is always enough time for development. Because in the end, TIME is the most precious resource of them all. For us at Twin Town, it is very important that we don’t get into a rut where we do the same thing day in, day out. Music needs a lot of freedom. If I had taken a different approach, we would have long since vanished in the hype machines of major labels.
Where is the label headed in the coming months and years?
We’ve got some wonderful releases in store for the next years, for example from: Acado, Agja, Bronsyn, Erlenbrunn, Hofuku Sochi, Riklós, Roshan Bay, Nicolas Molina and some new faces. We are also currently working on an extensive club tour for “The Sound of Twin Town” and would love to play a lot of shows – hopefully in your town, as well.
Which Twin Town Production release have you grown particularly fond of over the years and which release would have deserved more attention in your view?
Well, I am very biased when it comes to our catalogue. I think that every release would have deserved the same level of attention.
But here’s a selection of tracks that are very close to my heart and definitely worth checking out:
Balm – Be Yourself
Baba Sikander – Too Little, Too Late
EZRA (Germany) – Clockwork EP
SHBL – Insight
Selektivton – Wunderladen
Las Landen – Amont
Stay healthy, always be positive and stick to things that make you happy! Let go of everything else!