In the latest edition of our Mixed By series, we caught up with Ulrich Harrison aka Tender Games, a Jamaican/German producer based out of Berlin. With a career that goes back several years under is other alias HRRSN, Ulrich is now embarking on a new phase of his artistry – one that is more mature and inspired by the soulful music he spends his time listening to as of late. In our brief chat with the maestro, we get to learn more about his upcoming projects and how his eclectic past influences the music he makes today.
Hi Ulrich! Great to have you for our MIXED BY series, especially as you release your new single Movin on the new label Midnight Snacks. Can you tell our readers a little bit more about what they can expect from the single and the label?
Hey Guys, thx for having me! People can expect an uptempo disco track with an Mayfield-esque groove and my vocals on it. I am trying to get back into more danceable music that’ll fit in somewhere between club and home playlist. And from the label you can expect pretty much the same. Groovy music between soul, hip-hop & house.
For those that have been following your career, they know that Tender Games used to be comprised of you and your close friend Marlon Hoffstadt. You both have fairly successful solo projects, so we were wondering what was the inspiration to start producing together?
The inspiration came from simply hanging out together and liking the same tracks. We both bring something different to the table and since each of us also wanted to produce different music from what we did up until then, we thought it’s best to start a new project. We were quite productive right from the start so everything fell into place quite easily.
How has the direction of Tender Games changed since Marlon’s departure?
I think it became a little less electronic and more mature. Together we always tried to produce quite modern. Now I try to get a little more into disco, soul & jazzy stuff since that is what I listen to at home. I also record my guitar more often and I think the goal is to find a sweet spot between organic and machine elements.
Now that you have to manage two solo-projects, can you explain your decision making process on how you choose what release on one as compared to the other? Does it ever become difficult managing both simultaneously?
I always go with my gut. I got two hearts in my chest and I either get into a melancholic mood and write more dark electronic/techno stuff or I feel like writing funky music. It both comes naturally and I don’t try to force myself to work on a specific project if I don’t feel like it. However I have plenty releases lined up for both projects. It only becomes hard with the social media stuff because I simply don’t like it and feel like I am constantly on the lookout for something to post.
I read in a previous interview that you began learning how to play music based around your love for folk music and wanting to learn guitar. What about folk music do you particularly find inspiring and what are some of your favorite artists and songs from the genre?
What I liked about the music is that you can transport so much feeling with so little instrumentation. Also I always liked the guitar. I quite like Fleet Foxes, The Tallest Man On Earth and Glen Hansard.
How has folk music influenced the way you write songs today?
It helped me to get a clear picture of a song in my head that I can work after. Also I believe it helped me in transporting emotions without overloading a track. In folk you got to be creative with what you have and nowadays we got thousands of sounds and instruments on our PC which, in my opinion, is not always that good.
As someone who now produces everything from R&B to techno and disco, can you explain what forces brought you into dance music and developing your diverse tastes?
I always was into dance music to some extent but surely moving to Berlin and meeting Marlon played a big role. My musical taste just come from growing up in a household where music of all kinds was appreciated. I am Jamaican so we had a lot of reggae of course. But also folk-, rock-, classical and a lot of German music.
Much of the scene we write about centers itself around your current home of Berlin. What do you find so special about the city and how has it helped your creativity as an artist?
I moved a little away from the ‘hip’ areas but for me the best about Berlin is how green it is. Of course you got a lot of art & music here and the food is cheap. But compared to other cities of this size, Berlin has water almost everywhere and you can find a quiet spot almost anywhere
What does the future hold for Tender Games? Do you have any future projects lined up or any artists you really want to collaborate with?
As mentioned above, I got a few releases lined up and in July the remixes for Movin will be released. Both Black Loops and Marlon Hoffstadt delivered amazing work.
Give us your 3 favorite tracks at the moment?
Nu Guinea – Disco Sole
Los Retros – Someone To Spend Time With
Cotonete & Di Melo – A.E.I.O.U. (Dimitri From Paris Super Disco Dub)
Pre-order Tender Games’s single Movin and remixes here!