Torsten Stenzel in 2010
|Birth name||Torsten Michael Stenzel|
|Also known as||York, Ace, Ace Cozmic, Charly Massive, DJ Koma, DJ Scream, Happy Dreadlocks, Headbanger, Jack Daniels, Joint Brothers, Liquid Is Liquid, Savannam, Slide, Suspicious, Syntetic Sector, T.C.P., Tanzdiebe, Teschnozabel|
|Born||27 September 1971|
|Origin||Bad Hormburg, Germany|
|Genres||Trance, House, Techno, Ambient, Chillout, Classical, Lounge, Pop, Smooth jazz|
|Occupations||Composer, Record producer, Songwriter, Remixer, A&R-Manager|
|Instruments||Church organ, Piano, Synthesizer,|
|Years active||Since 1992 - Present|
|Labels||Armada Music, Sony, Universal, EMI, BGM, Virgin, Black Hole Recordings, Kontor Records, Planet Love Records, Liquid Records, 7th Sense Records, Ultra Records, Zeitgeist, Offshore Music, Unsubmissive Records, Positiva, Manifesto, Crash Records|
|Associated acts||York, Dj Sakin & Friends, Diver & Ace, Trance Allstars, Taucher, Ayla, Dj Shog, Mandala Bros., Vanessa May, Tarja Turunen, Kai Tracid, Waterman, Dj Buzz, Paragliders, Moguai, Sin Plomo, Narany, Paul Lomax, N.U.K.E, Miss Yetti, Dj Tatana, Jennifer Paige.|
|Website||Official Homepage, facebook.com/torsten.stenzel, facebook.com/Planetloverecords|
Torsten Stenzel is a successful German musician, songwriter, composer and producer for more than 22 years. Classically trained from an early age his roots are within the field of Electronic Dance Music (EDM). His interest for music first started at age 5 when he received piano lessons by academic piano teacher Andre Terebesi. Today Terebesi is a professor at the respected Peter Cornelius Konservatorium in Frankfurt, Germany.
Age 13 Stenzel changed to church organ and received his church organist diploma age 15. Graduating from the Protestant church in Frankfurt.
In 1990 he released his first single "Recall IV - Contrast" through Zyx Records. His partners failed to credit him as a writer and because of his lack of knowledge of the music industry, only "mixed by Torsten Stenzel” appeared on the credits. In 1992 Stenzel became A & R-Manager for the underground record label "Crash Records". It was his first job in the recording business and together with his partner at that time - Zied Jouini - he became responsible for the label. Their first release N.U.K.E - Nana went straight to No. 1 in Italy and No. 3 in Benelux.
In 1993 Stenzel started his collaboration with DJ Taucher, who had weekly shows at the legendary Music Hall in Frankfurt. The first release by the duo was the single Happiness. The second single Atlantis (1993: Planet Love Records) is still today considered a classic track within the EDM scene.
- 1 First Label (1993 - 1998)
- 2 Film Music
- 3 Awards
- 4 Discography (selected)
- 5 Filmography
- 6 References
- 7 External links
First Label (1993 - 1998)
In 1993 Stenzel founded his first own underground label 'Liquid Records'. He now had the freedom to release whatever he choose and, unbeknownst to him at the time, it proved a wise decision. Together with fellow German, producer Oliver Lieb, he started the project 'Paragliders'. During this period he kept working with renown electronic artists such as Booka Shade, Dj Tatana, Dj Taucher, Talla 2XLC and DJ Sakin. Stenzel released over 40 Vinyl-singles through Liquid Records.
Dj Taucher and Stenzel
In 1995 Stenzel bought the rights to 'Planet Love Records' in which he afore had been the A & R-Manager. He was now focused on developing his trance sounds together with Taucher. Their single 'Fantasy' was licensed to Sony Dancepool, and, surprisingly, it reached a top 50 position in the German media control charts. The third single 'Infinity' reached a top 50 position in Germany as well.
Until 1997 the duo remixed over 52 artists and were named the 'worldwide third best remixers' by readers of the magazine Raveline. Stenzel and Taucher reworked tracks by amongs others Faithless - 'God is a DJ', which in several countries reached a number 1 position in the charts. The Stenzel-Taucher productions were also licensed by famed British producer and Dj Paul Oakenfold for some of his compilations. Furthermore the duo also released productions under their alias' 'Red Light District' and 'Diver & Ace'.
Commercial Breakthrough - Dj Sakin & Friends (1999 - 2006)
In 1998 Stenzel released the track 'Protect Your Mind' together with yet another fellow countryman, producer Sakin Bozkurt (Dj Sakin). It was the first single under the new project 'Sakin & Friends' and it was released through 'Planet Love Records'.
They had produced a club version based on the film music by composer James Horner. Through 4 months several European Dj's played the track frequently and it quickly became a clubhit. In 1999 Stenzel licensed the track to the underground label 'Overdose' and produced a remix - (Suspicious Remix).
Shortly after a single with the new remix was released it entered the German charts without a music video or further promotion. It became a fast selling item and after only one week it rose in the German music sales charts onto a number 3 position. In the German Dance Charts it hit a number 1 position, and additionally received Silver, Gold and Platin records in several European countries. Today more than 700.000 copies of 'Protect Your Mind' have been sold and the track is considered to be one of the most popular trance productions ever released!
The second single from the duo - 'Nomansland' featured the melody of an old TV show that Stenzel loved as a child (The Adventures of David Belfort). 'Nomansland' reached a 10th position in Germany and 16th position in The United Kingdom. It was difficult to continue the achievements of Sakin & Friends after the runaway success of 'Protect Your Mind', but even their debut album 'Walk on Fire' charted successfully.
As a result of this success Stenzel decided to fulfill his dream and explore options outside of Germany. He moved to the Spanish Balearic island Ibiza and built a recording studio in his home close to San Jose.
After setting up the studio in Ibiza, Stenzel worked promptly on his different projects. Among these York that he had started in 1997 with his brother Jörg Stenzel. Their first single The Awakening reached a 11th position in the UK charts. It became the first trance track that had the electric guitar as lead instrument. With more than 250.000 sold copies 'The Awakening' became one of the best selling singles that did not reach a top 10 position in the United Kingdom.
Their second single 'On The Beach' was released on the German producer Andreas Tomallas' (Talla 2XLC) label - 'Suck me Plasma'. It was later on licensed to Sony Music Germany and Manifesto in The United Kingdom. 'On The Beach' was a coversion of British singer-songwriter Chris Rea. It instantly reached a top 3 position in Germany, United Kingdom and US. Stenzel had his second huge hit following 'Protect Your Mind'. Furthermore Chris Rea was so positively affected by the coversion - which had sold more copies than the original from 1986 - that he helped promoting the track with a performance in the British 'Top of The Pops' show. Chris Rea and Stenzel started writing songs together, among others the track 'Your Love is Setting Me Free' by Watermen Meets Chris Rea.
Stenzel has been a huge fan of Moby, since the release of the album Go in 1991. In 2001 Moby's manager contacted him and asked if he would be interested in remixing the new single Porcelain. Stenzel produced a deep Clubremix, that later on was released through Mute Records (US).
In 1999, after a short time in Ibiza, word of mouth spread and the biggest German music channel VIVA sent reporters to interview Stenzel. Local Dj's and producers in Ibiza welcomed him and he then met Dj Sin Plomo, who was a resident Dj in the Space-Club (We Love Sundays) and the well known KM 5-Club. They started an intensive collaboration and had numerous releases together on different labels. Among these they released a series of KM 5 compilation albums on Richard Branson’s label Virgin Records. Additionally Stenzel worked with Sin Plomo's friend Paul Lomax. Together they produced two records Islands and Sweet Love - two typical Balearic sound tunes. Stenzel managed to get his Chillout Productions on the famous Cafe del Mar and Buddha Bar compilations. He also released an album and several singles in co-operation with Dj and producer Matt Caseli - resident Dj at Ibiza’s most famous nightclub 'Pacha'.
- 2004 Stenzel met German Dj and producer Sven Greiner (Dj Shog) on Ibiza. Together they founded the record label '7th Sense Recordings' where they released various new trance projects under alias' such as Mandala Bros., Jolly Harbour and San Jose.
In 2006 the Finnish rock singer and ex-front figure of the rock band Nightwish was searching for new songs for her first solo album. Torsten’s Kenyan songwriter friend Adrian Zagoritis pitched her the track Iceflowers, taken from the second 'York' album 'Peace' (2004). Tarja liked the production and was interested in writing music with Stenzel.
It was a music direction totally new for Torsten. Tarja had the idea to write her new album in Ibiza, and he organized, together with the Berlin Department of Universal Music, a writing camp where they flew in 10 writers from all over Europe. They wrote about 75% of the songs on her debut album My Winter Storm at this session. Stenzel wrote 5 songs for this album of which 3 - 'The Reign', 'Damned & Divine' and 'Lost Northern Star' - were recorded in Santa Monica at the Remote Control Studios of Academy Award-nominee Hans Zimmer.
The album was released through Universal Music in 70 countries. It became a huge worldwide success and received several Gold and Platinum records in Finland, Russia and Germany. In 2010 Tarja released her second album What Lies Beneath. Stenzel wrote two tracks for this album; one of these being the song 'Naiad'. The album reached top 5 in the German sales chart.
In 2006, Stenzel travelled to the USA to promote the new album he produced with Jennifer Paige. He was introduced by Paige to musical genius and multi-Grammy winner, American Rick Nowels. After a short conversation Nowels wanted to hear the new songs produced with Jennifer Paige. He then asked Stenzel if he would be interested in playing keyboard for him as he was just completing new songs for the British girl band All Saints. Torsten eventually played keyboards on many of the songs including 'Chickfit', that was released as one of their 2007 singles off the album 'Studio One'. After this positive feedback he went back to Los Angeles a couple of times, again playing keyboards for Nowels on new songs he wrote with Canadian-Portuguese songstress Nelly Furtado and UK phenomenon Joss Stone.
In 2007 Stenzel wrote his first 3 songs with Rob Davis, who, among others, composed the Kylie Minogue hit Can't Get You Out Of My Head.
The West Indies: The New Island - Antigua (2007 - 2014)
It was time for a change. Throughout the 90’s, Ibiza became more commercialised, mainstream and gradually lost appeal. The increasingly hedonistic lifestyle and overcrowding caused Stenzel and his family to seek greener pastures.
As an avid world traveller, he had visited Thailand, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa and many other places while seeking the perfect home for his family. Their travels eventually brought them to a getaway vacation in Antigua. “When we came to Antigua” says Stenzel, “we said this could be the right place, it’s warm, and we wanted to escape from Ibiza because it was too crowded and expensive.”
Stenzel purchased a house and they moved there in 2007. Here he worked for one and a half year in his 'Midway Studio', before he in his private home put up another studio - the 'Jungle Studio'.
In 2008 Stenzel completed the production of a trance album by Croatian singer Narany. She was chosen as the best national singer the same year.
- 2009 Torsten produced the album 'Butterfly Survival Kit' with his wife Angela Heldmann (Asheni). The album is a blend of retro jazz and electronica. It was released on the Swiss record label 'Offshore Music' and 'Hi Note Records' in Asia, Japan, Chicago and Taiwan.
Due to his contacts in the US, Stenzel is now involved in several new projects. In 2010 he remixed a track for the RnB star Shontelle and produced a Chillout / Lounge album with the ex-wife of Donald Trump, Marla Maples. He has collaborated on several projects gone viral with actress/recording artist Niki Salettta, & has also started projects with local artists such as 'Jus Bus', 'Logiq', 'Claudette Peters', 'Tian Winter' and Reggae singer 'Promise'.
November 2012 Marla Maples won the 'Hollywood Music & Media Award' for the best Chillout Track - 'House of Love'. The track was produced by Stenzel.
Arriving fresh in Antigua in late 2007, Torsten met the movie producer Rolant Hergert through an Antiguan friend. Rolant was shooting a new motion picture in Berlin called Fire. Torsten was invited to Berlin to score 'The Making of Fire'. After the producer heard his work, he replaced the original composer with Stenzel, who wrote the entire soundtrack in Antigua. Meanwhile, Stenzel made another soundtrack for a Caribbean independent movie Memoirs of The Blue which was planned to be released in 2010.[dated info]
Return of 'Planet Love Records' (2011 - 2014)
Late 2011 major Dutch EDM label Armada Music announced that they had joined forces with Torsten's Planet Love Records. From 1992 - 1998 Planet Love Records was the homebase of several of Torsten's most successful early EDM productions. Furthermore influential and classic tracks by signed artist such as 'Dj Tatana', 'Taucher', 'Talla 2XLC' and 'Dj Sakin & Friends'. In 1998 Torsten put his work with 'Planet Love Records' on hiatus as the family moved to Ibiza for new adventures. Today the Planet Love Records production facility is situated on the Caribbean island, Antigua. Future plans for Planet Love Records and Armada Music are the release of the next artist album by York and the start of a new chillout compilation series. Furthermore digital re-releasing several classic 'Planet Love Records' productions and new individual releases by signed artists.
Start 2012, Torsten Stenzel and Armada Music released volume 1 of a new compilation of chillout, downtempo, lounge productions. The 'Planet Chill - Compiled by York' compilations will see vol. 1 - 5 released within 2012. Featuring productions by Torsten's long term producer colleagues, some of his own classic productions and brand new exclusive unreleased material. Vol. 1 - 3 offer productions by acts such as Torsten's much respected own project 'York' and among others, international star EDM producers 'Matt Darey', 'The Thrillseekers', 'Solarstone', 'Roger Shah', 'Ayla', 'Kai Tracid', 'tyDi' & 'Mike Foyle'.
Start 2014, 'Planet Love Records' and sister-label 'Planet Love Classics' are now affiliated with Dutch record label Black Hole Recordings. An official announcement was made public on 20 January. The Black Hole management announced upcoming new releases via Planet Love Records by acts such as York, Kai Tracid, Steve Brian, Asheni, Jennifer Paige, Deep Voices and Chris Reece. Furthermore there will also be new 2014 remixes from tracks out of the Planet Love Classics catalogue.
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Beats
On fabruary 1st, 2013 world renown artist Mike Oldfield released the album Tubular Beats. As a colloboration between Mike Oldfield and Torsten Stenzel 'Tubular Beats' is a collection of some of the best known Oldfield tracks, remixed by Torsten under his York moniker. Unlike with previous club mixes, the album is a true two-sided collaboration between Oldfield and Stenzel, making use of parts from the original multitrack tapes as well as new parts played by Oldfield.
- 1999 Echo-nomination: Sakin & Friends for "Best national Dance Act"
- Planet-Radio-Award: Protect Your Mind was the most wanted track in Radio 1999
- Gold Record in Germany: 250.000 sold CDs: Sakin & Friends, Protect Your Mind
- Silver Record in England: 200.000 sold CDs: Sakin & Friends, Protect Your Mind
- Silver Record in England: 200.000 sold CDs: York, On The Beach
- Platin Record in Denmark: 1.000 sold CDs: Sakin & Friends, Protect Your Mind
- Gold Record in Denmark: 5.000 sold CDs: Sakin & Friends, "Protect Your Mind"
- Gold Record in Greece: over 30.000 sold CDs: "Pop Idol" winner "High 5"
- Gold Record in Russia: 10.000 sold CDs: Tarja Turunen, My Winterstorm
- Platin Record in Finland: over 30.000 sold CDs: Tarja Turunen, My Winterstorm
- Gold Record in Germany: 100.000 sold CDs: Tarja Turunen My Winterstorm
- Gold Record in Germany: 100.000 sold CDs: Tarja Turunen My Winterstorm
- Hollywood Music & Media Award (2012) for 'Best Chillout Track': Marla Maples House of Love. Produced by Stenzel.
Media Control / Charts International
Every release is shown with its chart position and country abbreviation.
- 2007 Fire, Making Of, Produced by Shab Kirchner, interview Gary Dourdan
- 2008 Fire, Motion Picture, Arenico Production, produced by Rolant Hergert, ft. Gary Dourdan, Cosma Shiva Hagen, Ken Douken
- 2010 Memoirs of the Blue Soundtrack, Halivantigua Films, Produced by Bert Kirchner & Luke Hanson
- 2014 Vanishing Sail, Indian Creek Film, Produced by Alexis Andrews & Charles Hambleton (in production)