DJ Tennis Brings a Healthy Dose of Psychedelia to HÖR
Mar 3, 2023
3 min read
Established label owner and eclectic producer DJ Tennis worked a healthy dose of leftfield melodies, space-age samples, and psychedelic basslines into his set for the most famous bathroom in dance music: HÖR. Mixing house into breaks and indie, he upheld his reputation as an unpredictable and expansive selector.
Manfredi Romano – aka DJ Tennis – grew up tour-managing punk bands and organizing music events in Italy around the turn of the millennium. He also played in bands but confesses that he wasn’t a great singer or guitarist.
“I’m completely self-taught, and I have a weird approach,” he explains in an interview with Beatportal. “I have a very uneducated way of using a guitar, tuning the guitar strings so it sounded very noisy… [but] I think the fact that you don’t have musical instruction, in an academic sense, allows you to be more personal.”
After finishing university, he launched DAZE, Italy’s first booking agency solely committed to electronic music. Two decades later, in 2010, Romano established himself as a DJ in his own right.
His mission was to re-introduce ‘psychedelia’ to the dancefloor, which he describes as “a dimension that is between reality and a dream, between imagination and reason. And I wanted to use vocals, but not classic soulful vocals like in house music.”
Romano is also the founder and A&R of Life and Death, the label responsible for showcasing some of Tale Of Us and Mind Against’s earliest tracks. Carmine Conte and Matteo Milleri of the former ran the label with Romano in the early days, along with Thugfucker’s Greg Oreck, with DJ Tennis providing them with significant guidance in the earliest stages of their careers.
When producing, Romano fuses his past relationships with post-rock into the realm of the electronic. The same is true in curating his label, which has welcomed indie electronic acts like Clockwork into the fold in the past decade. As a DJ, he strives to be varied and spontaneous. “I don’t like to meet expectations, and I like when people are surprised…normally my sets are never the same.”
Today, when he’s not touring, Romano splits his time between Miami and Barcelona, where he enjoys riding motorbikes, collecting vintage action figures, and building upon his vinyl collection - which now numbers over 11,000 strong.
DJ Tennis will step behind the decks at Smartbar in Chicago, StereoBar in Montreal, SXM Festival Saint Martin, and beyond.