Interview: Schulz Army Gets to Know Tenishia

As the Malta superstar duos Tenishia continues their epic quest for international DJ domination, the rising stars made their appearance on Coldharbour Night at the legendary Avalon Hollywood last December. Joven Grech and Cyprian Cassar are the two that have been winning the hearts of fans since 2005 on their intimate island. Their story started after the two met through mutual friends in the Summer of 2004 with a conversation about music. It was a perfect duo match. Joven was already DJing in the flourishing Maltese nightlife, while Cyprian, who started playing the piano at an early age, brought a little taste of classical music to the Tenishia sound, which would soon engulf their little island.

It wasn’t long until the two conquered their island and started to invade other form of media with their own TV shows and radio show. It wasn’t long until the head of Armada, Armin Van Buuren took noticed and signed these two in 2005 with their collaboration with Kirsty Hawkshaw, “Outsiders”. Tenishia eventually broke into the Top 100 of DJ MAG’s list, and eventually landing the 71st spot earlier last year. However, the two have been winning awards prior to their DJ MAG breakthrough. The two have won the “Best Dance Tune Award” three times in a row at the Malta Music Awards, “Best Live Performance 2005”, an IDMA Award nomination in 2011 at the WMC and many more that could be listed.


Having only played in America a few times, not many fans in the States have had an intimate chance to get to know the minds behind Tenishia. After joining the Schulz Music Group last year, Schulz Army took this opportunity to ask the two a few question.

How would you define the style of the music that you produce?

We definitely like to produce emotional music, with emotional melodies. We definitely prefer eyes closing rather than hands in the air. Obviously, trance is one of our favorite genres but it has changed so much now, and it has become so vast that it goes from one extreme to the other and we have to admit that we do not like some of it. Progressive was always our favorite though. Dark, emotional and aggressive would be our main ingredients.  

When it comes to international touring, you guys have a pretty diverse tour calendar in Europe, Asia and Australia. Over the past few years, it appears as though your US tour dates have only included LA and San Francisco. In 2016 are you hoping to start to play more often in North America? What new cities are you hoping to get a chance to spin in?

Yes and yes… We do tend to play in various continents, especially in Asia, which is our biggest market at the moment. Our fan base there is growing by the minute and we have played some unreal events. We also have a monthly guest spot on MTV Asia, showcasing an hour of music videos and requests from China seem to be never ending. However, we plan to turn our focus on North America, now, and start growing our fan base bigger over there as well.

How many days a year are you on the road touring? How hard is it to find time to work on new productions with your tour schedule?

2015 has been crazy with touring and it’s starting to feel like home is actually a holiday. However, home means more work at the studio as we try to fit in our production in between the shows. We live on an island, weather is quite beautiful here and the beach is just around the corner from the studio. So yes it is quite tempting at times to just get a towel and just go to the beach but when you got music hungry fans waiting for their food, we have the duty of baking more cookies!

In recent interview, we read that you guys like to keep your health and fitness up, How do you two keep fit and eat healthy while being on the road?

This honestly keeps getting harder and harder. Being jet lagged most of the time after long flights doesn’t help at all but yes we do try our best. Eating healthy is also hard on the road but and it is quite frustrating at times when you step on the scales again after a three week tour. Sports, particularly Boxing, is the only thing that takes my mind off the music for a bit.

Your track “Five” was released on Coldharbour Recordings almost 10 years ago in 2006. How did you first get introduced to label boss Markus Schulz?

Markus was the one who introduced us properly in the international scene with that track! He was in Malta for a gig in a club where we used to play regularly and we handed him a CD with the track. At first we thought we’d just give it a try because we knew that he is a busy guy and god knows how many demo tracks he would get (we know that clearly now), however we thought we’ll give it a try. I believe it was October when we gave him the CD and six months after in March he played it on GDJB. There was a good reaction from the listeners and he liked the track and wanted to sign it to Coldharbour. It was the beginning of our international story.

A few more of your tracks were released on Coldharbour from 2007 to 2010, “Rush”, “Everything” and “Flesh”. After a five year break, how did it come about for Tenishia to be working more closely again with Markus and rest of the Coldharbour Recordings team releasing a new track “Don’t Let Go” featuring Adina Butar on vocals and then being signed to Schulz Music Group?

Wow, never thought there was a five year gap between our last and previous release on Coldharbour but that is actually true! Well, we still feel home at Coldharbour and also very comfortable to work with Markus. “Don’t let Go” was actually sitting on our hard drive for a while. We had a demo from Adina and we loved it but I think things got busy and it took a while to fully produce the track.

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You’ve placed in the DJ Magazine Top 100 DJs for the past few years. In the most recent 2015 poll you ranked number 71. What’s it like to be considered one of the world’s top DJs? How has it helped your career as a DJ?

It would be a total lie if I’d say that it didn’t help, but we surely do not do whatever we do to be in that list. Top 100 or not we love what we do and we’ll keep on doing it. Since EDM took over the scene, the list has become quite controversial and I think DJ MAG should really start categorizing it. Leave the top 100 as it is but also create sub lists, Trance, Underground, EDM, etc. I like to compare it with the list of top 100 athletes where Ronaldo or Messi would top the list because football is most popular sport, however how can I say that those football players are better than Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao who do a totally different sport.

What are some fun facts that Tenishia wants their fans to know that we probably don’t?

I’m a sucker for Boxing and Muhammad Ali. I love the guy to bits, I love his quotes and his funny moments, besides he is the greatest of all time! He is my total idol!

A little scared now after hearing about their boxing practices and idolization of Muhammad Ali. Just kidding. It was nice getting to know Joven Grech and Cyprian Cassar of Tenishia. Their love for sports and music explained why these two rapidly dominated all the top clubs in Malta. It was energizing to hear that Mr. Coldharbour, himself, was their first step to international stardom. Their addition to the Schulz Music Group will undoubtedly help these two with their dream to infiltrate more of the American scene. As life on the road continues to be home for Tenishia, let’s show them some good ole American hospitality as they continues to make music for the fans and not some Top 100 chart. You heard it from them earlier, Tenishia is baking trance cookies people, and let us chow down!

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About Airec Syprasert

Airec Syprasert is a graduate from San Francisco State University with a degree in English, Creative Writing and dabbled a little bit in journalism. Originally from the small town Visalia, he now lives in San Francisco. Airec has a vast taste for music, literature, and various forms of comedy. Since graduating, Airec shares a piece of his humor with his two blogs and Another blog that he writes for is for Phoria Events, reviewing trance music. Aside from writing, Airec enjoys going to live music shows of all types and tries to attend as many festivals as he can.

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