Tenno: An interview with a Japanese-inspired Lofi producer.

The Lo-Fi prodigy.

tenno, lofi, memories

We got to chat with the hugely talented ‘Tenno’ about his passion, inspiration, and ideas behind some of his most popular work. The Lo-Fi music scene has exploded in the past couple of years, and we think he may be about to do the same.

Update: As of January 2023, Tenno has 750,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and tens of millions of views. It’s been incredibly inspiring to see his journey unfold, and we can’t wait to see what he produces next!

We highly recommend you play this song whilst reading the interview. It makes for an epic ‘journey’! 😉

P.S. If you’re looking for even more incredible Lofi music, take a look at The 5 best Lofi study music channels on YouTube.

1. Who or what is Tenno?

Firstly, let me introduce myself. My real name is Egor and I’m from Russia, but I’m currently living in Hungary, Budapest. I have been producing music for around 12 years. I started out with house music and then moved to a more bass heavy genres like Drum&Bass and Melodic Dubstep. In April 2019 I decided to dive into the Lofi Hiphop / Chillhop music and therefore started the “Tenno” project. So far I had 11 releases. 

Now about Tenno. Tenno appeared from a vicious circle of searching for my own sound. At that time, I started getting into the Lofi Hiphop genre and I asked myself – “Why not give it a try?” And here I realized that this music genre incorporates everything that I like in music. It’s the slow bpm beats, melodic piano riffs, warm soothing bass, accompanied by some sampled instruments.

2. What lead you down the path of music creation?

My father was a huge music fan, that’s why in my childhood music was everywhere. Even the neighbor used to play the piano all the time, hearing that instrument made me fall in love with it. 

At the age of 12 I got a “Casio” synthesizer as a gift and I used to mess around with it a lot, trying all the sounds, creating my own melodies, just having fun with it. 

Couple of years later I received “Magix Music Maker” software where you basically had a lot of ready made samples and you could just throw them in and voila! You got yourself a track ☺ It was my favorite program at that time and I spent a lot of time with it, but it wasn’t anything serious. 

Some years later I decided to try out the first professional DAW in my life, which was “Propellerhead’s Reason 4”. I remember it was a handful to learn, as it seemed to be really complicated, but I had the motivation and a huge interest in it. I then moved to “Ableton Live”, as I found it to be more appealing to me.

And here we are. Since then I was experimenting a lot, trying to improve my skills and finding my sound.

3. What inspires you and drives you to create in the way you do?

Great music inspires me a lot. Also new techniques I learn makes me want to instantly try it out in a new track. I find setting goals inspires me as well, one of my goals is to release a track every 2 weeks and that drives me to constantly create.

I find the most challenging part of my creative process is just to open the DAW and start producing, once I’m passed that – the ideas are just starting to flow.

4. What thoughts and feelings are you trying to evoke?

I want people just to enjoy my music, calm down, relax and turn on their imagination ☺ That’s what I do when I produce, I imagine a story in my head and I try to tell that through my music. 

5. Is this a full-time job or a passionate side project for you?

This started as a side project, but it’s gradually becoming a full time job. I actually quite my 9 to 5 job to pursue music and I’m really happy that I did it. I can now focus more and dedicate all of my time pursuing my dream. 

6. Anything we can be looking out for in the future?

I’m actually working on an EP at the moment and I had an idea that I might even extend it to a full album. It is an interesting project as I’m planning on incorporating a story behind the music on the album. The name will be “Moonlight Adventures” and I hope that listeners will enjoy it. There is no release date at the moment.

7. You remind me of RUDE, have you heard his music? We would love to see a collab between you two one day!

Of course I’ve heard of RUDE! I love his music and he was my biggest inspiration when I was writing my track called “Journey”. A collab would be really really cool! Perhaps in the future! ☺

Be sure to catch Tenno on the following platforms, and stay in the loop for his most recent work!

Instagram: @tennomusic

Soundcloud: Tenno

Spotify: Tenno

Jonny Gleason

Jonny is the founder of A Day of Zen and has an unhealthy obsession with Japan. In 2022 he moved to Japan on a mission to give his audience the best possible information. He's helped over 300,000 plan their trip so far, and is eager to make that number much bigger!

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