How Matthias Tanzmann Founded the Globally Celebrated Moon Harbour Recordings

Apr 18, 2023

Deanna Riling

2 min read

Started by a group of friends who wanted an outlet for their unsigned releases in 2000, Moon Harbour Recordings has become a staple in the crates of the global house music DJs in the decades since. Tanzmann never imagined the longevity or reach that ensued.

“It was for our group of friends to also be able to release stuff independently from applying at other labels and sending demos,” says Tanzmann, who never expected Moon Harbour to remain on the scene more than 20 years later. “Also, to get so much international recognition, it was never the idea that we had—we’re happy it happened—but there was no business plan behind it,” he says.

While the expert curation of Tanzmann has guided the sound of the label for two decades, it’s impossible to imagine its success without the kickstart of his label partner, André Quaas, who was one of the owners and founders of the immensely successful legendary German nightclub, The Distillery, in Leipzig.

“[André] also wanted to do something else to have another field, which is part of this musical scene, but to get a little bit out of the club thing, so that was a logical step for him and for me, too,” says Tanzmann.

Fast forward, and Moon Harbour Recordings is one of the definitive reasons the New York Times put Leipzig on their list of best places to visit in 2010. Their sounds traveled worldwide to all the top-tier conferences, including ADE, MMW, Sónar Barcelona, and have been a key component in Tanzmann’s residency at the infamous Ibiza club night Circoloco at DC-10.

The accompanying Moon Harbour Inhouse compilations and carefully curated LPs preserve the soul of deep and tech house, while cementing a distinctive “Moon Harbour Sound.” In addition to Tanzmann’s releases, other artists with releases on Moon Harbour include Claude VonStroke, Detlef, Marco Faraone, Miane, Dennis Ferrer, Piem, and Cloonee.

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