Google+ Beathearts: The Beat Generation Series #3: Terry Tester (DK)


The Beat Generation Series #3: Terry Tester (DK)

In our quest to discover new soulful underground music we come across many up and coming producers from all around the world. We thought is was about time to put the spotlight on a few of them that we think are about to blow up. We call it The Beat Generation Series.

The Beat Generation Series #3: Terry Tester (Denmark)

The third producer featured in our Beat Generation series is Thomas Månsson a.k.a. Terry Tester. Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, he's a part of the country's vivid experimental beat scene. We recently got in touch with Thomas to learn more about his inspirations and music making.


We discovered you through Buscrates (Beat Generation Series #1) who put us onto your music. How did you hook up with him?

We met in a record store while I was staying with family in Pittsburgh back in 2001. I wasn't producing at that time but I was heavily into crate diggin', however, I was mostly interested in the classic breaks, all those records that had already been sampled to death. Bus taught me how to listen for samples and get into the more untapped sources; to check for which instruments cats used, whether it was a private or major label pressing, the whole science of it. Also, I had no idea what an MPC2000 was before I met him. I would have probably never gotten into beatmaking had it not been for him.

You just dropped your debut album Horses & Diamonds (Mixed Ape Music) that absolutely floored us. Could you give us a track by track how the album came about?

For a few years I had been sending beats to Danish MC Per Vers, who's a major cat on the scene and one that I really wanted to work with. He had reserved some joints but never got around to using them. Instead he suggested that he release them as an instrumental project on his label Mixed Ape Music on which he had already released projects by producers Exampler and Kriswontwo. So Horses & Diamonds is kind of a fragmented affair. It's not like I went into the studio for three months and came out with a record. Some productions date as far back as 2004, like e.g. Sparkle, which Verb Ink then came through and laced with rhymes in the mixing process less than 3 months ago. The e.p.'s most recent productions are Subcrazy, For Her and Learn The Rules which I made last year.

What does the creative process behind an original Terry Tester track look like? Is it a jam session where you pull out the best parts or more straight forward song writing?

It's never straight forward. I never have a masterplan laid out in my head before I start working. Usually what gets me going is a sound or a chord or a drumbreak that I hear on a record. It's a rather unorganized process and sometimes I go for weeks without touching my equipment. I once saw a video clip of how DJ Premier had a stack of records sitting next to his turntable, and he'd go through them one by one, like an assembly line, churning out joint after joint. I could never be that organized. I wish I could, I'd get much more music done that way. I hear something, then I sample it and just act on impulses while I work. Sometimes nothing comes out of it. Sometimes it's the birth of a banger.

Who were your musical heroes when growing up?

I used to be exclusively into Michael Jackson. Public Enemy changed all that around 89 or so....

Public Enemy - Fight the power (Do the right thing OST 1989)

Reading up your discography we realize we already have a few of your productions in our crates without knowing. Jahi's album Souhop the Breakthru on DJ Typhoon's Sonny B music and Marc Mac's Dirty Old Hiphop remixes (BBE). How did you start working with DJ Typhoon?

There's a record store in Copenhagen called CAN. One day when I was shopping for records, I gave the owner a disc of beats. He passed it on to DJ Noize, who is also a Nobody Beats The Beats affiliate, and he passed it on to Typhoon, who was then in the process of collecting beats for the Jahi record. That was actually my first beat to ever be released. And it had Dwele on the hook! I couldn't get my hands down for a minute...

There are so many great Danish producers and acts; Tue Track, Booty Cologne, Abdullah S, Nick Nack, Ashtiani & Baltzer, GrafiskMusik. Any other collaboration in past/future?

I'm working on a few tracks right now with a producer called Kriswontwo, who is also a Mixed Ape Music recording artist. Back in 2009 I released a project together with producer Twelve Beats under the moniker The Works. I'm hoping we'll get back in the studio soon for another project. Also, I have an album in the making with crossover soul outfit Vincent Van Go Go, with whom I've already released two albums. On the new album I'm more deeper involved in the production than on the previous albums.

Your mix of styles unavoidably makes us reminisce over the legendary radio show on Danish National Radio P3 called Det D.U.R. (Danish Underground Radio). That show was so influential in the late 80s and opened our eyes to hiphop, techno, soul and house. It was hosted by Soulshock, DJ Delgado, EziCut and Kenneth Bager. Do you remember that show?

I sure do! I used to tape it. Det D.U.R. was such a huge influence on me. I was 9 years old when it was on the air, and although I tuned in mostly for the hip hop, every once in a while there'd be a house or techno joint that got under my skin. In that respect, I think it broadened my musical horizon in a major way, and it's certainly something I still carry with me. Today, I'm a regular listener to the Benji B show which I think is kinda similar in its range of styles. Hip hop is definitely my language but I'm also heavily inspired by cats like 4 Hero, Theo Parrish, Marcellus Pittman, Actress, Floating Points etc.

Download: Det D.U.R. - Top selections 1991 (The final show Dec 27th 1991)
A short comment on this download. Sorry non-scandinavians this show is in Danish but we're pretty sure you'll enjoy to reminisce over the epic selection of tunes. Just as for Thomas it definitely broadened our view of music and inspired us to push boundries. Tracklist is available here.

What are your inspirations today? Could you drop three albums or tunes that have recently blown your mind?

In heavy rotation right now is Nas Daughters, Marcellus Pitmann Untitled and Widows Widows EP.


The last couple of years crews like The Robert Glasper Experiment, BadBadNotGood, El Michels Affair and Will sessions have literally blown up with their live sessions. Is there a live Terry Tester experience? If so what's your live set-up like? DJ-set? Jam sessions? Invited guests?

There is a Terry Tester live experience but it's really basic. It's just me, a laptop and a midi controller, but it gets the job done. I recently performed Sparkle off the Horses & Diamonds EP with Verb Ink live on the mic. I wanna get into that kinda stuff more...

Finally, which other up and coming producer do you think deserves more attention?

The big homie Twelve Beats.


Is there an old/new track, mixtape or live session you would consider sharing exclusively with Beathearts' readers?

Sure! Back in the good old MySpace days I posted a couple of Little Brother remixes that Phonte would comment on and I'd be proud as hell. I made this remix of The Way You Do It in 2008 and it hasn't been shared since. Enjoy!

Download: Little Brother - The way you do it (Terry Tester remix)

Terry Tester's Horses & Diamonds is available now via Amazon, HHV, Spotify and other outlets.

As bonus here's a chance to win a vinyl copy + download of his album!

Thomas was gracious enough to hand us a vinyl edition and digital download of his Horses & Diamond album. All you have to do to win the package is to:

  • Comment, like, + or tweet this post and give us your view on which other up and coming producer/beatmaker you think we should feature in the Beat Generation Series?

Mail your answer, name and physical address to: Best suggestion/hook-up wins the package.

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