Behind the Beat: Cristoph
As a writer my inbox is constantly full of promos, press releases, interview requests, I am sure you can see where this is going. Some of them are good, some of them are not so good. But, every once in a while you get a really, awesome piece of news that happens to have some fantastic music attached to it.
This e-mail happened to be about a new 8-track series from my favorite label Knee Deep in Sound and a producer and DJ named Cristoph who was going to have the inaugural edition. The e-mail came with a link to one of the tracks titled ‘Perplexity’, I listened once and I knew that I was going to love the entire thing. I also knew that I wanted to interview Cristoph and jumped at the opportunity when it was offered.
So, here I am at Amsterdam Dance Event 2016 (sometimes you have to cross an ocean for an interview), 8-track has now been fully released and I finally got to chat with Cristoph at the Knee Deep in Sound Party. If you haven’t already picked up a copy of this, I highly suggest you do.
OTB: So, let’s start with how is ADE? When did you get here?
C: It’s been mad. Late Wednesday night I got a phone call from my management telling me I’m closing the Pete Tong show at AIR here. Flew over Thursday night, played the Pete Tong show, then flew back to London, did a DJ Mag stream there, then was live on Radio 1 with Pete Tong, then went to play Egg with Pete, then left straight from Egg to fly back over here. Did the Crane Sessions this afternoon and then I came straight here.
OTB: That’s intense.
Knee Deep In Sound and PIV Records – STRAF_WERK ADE DAY 2
C: I have just been yoyo-ing between here and London.
C: It was crazy. I had been texting my mum about it. That in the U.K. just wouldn’t happen.
OTB: It wouldn’t happen in the states either.
C: Health and safety, all that. But, I’ve always said since I first started playing Holland this place is a bit different than other places. I think you get it a bit in Germany. They understand that it’s part of the life. There’s something going on in the underground House and Techno scene here. There are crazy venues that pop open and everything’s alright. It was crazy, just so mad looking out. I’m not one for heights, so I was trying to not look down while at the crane.
OTB: So, what I really want to ask you about is 8-track. I got the e-mail back in July from PR. I am a big Knee Deep fan which is why I’m here. The releases never disappoint. How did that come to fruition? It’s amazing. It’s been on repeat, I was dancing all over my Airbnb today.
C: It’s a bit of a mad story. At the end of last year I was with management and I started falling out of love with the industry. I just didn’t understand certain things that were going on. And I know music is about people’s opinion, so there’s no really right or wrong. And I had a different opinion on things than certain people. I also had a quite a turbulent year last year with personal things. Over the past 8-9 months I have gotten quite friendly with Daley, Hot Since 82. He’s been wicked in giving me advice. And he passed me on to his management and just talk to them.
I was speaking to them, I needed an outsiders point of view. They were saying they had this 8-track thing and they wanted me to do it. All of sudden I was starting to get excited about something which I hadn’t been in a while. They told me kind of the out lay of it and it was just basically for an artist to express themselves in eight tracks and that was it. And I’ve always wanted to write an album but I didn’t think I was ready to write a full studio album so something in between was perfect. And this was it, then they wanted to sign me as an artist and it just all went from there.
I had already wrote Closer, Alone and Catsy.
Cristoph – Alone (Edit)
OTB: That was my next question, what did you have done already?
C: I had Closer, Alone and Catsy. Me and Daley were talking, we’re always firing questions at each other and I said I’m really enjoying writing a bit more down tempo stuff, instead of always wanting to write a banger all the time. Sometimes it’s nice to sit in the studio and just sit back a bit. And I was writing tracks that were anywhere between 110 and 118 BPM, I mean 118 is about five slower then what I do. But, I mean 110 is like really slow and Daley was doing the same. I said I did these ones that are a bit quicker and I sent two across and that was Closer and Alone and he kept sending messages singing the words from the tracks. But Daley’s a really funny guy. He’s turned into a really close friend.
He wanted them for the label and obviously, I had just had the ‘Let It Go’ EP. I was happy he signed them because it was a label which I was interested in. I’m a big Hot Since 82 fan and I knew the label was going places and it’s someone I wanted to get tied to more because he was supporting a lot of my music. The guy is one of the biggest in the industry, he’s a great producer, a great DJ. So, why don’t you want to be tied to it?
C: At first I thought it was going to be an EP or two singles coming out. And that was cool. And then I had Catsy, which was working really well in sets but I just didn’t know where to send it because it’s a bit of a more euphoric, sounding track. So, it had to go but I wanted it to fit well because the reaction that the crowd was giving was telling me that I’m onto a winner type of thing.
Sometimes when you write a track and you think, ‘uh, it might not be that good” and then you play it out and the crowd gives you something.
So I had those three done and then I needed to write another five. And basically, I wrote maybe about 25-30 tracks in total and we sat down and we chose the best five. It was the best five that fit in and blended well. It was more of a team effort than me, or just the Knee Deep in Sound management or Daley himself. Everyone put forward their ear and really tried to see what ones blended the best and we went from there.
OTB: I think the one thing that I love about 8-track is that every single song is different. I think so many EP’s come out and I know this isn’t an EP, track after track they all sound the same.
OTB: Every track sounds different, there are similar elements. But, as a listener I don’t want to hear the same thing over and over again. Everyone does that. This was refreshing to listen to. That is one of the reasons I love KDIS so much as a label as well as 8-track.
You had a super busy super touring. You were in the U.S. once.
C: For the first time.
OTB: How was your first time in the U.S.?
C: It was amazing. The struggle to get a Visa was a lot. But, once I did, it made that much more special to have it. I was just so excited to be there to play. Houston was great. California was crazy. And I’m back in December for a much longer run.
OTB: Can you say where? I am hoping for something on the East Coast.
C: A few cities including Vegas. Playing Techno Taco Tuesday.
OTB: I will be staying tuned for more dates as they come. And New Year’s is right around the corner. I heard there is a big party in London.
C: I come back from the U.S. have Christmas at home. I start my own party on the 26th which is Boxing Day. It’s in my hometown of Newcastle. It’s in conjunction with Shindig, which is basically one of the biggest in the U.K. I’ve been sneaking in since I was 15 with my older brother and sister so, to have them support me and ask me to do a night is basically a dream come true.
Then I basically leave there to fly straight to Brazil to play Warung with Sasha and a couple other dates in South America and I fly back for New Year’s Day to play the Tobacco Docks in London with Hot Since 82 and Carl Cox. Then I fly straight back to Mexico to play BPM.
OTB: I have to ask what is next for you music-wise. If you can say?
C: There are labels on my radar that I want to release on. I am sitting on about 30 tracks that are unreleased. But, I try and do a track every week. My management is saying you don’t need to do that but I want to learn more and I still feel like I have a lot to do, to grow. And in my picture of where I want to be there is a lot to do. There are a lot of ladders to climb to get there. And I feel like if I sit at home on the Playstation or watch a film when I could be in the studio, even if it’s just making an edit of a track, I’m missing an opportunity. I’m quite hard on myself but I’ve worked my whole entire life to get to where I am and I don’t want to sit back and relax because as I said there’s a long way to go to where I want to be. I don’t see the point in stopping working now and taking things for granted.
OTB: That brings me to my next question, a few weeks ago you posted a video on your Instagram story of a collaboration with Jeremy Olander. So, I have to ask is that happening?
C: Yeah, that’s correct. I’ve been a massive fan of Jeremy ever since Eric Prydz started championing his music a few years back. He began following me on Twitter and we inboxed each other saying how we were both fans of each others music. A few days later he said he had sat on a project for a while and wondered if I wanted to take a look and possibly collab.
Of course, I jumped at the chance and set out about writing what you would have heard on my Instagram story. Since then I have sent the whole track back to Jeremy and he is putting his touches to it so I can’t wait to hear what he sends back. We have both agreed on a list of labels we would like to see it signed to so hopefully all will fall into place soon. We have also discussed doing more collaborations in the future so watch this space.
OTB: Artists you look up to?
C: I’m more into the progressive side. As I said before the tech house scene, some of it is quite similar. It sometimes gets monotonous. If you just stand there and hear the same thing over and over for two hours you get a bit bored. I enjoy going on a journey, that’s why I think progressive house with the likes of Sasha and Digweed, I’m a massive fan of Eric Prydz, like a huge fan.
OTB: Who isn’t though?
C: It’s quite hard to fit some of his stuff into sets. I drop some Cirez D stuff every now and then. His music though, I just think is amazing.
OTB: Favorite book and/or album?
C: I don’t think I have read a book since I was made to in school haha. However, I have just bought ‘God is a DJ: But, He Only Warms Up for Sasha’ so I’m looking forward to reading that to be honest.
As for favorite albums, there are quite a few I could mention here but one I have recently started listening to again is ‘The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free’. I love the structure of the album, how it tells a story all the way through. Plus, the track ‘Blinded By The Lights’ is amazing.
OTB: Last question, favorite food?
C: I’ve been asked recently about the best restaurants in Newcastle. There’s two. There’s a Japanese restaurant, they’ve got this little dish with Hokkaido Scallops. It’s absolutely amazing. I like that but my best friend in a place called Jesmond, in Newcastle. Little Italian place and literally every dish on the menu is crazy. I quite like when I’m not dieting, piling in and having a Calazone pizza topped with Carbonara.
OTB: That sounds amazing. I also would be in a food coma for days.
Connect with Cristoph
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