For the third instalment of ‘What Does it Take’ we are very happy to of had the opportunity to chat with a truly talented up and coming DJ and producer - Cristoph.
Cristoph’s DJ sets and productions range from Deep House to Tech House to Techno, integrating heavy bass lines with quality and uplifting melodies.
In this interview Cristoph shares his experiences right from the first gig he ever played, through to how successful 2013 has been for him and gives invaluable insights and advice for all aspiring DJ’s.
When did you get into the music scene? How old were you?
Both my Dad and Brother were DJ's so I've been into the music scene all my life basically. I used to mess around on their decks then my Dad bought me first pair at the age of 15 and its just went on from there really.
Did you start DJing or produce first?
Started to DJ first, I've only been producing properly for the past couple of years really.
Do you remember what it felt to play for the first time in front of the crowd? Did your first gig went well?
First time I DJ'd in front of a crowd was at a party I'd put on with one of my friends. It was a great feeling seeing people having fun to the music I was playing. My first 'proper' gig was when I was 17 in a nightclub in Newcastle. I was ridiculously nervous but it went well and the promoter was really happy. I still get nervous before every gig now.
What’s your ideal/preferred DJing set up?
Ideal setup would be 3 Pioneer CDJ 1000's or 2000's and a pioneer DJM 900 nexus.
What piece of software and hardware you could not live without?
Ableton 9 and my Novation 61sl mk2 controller keyboard.
Who is your favourite DJ and Producer?
This is a question I'm asked a lot by people I talk to. I don't think I could pick just one as I find the whole industry massively talented. I'm really into Hot Since 82's stuff at the moment and think he's a great DJ too. Think Detlef is producing some great tracks, as is Guti. Maya Jane Coles is another producer and DJ who I'm massively into. I'm also a huge fan of Eric Prydz. I may not play his music out when I DJ but I think the guy is a genius!
What do you do outside of the dance music scene?
Outside of music I like to just chill and see my family and friends. I'm an uncle to 6 nephews and 2 nieces, with another nephew or niece on their way so I enjoy seeing them a lot. Other than that I like to watch football and american football. Saying all this, its not often i'm out of the studio.
To my understanding you had a really successful year in 2013, released quite a few tracks on Underground Audio and Defected Records, what’s in the bucket list for 2014?
2013 was a crazy year to be honest, couldn't have wished for it to go any better! 2014 I have 2 EP's with Defected and a remix too, an EP with Extended Play and one with Relux Underground, gigs wise I'm playing Bath in January then London in February, March and April. Hopefully I'll just continue producing music which labels are wanting to sign and get more bookings. I'm still very new to it all so just enjoying the experience and learning new things.
And lastly, what does it take to make it?
A lot of hard work and determination goes into following any dream and I don't think the world of DJing and production is any different. I personally don't think 'I've made it' or at least not to where I want to be. However, what I can say is that you must be prepared to make any sacrifice and put as much effort in as physically possible. You can take a lot of knocks in this industry but you have to take them as part of the learning curve. Music is an art so for me there is no right or wrong, just people's opinions. I've found that the amount of time you put in in the studio you often miss out on things your family and friends do, trips away, nights out etc. It can be lonely at times as it’s just you and your computer or just you travelling away to a gig to meet strangers. This is the sacrifice you have to make though and trust me the rewards will be more than worth it if you put the effort in. The feeling of finishing off your own track, finding that a label wants to sign it, seeing you have been booked for a gig or even just seeing people who enjoy your music are feelings that just can't be beaten for me. It's been my dream since I can remember so I guess I’ve always been willing to do whatever it takes to try and reach the grade I want to be at. If it doesn't work out then at least I can say I gave it my best shot.
You can check out Cristoph more online at:
With the revival of the French House scene, some dynamic players have started to take centre stage. One of these figures is STUFF, a DJ and producer originally from Grenoble who had his introduction to the circuit around 2007, fraternising with such influential local acts as Acid Washed and Kiko. Since producing his first releases on David Carretta's well-respected Space Factory label, he has now started moving into the genres of house and low Miami bass and is a soldier at CUFF label. We talked to him about his background as a DJ and producer, and asked him what guidance he would give to new, aspiring artists.
Can you tell me how it all began? Did the DJing or production come first?
Since my early childhood I was totally into this music, especially "synthetic" music, so I began by learning production. I really wanted to understand how all these sounds were made which seemed so futuristic!
Where did you learn your skills from and on which equipment? Were you self-taught or did you take a course?
I was self-taught. I learned all by myself, alone like a geek, experimenting on the first equipment I had which was an old analogue synthesiser called a Realistic Mg-1 (which was actually made by MOOG) and a Roland TR 707 which was about 14 years old!
When DJing, what is the set-up you request and why?
I now use Traktor Scratch+ and an X1 Kontroller. I used to work with vinyl back in the day, and on CDJ too. However, today we have these wonderful tools which can help you really personalise your set using a lot of wonderful FX. I don’t think the audience give a shit about how you make your cook - they just want a musical trip! So for me, it's the best way to make it really personal.
What do you think about beat-syncing software? Is there a place for this or is it just taking away from some of the magic of DJing?
I think the most important thing is the result and not the way that it's made. Some DJs are able to make huge sets with beat-syncing software; others are better at producing an old-school flavour. It's all subjective I think.
When producing, which DAW do you use and why?
I produce in Ableton Live because it's so complete. The software already has everything you need to make a good track and I know all its parts and tricks. I think it's truly designed for our kind of music, and so I can work really fast on it!
Which part of the production process do you find most pleasurable and most challenging?
I love the beginning of a track, when you jam on the keyboard to find a sound or a melody. It's the most exciting part for me. I’m a bit lazy so I don't like to spend that much time on the structure, the details, the mix and all that kind of thing, but today the level is so high that it really can make the difference, so that’s the challenge for me!
What do you do if you hit a brick wall when producing a track and lose your inspiration?
I have produced for many years now, and lots of different kinds of stuff too. My experience is that you always make your best track when the process is really easy and everything happens really fast. My best tracks were made in a couple of minutes, so when I’m not inspired, I stop! It can be nice to watch some movies/TV shows for example - sometimes you can find some dialogue which will give you inspiration; maybe a rhythm, maybe a melody, or maybe just a title.
What projects are you currently working on and what is lined up for you in 2014?
I have a lot of music coming out soon; an EP on Time has Changed records with a really cool remix from German Brigante, and the long awaited birth of my homie's label CUFF, run by my brothers in arms Amine Edge and DANCE - it will be huge. I can't wait for my first release on it. The feedback is awesome and we are already planning a lot of gigs all around the world!
Any tips for our students and readers who also want to find a job out there which involves music and DJing?
Trust yourself and don't be in too much of a rush. You need to really understand all the aspects of this job; it sometimes can take a bit long to learn but if it’s your passion, then it's also a pleasure at each step!
And last question: what does it take?
It's pretty simple: you need big balls! In order to say "Hey! Listen to me. I’m here and this is good music which you will love now!”
You can check out STUFF more online at: