Posted on 17 July 2012 by admin
Christopher Norman has been one of my friends since around 2005. At the time I got to know him he was part of the creative producers getting exposure and releases via the Scandinavian label/community Dumb & Furry (Dumb Dan, Özgür Can & Stian Klo). He was then known as Retrobyte. I have followed Christopher’s carrer closely ever since. He’s never stopped to amaze and impress me. Since 2005 a lot has happened to Mr. Norman’s sound. I caught up with him and had the chance to fire some questions at him:
Hi Christopher! You’ve been turning heads with your stunning EPs that you began to release in 2011. Tell us a bit about where you’re coming from musically and the background you draw inspiration from.
Hi Ken! Thanks for having me on!
I like to describe my music as an even mix of the organic and the electronic – electropop with depth! My background as a producer lies chiefly in dance music – I started DJing and producing under the name “Retrobyte” in 2005. The electronic streak continues to this day – regardless of what I produce that influence always ends up percolating to the surface.
Some of the motifs in your songs come from a place where desire blends with heartache and loneliness. Tell us about that place.Writing for me became a way to sort through an onslaught of feelings and pinpoint the emotions that matter. Sometimes things can be overwhelming, but when I strip back the layers I can see that at the core is usually one thing, one feeling that is at the core of it all. Once you know it’s about feeling left out, or being lonely, or whatever you’re complicating, it gets a little easier – my songs tend to become distillations of those feelings, organized in a way that makes it easier to digest and understand something. Basically, you need to visit and embrace that place from time to time in order to come full circle on things.
There’s quite a pop tinge to your songs. What’s your take on pop music? What justification does it have in a world where individualism and cynicism seems to be on the top of the agenda?
Such good questions I like a lot of pop music – I just hate when I get past the hook and I realize what i’m singing is complete nonsense. Good pop music should grab you instantly, but by the 10th play you’re listening on another level, resonating with the lyrics, etc… Most Top 40 pop here in the States is quite superficial, I think a lot of it feels disingenuous. Then there’s somebody like Fiona Apple that comes along and just keeps it completely real. There’s always room for good pop in the world!
You seem to enjoy a lot of different setups music wise, from piano and guitar driven to synthy tech house. Are there limits, or do you tend to reach for the horizon?
The only limits are the ones you place on yourself! I Since I come from dance music I think I”ll always make it in some degree, but I also look forward to times when I can get out of my comfort zone and do something I haven’t done before. For my production work I bop all around thru a bunch of styles, it keeps things interesting! I like to have my hands in a lot of different honeypots so to speak.
Creating EP 2
You’ve worked with Drop Out Orchestra on several occasions. How does a deal like that usually go down? They send you a rough sketch and then you start singing? How does the magic happen?
They’re such great guys! They send me an instrumental idea to brainstorm ideas to, and after agreeing on a vibe/lyric idea I’ll track it and send it off to them. They do most the magic in their mystery studio in Sweden! It’s fun to take off my producer hat for a bit – it lets me flex a different set of muscles.
What other acts and artists have you worked with? And what’s in the pipeline in the near future?
I just co-produced/remixed/mastered an Oakland artist by the name of Hopscotch – we shacked up in a Portland studio for a week to crunch that record out and it was a blast. I’m also doing collaboration EPs with both The Reverb Junkie (from DOO’s “Sun Machine”) and a singer/songwriter in town here named Abigail Stauffer. A couple more guest vox and courting spots too – lots of little stuff. There’s another solo project on the horizon, but I won’t say too much about that until I know what it is!
You’ve had your first successes performing live. What do you go for when you’re face to face with your audience? Are you getting comfortable or is it still like entering a trapeze without a safety net (if it ever were)?
After doing my solo act for about a year I’ve finally gotten comfortable performing! It used to make me really nervous, but now I feel really empowered and energized from it. There’s still a sense of “holy crap, something could go wrong at ANY MINUTE” – kind of like you’re surfing on a wave that will inevitably come crashing down – but it’s a motivating feeling, not a crushing one. I just need a scotch first and I’m good to go!
I know a big inspiration to you is iamamiwhoami. What else is tickling your fancy artistically?
Man, I really have talked everyone’s ear off about them, yeah? My boyfriend is sick of hearing me go on! The new Metric album is eating my brain (check out “Clone” and “Lost Kitten”. I always have some scandinavian pop in rotation too – Little Dragon, Lykke Li, Miike Snow.
The remixes of your tracks are often in the faster paced, harder end of the scale. Who’s on your ‘I-would-love-a-remix-from’-list?
Stimming – he’s a German tech house producer. I buy pretty much everything he does without even listening to it I would also kill for a remix from Jacques Lu Cont or Plastic Plates. Or Punks Jump Up.
You use facebook and BandPage as your major platforms. Where do you stand on the music industry’s way of reaching the masses contra how you go about it? Have the labels had their time, or do they still have time to catch the train again?
We could go on for pages about this I’m mostly happy that I’m around in a time when the artist is so empowered. There’ll always be a place for the labels – I think as we move into an age where music curation is increasingly necessary (due to the monster influx of music with which to listen) we’re gonna see more labels move into that role, offering support when needed (distribution, occasional $$) and letting their artists do their thing.
You created a mixtape for audioavalon. Tell us a bit on your thoughts and emotions creating it.
It’s summer! Not all this stuff is super recent, but it’s perfect for dropping on your MP3 player and going for a beautiful walk or drive
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Chris!
Christopher Norman – Mixtape for audioavalon.com *exclusive*:
01. Body Language – Social Studies (Plastic Plates Remix)
02. Metronomy – The Bay (Erol Alkan’s Extended Rework)
03. Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans (Penguin Prison Remix)
04. Oh Land – Sun Of A Gun (Yuksek Remix)
05. Chrome Sparks - <3 & Soul (Christopher Norman Remix)
06. Drop Out Orchestra – It Will Never Be The Same Again (Punks Jump Up Remix)
07. iamamiwhoami – goods
08. Nightlife – On The Run
09. Christopher Norman – Word Of Prey (Kotov & Andre Wilde Remix)
10. Christopher Norman & The Reverb Junkie – You Don’t Know
11. Metric – Police & The Private (Christopher Norman Bootleg Mix)
12. Christopher Norman – The Fall (Saturday Monday Remix)
More Christopher Norman:
Posted on 16 May 2012 by admin
Drop Out Orchestra have been our favorite band since they released Gibbon back in 2009. Watching their carreer unfold since then has been one of the most important stories on the scene to behold. From being relatively unknown studio dudes they’ve gone on to remixing for names like Paul Weller and Flight Facilities and doing gigs around the world with their unique setup of Gary B. working the machinery (and the occasional maracas) and Inko playing some kick ass live bass. A combo that has proved very effecient with audiences around the globe. We met up with Gary to have a little chat prior to his set that’s coming up on Hot To The Touch on Pure.fm/NuDisco this Friday!
Gary, I’m really happy that you could take time out of your staggering schedule to do a guest mix for Hot To The Touch. Tell us how the past year has been for the Drop Outs. Touring, massive releases and remixes. How the devil do you keep up?
The last year has been crazy. For a while, around this time last year I thought we wouldn’t get any further, that we didn’t have what it takes. Then Flight Facilities approached us for a remix – then Island Records asked us to remix Paul Weller… I mean come on… Paul Weller?! This was May 2011.
We really worked those two tracks, did the best we could and then some. And suddenly I realized we were far from over. In June we got in touch with Alberto Mombelli, our booking agent and then the gigs started coming. Since then we’ve been touring more or less constantly, from Australia to Mexico and all over Europe. We’re recording new stuff all the time and enjoying the flow, and we’re both really inspired from the whole buzz and the people giving us all this love. In short, it’s been an amazing year. Simply amazing. We’re the luckiest old Swedes on earth.
You took Rickrolling to a completely new level with your ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ edit. Your loving and original edits is one of the things your fans really love. Tell us how you go about creating these wonderful edits. Do they come from a necessity to fit your favorite classics into your sets, or do they come from somewhere completely else?
I guess for some of those tracks it’s just a matter of making good songs in a bad or unplayable production sound cool. That’s what we tried to do with Rick Astley anyway. Other times it’s just a matter of adding some percussion or whatever. It depends.
For your live shows you bring along something unique to the show: A live bass player. And what a bass player! How did this friendship arise and how do you guys go about these shows?
We’ve known each other for a long time. Inko plays all the guitars on our tracks, and suddenly we thought of the idea of having a live bass in the dj booth. And it’s really going down well. Right now we pretty much play our own stuff for an hour and a half, and sometimes I get to dj for half and hour in the middle.
What can you tell us about the set you did for our show? What can our listeners expect?
It’s basically all the best tracks I received after I did my monthly mixtape recently, like the new Flight Facilities single, and Gigamesh’s new track. It’s a mix of my favourites out of the most recent stuff that has been on rotation in the office.
What’ve you got planned in the near future? Eskimo just slapped up fresh new remixes of ‘It Will Never Be The Same Again’ and my new favorite Drop Out release ‘Sun Machine’! What else are you spoiling us with?
We have a new original out in June. It’s got a killer vocal from Christopher Norman, and NFSW is doing a remix.
Any special tips on what to look out for at the moment sound wise? Where are things heading for you sound wise at the moment?
Most likely towards a darker, grind core influenced variation of nu metal. Either that or a step back to the freestyle / boogie / 1982-kinda-sound, mixed with cheesy UK house from the early 90s. We’re still deciding.
Anything you want to get off your chest to your fans?
We love you!
Drop Out Orchestra are touring. Here are the dates for their upcoming gigs:
07 Jun, La French @ Le Regine, Paris, FR (DJ Set)
14 Jun, Rust, Copenhagen, DK
16 Jun, Kuppel, Basel, CH
21 Jun, Hive Club, Zurich, CH
30 Jun, Lemonade @ The Nest, London, UK (DJ Set)
05 Jul, Juu Jaab Festival, Muhu Island, EE
06 Jul, Club Clazz, Tallinn, EE
20 Jul, Club 69, Ghent, BE
21 Jul, Buiten Westen Festival, Amsterdam, NL
11 Aug, Boothstock Festival, Rotterdam, NL
Posted on 18 April 2012 by admin
Hello Martin, tell us about Rose Records. What’s the philosophy behind it, what sound are you guys going for?
Rose Records are Eva, Lars, Rico, Martin and Ronny. We all live in Leipzig. We founded the label mainly to release our own tracks without having to rely on other labels.
We wanted to create something of our own and Rose Records is the perfect platform.
If you listen to previous releases from Rose Records as well as the music by Luvless, m.ono and my tracks on Soundcloud, then you soon realize that there is a strong sense of conncection even though the difference are obvious too. But together an image forms. It’s House music with influences from other different genres.
You already have a bunch of releases behind you. How have they been received?
Music is always a matter of taste and everybody listens differently. That’s why there’re both positive and negative feedback. That’s the way it should be. I always find it tremendously exciting when I get to know people, be it on the internet or in real life, who get influenced by my music and sets. A lot of different exciting stories, and like with the Rose crew a whole new label.
What’ve you got coming up on the label?
Coming up is the ‘various three’ sampler. After that we’ll release some new EPs by some of our artists and perhaps one or two surprises.
You’re originally from the Dresden area. How’s the Disco scene there?
When I still lived in the Dresden area there was already a strong scene for House music in which Disco was played and was getting more and more exposure. In 2010 I moved to Leipzig and here there’s also a strong House scene. I noticed that people now love to get down to slower stuff, like Soul and Disco tracks mixed with the regular House sets. Anyway it’s exciting what’s going on in Leipzig from a musical point of view, also with other stuff than Disco and House.
What’s on your personal playlist at the moment?
Lazare Hoche – Luv Thang
M.ono & Luvless – Never Gonna Leave You
Mark E – Orange (Space Dub)
Lee Webster – That 00 Joint
I always have records from the Sleazy Beats and Disco Deviance labels and the odd Dan Hartman recording with me in the DJ bag.
You used to play mostly Tech and Minimal. How do you see your progression from the to playing deep disco stuff nowadays?
I always listened to Hip Hop and Soul music. So that’s not new to me. But back then Techy music just worked better for me. In the meantime I see things differently and I crave older music, sometimes in new interpretations. I’ve always had a passion for melodies and vocals and we all know that just works best with a mirrorball attatched to the ceiling.
How do you see the scene in two or three years time? What’s going to happen soundwise?
It’s always difficult to give make prognoses about that. Everybody has his own point of view. But I hope that people will keep on being open towards anything new. It’s exciting to see how music will be interpreted. Imean it doesn’t matter if it’s House etc. To put things into categories and genres…It’s just music in the end.
Tell us a bit about the set that’s coming up on Friday. What’s in store for the listeners?
The mix features my favorites at the moment. I wanted give it a groovy disco feel. You can listen to the mix in your car or at home but it’s also something you can expect from me in the club.
Martin Hayes will be my guest on Hot To The Touch on Pure.FM this Friday from 18GMT till 20GMT.
Here’s Martin’s latest release ‘Stretchin” exclusively in its full length here on audioavalon.
Listen to Martin Hayes – Stretchin’ [Lazare Hoche]
You can find out more about Rose Records and its artists here:
Posted on 12 March 2012 by admin
Name: Theatre Of Delays
Websites: Soundcloud, facebook, twitter, MySpace, Google+
Favorit drink: Espresso
Favorit artist: never a favourite.. but lots of influences: Soulwax, Mr. Oizo, Bartok, Steve Reich, The Notwist, Autechre, Pussy Galore
Favorit place on Earth? all the places i want to visit and havent been yet.
Next item on your todo-list? create a dj-mix for the cable-guy (dr. kable)
Hi Tommi! How’s Berlin this time of the year?
cold and full of partyppl
Tell us a bit about Theatre Of Delays. How did it come about and where do you get your inspiration from?
i searched long time for a name… after a while i discovered that most of electronic music is about delays and repetition. in my case sometimes very theatrical.
In most of your remix works your sound has a wistful edge to it, I’m thinking your Moments In Love remix and Sequential Circuits remix. It’s also present in most of your other work to some extent. Where does that come from?
thats true, its just something that is happening automatically. lets call it an “inner melody in minor”.
How does remix work usually start for you?
when i found the right song/track i try to re-interpret/re-play most of all instruments. then i do lots of jamming.. with guitars, bass, percussion and synths.
We’re still to be graced with some original work from Theatre Of Delays. What ca we expect from your upcoming original productions?
i started to do some original tracks. and in my dj-mix i am going to feature one of these tracks, so you gonna hear how it sounds like…
You seem to draw from a lot of different inspirations music wise, spreading over a seemingly big area and sounds as different as Art Of Noise over to Prince and then with a stint of dirty beats from Mr. Oizo. Do you have any boundaries or are you purposely pushing your limits?
no limits and no rules.. for the remixes it always needs to be a song/track that i really admire and think that i can add someting to it that sounds like “theatre of delays”
You’ll be the first guest on Hot To The Touch. What can people expect from your session?
1 hour of electronic dance music, old and new.
How do you work as a DJ?
i started with vinyl a few years ago and because of “producing” i decided to work with ableton for editing and traktor for mixing.
If your music was to be defined into a movie, which movie would it be?
thats a really hard to tell… there are so much movies and its quite obvious that my music could be used for soundtracks.
maybe its for a movie that doesnt exist yet, i have to do it.
What’s on your playlist at the moment?
WhoMadeWho, Planningtorock, Pink Floyd, The Notwist, Slohmo and Mouse on Mars.
What’s coming up next from you? You mention an original track that’ll be featured in Hot To The Touch. Tell us a bit more!
i am going to do a couple of new remixes and right now i am producing some original material. one track i just finished today. i am going to showcase it in the dj-mix.
Anything you’d like to share with aspiring artists?
do music, music, music…
Theatre Of Delays will be the guest on Hot To The Touch episode 8 16th March 19 GMT on Pure.FM‘s NuDisco channel.