One to Watch :: Christian S
Within the house and techno scene in Germany Christian S is a formidable force. Having developed his skills in 90s Cologne he quickly grew a solid reputation for being a selector of the highest quality. Across the channel in the UK Christian S is lesser known and what a mistake that is. Being a part of the intriguing and ever growing Cómeme family his productions are quirky and engaging tracks that exceed the boundaries of normality and reach instead into obscurity, whilst maintaining that all important groove. We have been lucky enough to chat to this elusive artist about his origins and gain an insight into his methods.
Did you grow up in a musical family? What sort of stuff did you listen to when you first got into music?
Not especially musical but music always played a role. My father has a good taste and is interested in all kinds of music. We used to live in Saudi Arabia and Indonesia and so I got in to touch with Arabian music as well as gamelan when I was child. My father is also a jazz fan but one of my first memories connected to a particular song is lying in big cadillac under the back windshield, the car cruising slowly through the desert somewhere near Djeddah, it’s sunset and the music is… "Money, Money, Money" by Abba!
How did you start getting into electronic music? Did the transition happen quickly?
For a long time I listened to all kinds of music my big brother was listening to. It was Punk, 60s, Hardcore, Ebm etc. I liked some tracks from Alien Sex Fiend, Front 242, Sigue Sigue Sputnik but the electronic music tracks which I happened to hear maybe on TV or Radio were very commercial. Then I discovered some German DJ-Radio-shows which played "real" techno late at night. One track especially blew my mind. It was simple, primitive and fast. After that everything was different. I was taping music back then - unfortunately the tape was over before the track really started to roll but nevertheless I listened to this short part again and again in the car. I digitized it and I still would like to know what it is!
I love your style of DJing; good, interesting selections, clean effects and a groovy narrative. When up in the booth do you play for yourself or are you aiming to entertain or even educate the crowd?
Thank you! I play for "us", for the party. When I play I am constantly searching for the appropriate music, the right tracks to find the flow and in the best case to connect to everyone in the room. If everything goes well everyone including me is entertained and perhaps even educated sometimes. Needless to say I only play the music I love, but the selection can be quite different from night to night.
CÓMEME, THE LABEL YOU ARE MOST ASSOCIATED WITH, IS A REALLY INTERESTING ONE. I SEE IT ALMOST MORE AS AN ARTISTIC movement than just a platform to release music. Can you tell us about it and your involvement?
Friendship was always important within Cómeme. Friends founded it in South America and one of the founders Matias Aguayo is a very old friend of mine. I released my first tracks on Cómeme and I was also responsible for the design, together with cologne based artist Sarah Szczesny, who again is a long-time close friend. I got to know a lot of people from all around the world which are part of Cómeme and I highly appreciate all of them and love to meet them on "Cómeme Nights".
On top of that you are heavily linked with Hivern Discs at the moment having recently remixed JMII on their latest release – is there a future for you there?
Hivern is a really cool label, run by very nice people! It was great to do the two remixes for JMII. We are always in touch but there are no specific plans right now.
Your productions are stand out quirky records and that’s what I love about them. Is there a specific process you adopt when in the studio? What are your essential pieces of gear that you use?
Sometimes I have a specific idea, sometimes I try to cover something (which usually turns out to be something completely different and weird compared to the original) and very often I just make a lot of rhythms which I revisit from time to time. The most important piece is definitely my TR 808. Followed by the Juno 106, the Sequential Circuits Tom and other old drumcomputers. The drums are essential.
Your remix for Little Dragon saw a lot of success. Dixon championed the sound and even used it for the Givenchy 2016/17 menswear show in Paris, which he provided the mix for earlier this year. Is this kind of success something you seek as an artist or DJ? What is success in your eyes?
Oh, what is success? A philosophical question! I will keep it simple ; ) Success is a great night, when everybody is happy in the end. Or when I make music and suddenly realise that I made something that is special and will work. This might sound a bit esoteric but I am interested in the dance, in unity, emotions, energy, the flow… not in fashion shows. But of course it’s nice that this Little Dragon remix is also appreciated in a different context.
I hear you have a 12 inch coming out with Cómeme in August. Can you tell us more about what we are to expect?
Yes, it will be released on the 5th of August. I made a lot of music in Autumn 2015 and after intensive road testing Cómeme (Matias and Avril) picked four tracks for the label. I think they have quite an analog vibe. They are recorded live, with some editing done afterwards. On the track "Give it up" I use the bass and some rhythms from my Casio keyboard (MA 120) which I found a long time ago on the street, in the trash. This keyboard motivated me to start making my own music. The Juno 106 is also quite important on all tracks. The music developed in a fast and very direct way last autumn and I am very happy that they will be released now for late summer/autumn 2016!
Are there any other projects you are working on?
I have some remixes on my list now - one for Bawrut on Ransom Note Records, another for "The Mansisters" (aka Kaspar Bjørke and Sexy Lazer) and also one for my labelmates DJs Pareja from Buenos Aires who will release new material on Cómeme soon. Besides that I have been asked by an English label I respect a lot, to do something for them, so I also want to find more time to make own tracks.
Finally, which one artist is on your radar at the moment to keep a watch out for?
Matias Aguayo’s new band project "The Desdemonas"… And so many more…