After a year of quality parties which saw guests ranging from Rob Mello to Gideon and Nathan Gregory Wilkins, the TUSK boys are ready to celebrate their birthday in style. They welcome genre-bending juggernaut of the Chicago dance music scene and Smart Bar resident Chrissy for a house, techno & disco birthday blowout. We caught up with him to chat alter-egos, remixes and plans for 2016!
You have been known by quite a few monikers over the years – from Chrissy Murderbot to Chris E. Pants and now just Chrissy. How did each of these projects differ?
Chrissy Murderbot was footwork, juke, ghetto house, a bit of jungle—more uptempo stuff tied into the bass music world. I grew a little bored with that scene so I've used the Chrissy moniker to concentrate more on what's closest to my heart, which is house and disco.
You ran a Year of Edits blog in which you posted a disco re-edit every week for a year. That’s pretty damn impressive considering how many other projects you have going! What was that process like?
I'm always making edits for personal DJ use, so I had a pretty large stockpile of things that I felt were strong and deserved to be shared. It was too many to realistically press to vinyl so I thought, “Why not just give them away to everybody?” That ended up being the initial batch of edits—challenging myself to make enough to have a whole year's worth was just an interesting little addition to it.
How has the Internet changed the way you work with other DJs and producers?
It has allowed me to better keep in touch with DJs I meet on the road, and to share music back and forth between other DJs and labels that I love. More importantly it has revolutionised collaboration.
Your recently released Growl EP features one of our faves, Shaun J Wright. What was it like working together?
We did it all over the internet! I emailed him a batch of instrumentals, he picked one he liked and wrote some lyrics, emailed me some recorded vocals, I did a little bit of effects-work on the vocals and edited everything into a structure that I thought worked, sent it back to him for his notes, and we just kinda bounced it back and forth online until it was finished. Everybody's so busy that usually that's the easiest way to do it.
You have collaborated with and remixed an amazing array of artists – who is still on your ‘to work with’ list?
I'd love to produce a Pet Shop Boys record. Or do something with Dego from 4Hero. There are a million amazing new artists that I'd love to remix, but when asked this kind of question I first gravitate toward my heroes growing up. Vince Clarke would probably be fun to work with.
You are a resident at one of Chicago’s most iconic venues, Smart Bar. How has Smart Bar influenced you as a DJ and producer?
The DJs at Smart Bar are all so talented—easily one of the best groups of DJs on earth—that it really causes you to step up your game. It's at once a very welcoming and very challenging environment, and it really keeps your skills sharp.
For those who haven’t made it across the pond, what is unique about the Chicago music scene? Why should it be our next party destination?
The world's best DJs. There are some amazing DJs in every city of course, but Chicago is a brutally competitive city full of great DJs and savvy audiences that grew up with house music and DJ culture. As a result, the no-name opening DJ at some hole in the wall bar is often better than other cities' headliners. (Detroit is also amazing in this respect, for the record.)
Which emerging artists are you most excited about?
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for Chrissy?
I have a new project called Chrissy & Hawley with a vocalist friend here in Chicago. The 12” single for that is coming out on Smart Bar's label, Northside '82, and the album is coming this Summer on The Nite Owl Diner. And I have a couple other edits 12”s and solo bits lined up as well!
And finally, can you give us a taste of what you plan to bring to TUSK in three words?
Fun party music :)
Catch Chrissy at the Tusk First Birthday Party on Saturday 27 February from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore.