Chris Finke has been djing since he was 15 years of age. With a new release out on Hidden Recordings (he plays National Underground this Friday at the HR party) releases on Luke Slater's Mote Evolver label, a radio show and a busy summer schedule, Chris is looking forward to his return to NYC! CGNY caught up with him to chat about what still gives him a buzz in the techno world!
CGNY: Hi Chris, thanks for chatting to us! How did you get into Djing?
Chris: I got the bug right from when I was 15/16 going to raves here in the UK and it just went from there. I’m the sort of person that gets obsessed with things (not in a weird way!) and it's been a fun obsession to be able to progress to doing it for a job. I've been to some amazing places and met some amazing people so I’m really lucky. It's been a while since I played in New York so I’m really hoping this will be another fun trip.
CGNY: How did you get into producing?
Chris: Honestly I’m not ashamed to say I got into producing in order for me to secure more work as a DJ. I'm a DJ first and producer second and always will be. I do love producing though...we've had some up's and down's but like an old comedy double act we are in it for the good of showbiz at the end of the day.
CGNY: Can you tell me about your new EP release “Don’t Try This at Home” from Hidden Recordings? Did you know the guys at Hidden Recordings Deepak Sharma and Dieter Krause before? How was it like releasing an EP with them?
Chris: It was great working with Hidden – Deepak is a really cool guy, passionate about the music and his label, just really positive. I did a remix for them last year (A Trebor & M.A.D.A: http://soundcloud.com/chrisfinke/a-trebor-m-a-d-a-palmo-chris) and then we got chatting about an EP which turned out to be this one. We worked together to get the tracks right for me and the label and I spoke to Bryan (Black Asteroid) who I know for the remix and we hooked it up. He added an extra element to the EP and it's something I'm proud of as the feedback I’ve had from it has been amazing. So yes Hidden are one of the good guys!
CGNY: You were in the UKDMC. Do you still spin turntablism? How have you incorporated turntabilism technics into your techno sets?
Chris: Haha no it’s been a long time since I was into that. I do some stuff that’s sort of related to that stuff when I play techno, but when I play more eclectic sets I do more of it. Techno these days doesn't lend itself to that style really, although now and again I do rock some beat-juggles for da kids.
CGNY: Were you always listening to techno while you were a turntablist?
Chris: Yeah absolutely, I was into the music and going to the parties and stuff. The party scene/techno/raves is where I come from, I just happened to do the turntablism at the same time. Those 2 worlds just never collide generally. Imagine the world championships with people playing pure techno, it would be really boring. Scratching reverb and dub techno stabs just wouldn't start a party.
CGNY: Which techno artists influenced you when you first got into DJing and producing?
Chris: Hands down, the first 3 pure techno DJ's that influenced me when I started were Derrick May, Laurent Garnier and Dave Angel. Those 3 are the reason that I got into techno, because they were playing at the parties I was going to and playing great music before techno got popular. The other DJs that played it were either really bad, or mixing it up with other styles and It wasn't really working. A lot of the other Detroit guys that were coming to the UK at the time were playing UK rave music which was sort of strange looking back, but May just blew my mind when I heard him play for the first time because he did his own thing and always has. He is still my favourite DJ to this day as it goes. I got into production because as DJing is my job it was something that was a necessity. For a long time I had a love/hate relationship with producing and it’s only the last 2 years I’ve actually really, really liked it and I think it's really showing in my music.
CGNY: Are there any artists in techno as well as in other genres that interest you these days?
Chris: Yeah I'm really impressed with a lot of the “UK bass” producers as they are streets ahead of so many techno producers with inventiveness and raw talent. Techno has suffered a lot through a huge number of people copying each other, copying music etc. and it's a breath of fresh air to hear the fun being put back into it. Hopefully it'll start to give some of the lazy techno guys who haven't changed in years a bit of kick in the ass.
CGNY: How did you get into broadcasting?
Chris: When I was 21 I got a job in a local radio station. I started reading the news, did voice overs for adverts and eventually got a show. It was a million miles away from anything I've done since, but if I’m really honest I’d love to go back and do that again. I think I’m destined to wind up my career as a late night radio show host chatting to mad people about how many monkeys you could fit into a car or whatever. I also presented the Split Radio Show with Ben Sims for a few years which was pretty groundbreaking looking back on it. And now I've just started my own show on PulseRadio.net which is really cool as I’ve been wanting to get back into radio for a long time.
CGNY: Can you tell me more about the Pulse Radio Show? How did that come about?
Chris: Yeah well originally I was due to start a show for Ministry Of Sound radio but I felt it just wasn't the right platform for what I did. Pulse do a lot of cool news stuff and don't have an agenda which I really liked, but they weren't actually doing radio shows so we chatted and decided it would be a cool home for me and that was that. Since I came on board they have got behind the radio concept and brought some other shows in and things are getting quite exciting there. Looking forward to seeing what happens!
CGNY: Do you have any advice for aspiring Djs/producers?
Chris: Yeah, not wishing to talk in cliché’s but just work your ass off because nothing is given to you in this game. It's now incredibly hard to get anywhere at all because there are always 1000 people ready to take your place. And don't think about getting into it for the money! Do it for fun and the love of music and maybe you might be lucky enough to get somewhere, but just keep working at it. Some people DJ for 20 years before they get a break.
CGNY: What do you have coming up DJ-wise, production, radio?
Chris: I've just started a new artist/label project which I’m keeping totally under wraps to see how it works out. I'm also starting my new “Bodyjack” project for more fun/party/bass music type stuff as I make and play so much of it. I've got remixes for Paul Mac and LAW DJs just completed and just finishing off 2 Chris Finke EP's as well so loads going on. DJ wise, some really cool summer dates to look forward to, plus I’m back in the states this autumn as well so I’m really hoping I can visit New York again when I’m over!
Chris Finke plays Hidden Recordings party this Friday May 17th at National Underground - details here
Interview for CGNY by Go