A Sit Down Wit DJ Christian Smith

Christian Smith is one who’s certainly “been around the block.” Beginning his career well over two decades ago, he and his Tronic imprint have since become heralded as powerhouses in the contemporary underground dance space. Smith began pioneering the tech-house space before the subgenre came to be defined as such, creating Tronic in 1994 as a home for both techno and house DJs in addition to his own pieces. Despite being doubted at first, singles like “Goldrush” and others that were considered “too soft” by distributors soon became mega-hits played by the icons at the time like Carl Cox, solidifying his and Tronic’s powerful entrance into the electronic sphere by the turn of the millennium.

 

 “We are all in the same industry, to do the same thing – which essentially is to make music we love, and hope that our fans love it too.”

 

Tell us more about how you began your career as a DJ. What led to creating Tronic Recordings?

Like with most people my DJ’ing started as hobby. I was 14 years old when I got my first decks. From that point I became a battle DJ entering DMC championships etc. Then I got into house music in the last 80’s. But it was not until while I was getting my masters degree at Stockholm School of Economics that my international career took off. I produced a few records that DJ’s such as Carl Cox and Jeff Mills were hammering. I suddenly got requests to DJ all around the world and the rest is history! As for Tronic, the label has always been a labor of love thing for me. I am really happy that it has grown so much and is now one of the biggest techno labels in the world. I feel truly grateful to be doing what I love for a living.

What first inspired you to make music in general and specifically techno music?

I started as a DJ and I think making music, once you’ve DJed a while, is a natural progression. Being a DJ, I got really curious as to how tracks are made so I then got into making music. I first started making House music, then I got into Techno later on. I’ve been doing it for close to 20 years now and I still love it. I’m very active as a producer, as well as a DJ.

You play and produce House, Tech-House and Techno. How would you describe your own music in a few words?

Soulful, powerful, and groovy.

Please give an example of your music writing process?

This really depends on what inspires me that day I’m in the studio, or what ideas I have. I don’t really have a formulaic approach as to how I produce my tracks. I do often sample early 80’s electro and disco tracks, and totally change up the loops. This often inspires me and I really get into producing the track. I work fairly fast and usually have a track finished within 5-6 hours. Then I play it out at a gig, see if it needs any adjustments in the mix down or arrangement and that’s it.

Clubs & Festivals scenes have been on the rise lately, how do you explain that? How do you think these scenes are making our society evolve?

I am very happy that techno is big again. One thing I love about techno is that it always changes and evolves. I have been touring the world as a DJ for almost 20 years and have seen the genres ups and downs. Afew years ago minimal was hyped, the tech-house, then deep house, but now its back to TECHNO! Its great that clubs and festivals are booking more underground music again. I think all this commercial EDM garbage has peaked, and promoters are starting to see that underground acts can also sell a lot of tickets.

What advice would you give to anyone trying to get a release on Tronic these days?

My philosophy has always been rather simple. To release music that I like I am passionate about. I have also always been very open minded and very international when it comes to the music I sign. The music policy was always anything between house and techno. It can be mellow and groovy, and can also be hard peak time tracks. I have a label manager who collects all the demos for me, and I do take time once a week to go through them. I always try and give feedback where possible, as I know it’s a good thing for any budding producer to learn and improve with constructive criticism. However, we get so many demos now – I do find it impossible to get back to every single email.

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