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Wednesday 27th, June 2007
Christopher Lawrence 2007

US DJ Christopher Lawrence, voted #4 DJ in the world in last year’s DJ Mag Top 100 poll putting him alongside the likes of Paul van Dyk, Armin van Buuren and Tiësto, is fast becoming more well high profile outside the States. The highest ranked American jock, his legion of worldwide fans mustered through dedication and steadfastly sticking to his musical guns have earnt him this status. A lot of DJs claim they can take you ‘on a journey’ but a Christopher Lawrence set really does just that. In 2007 Christopher Lawrence has mixed the last Gatecrasher album, recorded live at the Gaudi Arena in Moscow and is gearing up to play some of the biggest parties in Europe over the coming months. Trance.nu caught up with Christopher just before he jetted off to China to discover a bit more about one of the more enigmatic figures in trance…

t.nu: Hi Christopher, thanks for taking the time to do this interview with trance.nu. How are you, we heard you recently recovered from a bad back injury?

CL: Yes, I had a ruptured disk and had to have back surgery, but I am doing much better now.

t.nu: Are you back to full action now, and how does it feel to be back on the decks?

CL: This is my second week back out on the road and it is great to get behind the decks again. I had to take six weeks off and I started to really miss being on the road. It is an addiction for me.

t.nu: You’re going to be playing some pretty high profile gigs in July. First up is Antiworld 070707. Are you going to psy-trance it up for that one?

CL: Yes, most definitely. I have been playing a lot of psy-trance in my sets lately and playing at Antiworld is like going to the source. I am really looking forward to the Antiworld event, not just for my set, but to see all the other great talent that will be performing there.

t.nu: The next day you’re flying over to Poland for Creamfields. You play fairly often in the East of Europe, how responsive do you find those crowds to your form of trance?

CL: Eastern Europe is awesome and the crowds there have been very responsive to my sound. Because the trance I play is a different style than the traditional European sound, it has attracted a lot of interest.

t.nu: Finally that weekend you’re jetting over to Ibiza for Judgement Sundays. Are you a fan of the island and will you be returning again this summer?

CL: Ibiza is brilliant…pure hedonism. I am not sure if I will be back again this summer. It depends if I can shuffle some other dates.

t.nu: Another big date in July is Dance Valley, where you have your own ‘Continental’ stage. Are you looking forward to that one, do you have anything special planned and can you explain the concept behind the ‘Continental’ idea?

CL: I am honored to be asked to host a stage at Dance Valley and something that I have always wanted to do. The name was originally going to be Intercontinental to reflect the international talent that will be showcased on my stage. But someone came up with Continental, which is a clever word that has a “C” at the beginning and ends in an “L” like the initials from my name so we went with that one. I am planning on launching the Continental stage at Dance Valley and then taking the idea and going on the road with it. If all goes well there will be a Continental tour to follow up later in the year.

t.nu: We’ll move onto a topic I’m sure you’re sick of: your DJ Mag ranking. Were you surprised when you went in so high and what do you attribute it to?

CL: I was surprised but happy with my ranking this year. It was a fantastic honour to be voted in the top 5 in DJ Magazine’s Top 100. I owe it all to my loyal fans. I think that the extensive touring I have been doing worldwide over the past years is a major factor. My strength has always been my live sets.

t.nu: How has it affected your career since? Have you found it easier to get bookings outside the US and have you encountered any snobbery?

CL: I may have said this before, but this is the second time that I have been in the top 10 in DJ Magazine’s Top 100 in the last three years. I have been touring internationally for several years now but the Top 100 definitely reinforces my global profile. There is certainly a bit of publicity and recognition that comes along with the territory. I have fortunate that it has all been positive. My Mother was the only one that criticised me - she was disappointed that I wasn’t number 1.

t.nu: Do you think the shrinking of the global dance scene through the internet has helped you gain more recognition outside of the States?

CL: Most definitely. The internet is great for getting the message out. It’s amazing to be able to play in a new city in a foreign country and already have a receptive audience familiar with me and my sound.

t.nu: Let’s turn our attention to studio matters. You’ve recently been working with the UK’s John ‘00’ Fleming. How did that collaboration come about, did you work on the tracks in the US or UK?

CL: John and I have been friends for years so collaborating together on music was only natural. The most recent project was done at his studio in the UK. The previous one was begun in Los Angeles and finished in the UK. Our studio time together is determined by the paths our touring schedules take us.

t.nu: Do you have any more collaborations or productions lined up?

CL: John and I have just finished Beyond the Limit and I have finished another track with Nicholas Bennison in Los Angeles. I think the studio will be fairly quiet until the summer madness ends.

t.nu: What does your studio look like, is it racks of hardware or just a laptop and keyboard?

CL: It is a mess. There are records, CDs and airline flight stubs everywhere. Somewhere in all the mess is a Mac Pro and a keyboard.

t.nu: How is the dance scene, and especially the trance scene, in the US?

CL: The scene is going great in the US at the moment. There are a lot of good clubs that have developed over the past few years since all the warehouse and rave parties were shut down.

t.nu: With the American music scene dominated by rock and R&B, how did you discover dance music and when did you decided to make a career out of it?

CL: I started in 1990, but I had been clubbing and collecting music for years. It was basically a choice between a crap day job or eke out an existence as DJ. I chose the latter and never looked back. True the US is dominated by Rock and R&B, but that is the corporate and commercial side of music in the US. There has always been a vibrant underground from disco to punk to house and techno. You do remember that house and techno started in the US..!

t.nu: Who were your early inspirations?

CL: Before there were international DJs, my early inspirations were local DJs from the West Coast like Taylor, Jeno, and Doc Martin. Later I became influenced by Paul Van Dyk, Sven Väth and Sasha and Digweed when they began touring the US.

t.nu: What styles of music did you start off playing, how has your sound developed and how would you describe the kind of music we would hear in a Christopher Lawrence set in 2007?

CL: I began playing acid house and techno. The sound I was playing evolved into progressive house and trance. I have always steered clear of the epic trance sound and gone with a more underground sound. Over the past few years that has been a techno influenced sound, but lately I have been really getting into a lot of the new psy trance that is out there. It is some of the best produced music, has tons of energy but remains cool.

t.nu: Which producers are really doing it for you at the moment?

CL: I like John Fleming, Nicholas Bennison, Dave Audé, Jay Selway, and Persequor.

t.nu: You’ve played some pretty crazy parties in your career, what would you say have been the strangest?

CL: I played an outdoor festival in the Madison, Wisconsin that was pretty strange. In the middle of my set a high school marching band wove its way thru the audience. It was 3 am in the middle of nowhere and this band was in full dress uniform with the big hats and white shoes. Then someone brought a plastic children’s swimming pool on stage and filled it with baby oil. Characters in Sesame street costumes got in the pool and were sexually assaulted by an alien with a huge strap on dildo. It was the weirdest party. It was like dropping acid except it was real.

t.nu: You are often described as a ‘nice’ person, what, if anything, makes you angry?

CL: Besides the Bush administration and all the atrocities it has committed? Bad manners. There is no excuse.

t.nu: Many thanks for taking the time out from your busy schedule for us, and we look forward to seeing you in Europe very soon!

CL: Thank you. I look forward to my return.

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