We chatted to up and coming Danish producer Christian Nielsen about his history with music, the scene in Denmark and the theory behind his beats..
What is your first memory of music? (however small or far back that may have been)…
I think the first kind of music I ever remember was church music. My mother is catholic so I spend a lot of my Sundays as a kid in church. I can still get a bit nostalgic when I hear church music on television to be honest. But the first music that really got me was grunge music. I remember my brother listening to “Stone Temple Pilots – Plush” in his room, and as soon as I heard him leave I went in and stole the CD. Not sure why I was so into it, because I didn’t really understand the message in the music, but I guess the whole vibe really got to me. I still to this day love rock/grunge/punk from the 90’s. It was really powerful music that came out during that period.
How did you get into DJing in the first place? You used to play under a different moniker – what made you change to using your own name?
So, when I was 19 or something like that, I was really into the nightlife business. Like, running a club and stuff like that. So I got a job as a runner at a small cocktail bar in Copenhagen, called The Dive, which was amazing and so much fun, the idea was to work my way up to bartender. However, I met a guy there, Tony M, who was the resident DJ. He took me in as an apprentice and taught me everything about DJing. The obvious, “how to mix”, but also serious music appreciation. He showed me how to really dig the music and how to explore the different genres and shades of music. This is where – and when – I met house music. I started DJing with Tony under the name Chris Minus. We had loads of fun and it was pretty normal for us to play 6-8 hour b2b sets. There were so many lessons learned for me at that place. Priceless. I was doing Chris Minus for some years and also started releasing music on different labels. But when I signed a track to Play It Down back in 2013, something changed. I got to speak with Jesse Rose and together we had loads of talks about the scene and my future.
How do you find the scene back home in Denmark? If you were having a night out at home, what would be the story? What club would you go to?
You know, I get this question a lot and I can see why. You have massive names like Trentemøller, Kolsch and Noir, but you don’t really hear about the scene or see amazing videos from gigs there. The reason is really simple. There is no scene. There are loads of amazing people trying to create something in Copenhagen, and there are a few good clubs around, but there is no scene. I remember playing in Frankfurt last year and my friend SKAI told me about all the names that came out of there, and the whole Cocoon crew being in Frankfurt and so on. And Frankfurt is smaller than Copenhagen and not even a capital. I’m not sure why it’s like that, but I do believe that it has something to do with the fact that the media never covered or supported the Copenhagen scene, never paid it any serious attention, resulting in general anonymity among the masses.
A night out in Copenhagen would happen either at Culture Box or KB18. These are the only two places that really book great house/techno names to Copenhagen. Both places are very Berlin inspired and that’s just the way I like it. Dark, deep and good sound!
How do you best make music – do you prefer to lock yourself away in the studio, or do you find that you get the most inspiration for new music from travelling and being in different surroundings?
The studio 100%! I definitely get inspired from travelling and gigs, but at the end of the day my studio is my inspiration. I’ve always had my studio in my apartment, so when an idea strikes me or I feel creative I can always open the Mac and make a beat. But most of my inspiration comes from seeing other DJs perform. Like right now, while doing this interview, I’m listening to Sonja Moonear live on Be-at.tv, and the only thing I want right now is make some tracks!
I also listen to loads of podcasts, like Joe Rogan for example. Just hearing people talk about ideas and concepts makes my brain go into overload.
What other artists out there are inspiring you at the moment?
Floorplan’s new album is killing it for me at the moment. Still listening to it and trying to digest it. Amazing stuff. Also really digging Recondite at the moment. His productions are simply flawless. Danish Kolsch is also doing amazing things right now. When I’m feeling a bit down I can also check him out on Instagram and feel all jacked up again and ready to make beats!
You’ve had a string of successful releases on labels such as Play It Down and Noir. Can you tell us a little bit about what else you have coming up?
Well I have a release on Noir Music that will be coming out on September 2nd. Really excited about this one, showing an even heavier side of me.
I also have a 3 track EP coming out on Skream’s label, Of Unsound Mind. Been a fan of Skream for ages now, so really looking forward to working with him and the label.