Can be described as a producer and DJ who never really gives up and is firmly positioned as one of the leaders of his genre. He is that sort of producer who keeps polishing his sound, redefining it whilst cross-breeding it with several other genres. Always meshing in his home studio, experimenting, sampling and jamming is how Christian manages to stay fresh and unique, never bound by restraints, never content. Twenty years of nibbling and grafting, working hard and touring even harder Christian shows no signs of slowing down.
As one of the more respected artists of the "underworld", he's had the opportunity to grace the catalogues and rosters of some of the most prestigious labels/agencies like Cocoon. Christian has also established his very own imprint CB Sessions (CBS), promptly named after countless hours spent in his studio jamming with his friends. We've had the chance to talk to Christian at his gig in Slovenia where he was headlining Innocent Music's season-opening party in Ljubljana right before his ‘Nonstop LP 2x12"’ release.
Hi Christian, thanks for taking your time to do this interview for SolvdMag. What have you been up to recently?
Last month I mostly took care about the release of my album called „Nonstop“- lots of work, of course, the usual touring schedule, studio time, remixing... and actually, just now I'm sitting in the airport lounge writing this interview...
Let's move back in to the mid 90's. Can you perhaps try to describe us your first ever rave experience?
My first club experience was 1991 when I went to a club called „House“ in my hometown Heidelberg. There was „D-Man“ - a mixture of piano- and hip-house playing. Was really big in those days. Some of that influence you can still hear in my productions.
Would you say that first rave parties were better than parties are now?
That's always a personal point of view- sure it was big fun for me as a teenager renting a sound system, driving to the woods and doing an illegal party. Today my fun is more professional and the parties are bigger, but the little raver is still inside me.
We've come across your studio pictures (which looks impressive by the way). You've been using hardware analogue gear for years. How much would you say that software, such as Ableton, has changed your workflow? How do you challenge yourself to go out of your comfort zone when you are making music?
When I switched from Logic to Ableton I got lost for a year in the loops. Then I realized it's not the best way for evolving my sound - now I mainly use Ableton as a recording device as I did before with Logic.
"For the challenge, I'm sometimes doing: - a track with just one synth or drum box. - a track without kick, snare or hihat. - a track only with a mic. or field recordings. - a track with heavy metal samples... There are so many ways to keep it interesting."
How is the experience of playing live different to being a DJ for you?
When I play live I play only my music and that for me is really personal. When you play at a good spot with the right crowd and a good soundsystem it can be heaven - or hell when the soundsystem sucks or people are more into a different sound...
How did you connect with Cocoon and how important has it been for you?
I moved to Frankfurt/Offenbach in 2000 and got to know the guys over the years. Then I gave them some music and they released 'Stopover Goa'. The rest is history. Sure, Cocoon is really important for me - those are my friends, my label and my agency..
Please explain the vision and mission behind CBS. We've listened to the previews of your fresh »Nonstop LP« and it sounded so impressive! The album shows a lot of diversity. What's the story behind it, what’s the main idea that drove you into the creation of this album?
CBS: All music is recorded at my studio while jamming around with friends. Nonstop music is a lot of my projects from the last 10 years which I was playing in my livesets a lot - i just did new versions of it. Theres was no concept behind Nonstop, just funky music.
Do you have your own philosophy about esthetics and sound? Can you share it with us?
My main approach is to sound different. Actually, there is so much of the same sounding music out there. My sound is a mixture of old school 70's and 80's with a lot of Hiphop/Funk/Rave samples and my analog studio gear.
Last but not least. If you would have to sell every piece of gear except one, which one would you keep and why?
This will not happen - I am a nice guy with a good karma rate. But in worst case scenario I would keep my modular system.
Listen to Christian Burkhardt's 'Nonstop LP'