Music today has become as accessible as the nearest Mcdonalds, making what was once underground and dirty, now much more popular much than the hottest cheerleader in high school. Today, no matter who you are, everyone wants a piece of ¨house¨. But true love lies in integrity. And with sad times of mass-production and over-consumption, let us be very aware that anything -including dance music, crafted out pure and wholesome, is cherished through much longer periods of time.
Being an ardent dance music fanatic myself, I admire those who can keep this genre as pure and alive as possible. But, how does one produce innovatively while care-taking the ¨classic¨? I recently interviewed the perfect example of this phenomenon. DJ/Producer Citizen, has had the courage to artifice a sound of his own, meanwhile paying homage to an era which has mastered the art of dance music.
Influenced by a combination of a music-loving family and a colorful 90’s era, Citizen has nurtured dance floors with characterizing hits and remixes. Part of Kerri Chandler’s Madtech family, he’s released the four track, base-heavy EP, Deep End. Citizen is also known for remixing classics like Andina Howard’s ¨Freak Like Me¨ and pop diva tunes like Adele’s Rolling in the deep -making both tracks home sweet home for true house heads. Last year Citizen joined Love Fever Records with the LFR002 EP, and made a club favorite out of the echoey and soulful track, ¨Room Service¨. Paving the way towards success, he starts 2013 with a tribute to nightlife. Hitting us March 11 with the salubrious LFR003 EP, Trax is South Londoner, Laurence Blake – also known as, Citizen.
EARMILK: Citizen, you represent a lot of what we miss from back in the 90’s, could you tell us what made this your signature sound, and how it all began?
Citizen: Well I grew up in the 90's which was an amazing period for popular music from both sides of the pond and was blessed with a young and music loving family so music has always been a super positive vibe in my life.
The Citizen sound started out as a New Jack Swing project which later embraced the housier elements of the genre and kind of developed from there really.
EM: What inspiring djs/producers paved the way towards music for you?
C: Kerri Chandler has been a constant inspiration as a dj and producer. His consistent output is just indisputable and finally getting to hang out with him just solidified this. Optimo have also been a massive influence with their godlike knowledge of all things good music and just being mentalists. I guess everyone I have the privilege of playing alongside at the moment also inspire me no end.
EM: You’ve been in the business for a few years now, and partying for many, what would say were your all time favorite all-nighters (in London & across the globe)?
C: The first Love Fever I went to has solidified itself as my favourite all-nighter in London so far. The vibe and energy there that night was insane… and I don't know how I got home but I woke up covered in glitter with no hangover. Mythical. Panorama bar is also an incredible experience for me but the less said about that the better I reckon.
EM: Love Fever parties are notorious for being much more than a ¨super¨ club, they’ve claimed to be on the search for ¨a new way of clubbing¨. What do Love Fever parties offer? How would you deﬁne the atmosphere throughout the night?
C: I guess just an overall atmosphere of love and pure vibes. There are no egos there everyone seems to be on the same wave length and the music is world class every time. Plus the iconic red neon heart illuminating the crowd overhead is always a 4am moment.
EM: Last year Love Fever Records was created, and launched your LFR002 including the club hit ¨Room Service¨. Being a party lover yourself and proclaimed Love Fever family member, how hard do you think it is to go from secret parties to successful record label?
C: The ethos of the night spills quite well into the label I think. The less is more situation love fever are synonymous with is a rare and valued quality I think that sets it apart from a few contemporaries. I think its been quite a natural transition, the vision is amazing as well as the a+r process. Hopefully this year is as good as the last!
EM: We’ve heard that you’re not laying low this year either. Starting out strong with your newest EP, ¨Trax¨ releasing on March 11, 2013. The three track EP is bound to be a ¨must have in bag¨; could you tell us about the energy that reﬂects through out the entire EP?
C: Well this EP is a sort of tribute to nightlife. Each track represents a different element of underground nightlife and kind of revels in it's self awareness. The writing process was an absolute pleasure as well as each element was pretty much already in my head and materialised in a pain free series of late night sessions. It's a varied collection of sounds but they all make sense to me.
EM: ¨Everything¨ opens up the EP, it’s a much deeper and darker than the following tracks, give us your take on Everything, how does it compare to it’s partner tracks?
C: ¨Everything¨ is a track I've been closing most of my sets with really. It's a real late nite jam with a varied set of sounds pulling it together. It's a bit harder than the other two and sets the tone to build up to a euphoric undertone that I hope comes accross to everyone on a full listen of the record.
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EM: Where did you ﬁnd the inspiration to produce another dance hit like ¨Worship + Tribute (Your Love)¨.
C: This track built up over a long period of time but it's main inspiration was just jamming with some M1 keys and screwing with processing until I had this really odd but slightly euphoric riff going which kinda reminded me of when I used to attend church as a child and the keyboard player would always mess up some notes but it was all about the intent, it didn't have to be perfect for it to really mean something.
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EM: ¨Trax¨ EP finishes up with ¨Glastique¨, a lovely name to match it’s hypnotic sound. Where does the name come from? Also, how would you describe the uplifting beat to our readers?
C: The name actually comes from a night I used to run at Dalston Superstore where we played mostly acid, new jack swing and old house joints basically nothing post 95. It had quite a nice following for a while then we just decided to end it and never spoke of it again so it's kind of a tribute to that. This track was created as a euphoric climax for the record, the resolution, when the lights come on.
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EM: What other surprises have you got up your sleeve for 2013?
C: I can't even answer this, but it's exciting.
You can read our full review of Citizen's Trax EP here.