It's hard to think of a techno aficionado that's been as influential to the genre as Brazilian artist Christian Smith. Ever since launching his own imprint, Tronic, in 1994, Christian Smith has been making waves within the dance music community, specifically as one of the first artists to start bringing elements of both house and techno together as well as being one of the most active producers in the scene. Last month, Christian Smith had a long awaited return to the venerated imprint Drumcode with a driving three-track techno EP, Force Majeure. Never being satisfied, in September, on his own imprint Tronic, Christian Smith is putting out Input-Output, a massive eleven-track album and embarking on a world tour hitting over 20 countries. Not making us wait that long, on Monday August 22nd, Christian Smith is releasing two tracks off of his upcoming album into the EP, Explanation/Subzero.
Christian Smith sets the tone of the Club Mix of "Subzero" a bit slower at 120 bpm, giving lots of room for the powerful, wide bass stabs to take over. Never shying away from more melodic techno, some groovy synths build from below to keep you moving while an acid line descends from above. This all combines into what feels like an updated version of early electro.
This is definitely one track and EP that should not be missed. Pick up your copy on Monday! We had Christian answer a few questions about his upcoming album. Check it out below!
EARMILK: When most people in dance music only put out singles or smaller EPs, this September you've decided to put out a massive album with 11 original tracks. What was your motivation to put out another full-length album instead of something shorter?
Christian Smith: Doing singles is easy. Everybody can repeat themselves and do what they are famous for, but albums are a much bigger challenge. If you make a proper album you are expected to show other sides of yourself that not everybody knows. I really enjoy making albums because I push myself creatively and by doing that I evolve my sound. I think every serious artist should make an album. It's fun and refreshing.
EM: Your upcoming album is titled Input-Output, giving off a very technology heavy vibe. Can you give your inspiration for the title?
CS: The title is fairly basic. My meaning behind the title is that whatever you put into something passionately you get results. I've been touring the world for almost 20 years now and can tell you, there are no short cuts in this industry.
EM: You're one of the few techno artists who isn't reluctant to put melodies into your productions. Why do you think others shy away from melodies? Why do not ascribe to that mentality?
CS: I think that sadly the majority of today's producers are sheep. They follow whatever is popular at the moment and try to copy that sound. I can say with confidence that I feel comfortable in my skin and am very happy that people respect my music that I choose to make. I have never been a purist and I think part of my long-term success is that I have always been open-minded. At the end of the day I feel that all producers should make the music that they love. Otherwise there is not much point and you will probably not be good at it anyways if you try to copy someone else's hit.
EM: "Subzero" is the only track on the upcoming album that got a club mix reworking. What was the drive to have one for "Subzero?"
CS: When I made the original it was very musical with chord progressions etc. Then I thought to myself: "Hmmmm, this one won't be easy to play on a big system" So I decided to make a slightly more stripped down version replacing the chords with an acid line. I really like both versions, the club mix definitely works better on the floor.
EM: "Subzero" sounds almost futuristic with a basis in some very vintage sounds. What made you meld the two together?
CS: I love the warmth of analog synths, but I also try to take advantage of todays technology. So its nice to have access to Moog Sub 37 for phat warm basslines while at the same time use cutting edge plug ins to tighten the production of the tracks. Never forget the past, always look to the future.
EM: Throughout the album I can hear a lot of inspiration rooted in 80s electronic music. What are some other major influences for the album?
CS: I am indeed very much influenced by 80's music. That was the decade in which I was a young kid falling in love in love with late disco stuff like D-Train, or early electro like Newcleus or Kraftwerk. Besides musical influences I am also influenced by all the places I lived in during the past 20 years: Stockholm, New York, Barcelona, Sao Paulo, and now Mallorca.
EM: Your upcoming tour is very expansive hitting 6 continents and over 20 countries, a real Word Tour. Is it more difficult to play such an extensive tour instead of a more regional tour?
CS: Of course, it's always easier doing your regional gigs where you know the crowds very well, but the point of doing a word tour is to learn and educate at the same time. I love playing in distant places like South East Asia for example. People are not used to underground music there and it's a really nice feeling to contribute to developing scenes.
EM: Do you have any favorite places you love to play at?
CS: I do! I really love playing in Argentina. People are really passionate there and the gigs are almost always incredible. It's amazing to play long sets and have the club rammed packed with a few thousand people inside when they have to close at 8am!