Interview with Christopher Lawrence

Interview with Christopher Lawrence

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Hi Christopher, your name always reminds us of the original superman, who is your favourite superhero?

My favourite superhero is the Silver Surfer. He is by far the most powerful of all the superheroes and yet there is such sadness in him.

‘Pharmacy: Phase 1′ is out and has all the ingredients of making a massive modern underground party, could you tell us the philosophy behind the compilation?

‘Pharmacy: Phase 1′ is a compilation showcasing the best releases to date on my label, Pharmacy Music. Our influence draws from the early days of trance when its creative direction was driven by the dance floor, not by DJ superstars. There are so many trance labels out there and most of them are trying to reproduce the success of Armada. The result is most trance sounds the same these days. For me, it’s like going into a bar and your only choices are Bud Light or Miller Lite. What sets Pharmacy Music apart is that we don’t want to sound like that. We are the Guinness of trance. Our sound is pumping underground music designed for the dance floor. Our motto is "You’ll never be embarrassed to admit that you like our trance". And you won’t.

One of the keys to Pharmacy’s success is our support of new producers. There are a lot of talented producers out there right now and I have the opportunity to meet them when on tour. People come up to me all the time at events and give me CDs or download links to their tracks. It is a great way to find undiscovered talent. Some of the new hot producers on the label are Sean J Morris, Magnus, Jonathan Allyn and Fergie & Sadrian. I met Magnus in a club in Seattle and signed him, now he’s on Paul Oakenfold’s label Perfecto. These are the success stories that inspire me. There are also tracks by veterans like John 00 Fleming and myself.

Do you think the young audience will enjoy the compilation since there has been a vast evolution in music?

I definitely think the young audience will enjoy the compilation because at the end of the day it is good music. Also, with twenty years of experience as a DJ, I have a pretty good understanding of what works on the dance floor. ‘Pharmacy: Phase 1′ is made up of powerful, underground tracks that will inspire anyone.

You have often worked with John 00 Fleming, how was it working with the godfather of underground dance music?

John is an amazing person and one of my best friends. He is also a fantastic producer. Working with John is not work, it’s one laugh after another.

You belong to the great American generation of electronic music, things have drastically picked up in the last 2-3 years, what is your take on the growth of EDM in USA?

Right now is a fantastic time for dance music in the States. Dance music never had the commercial success here that it did in the UK and Europe. It has been a very slow and steady climb but now it is exploding. Geographically the US is quite large and it just took a while for dance music to conquer rock & roll and R&B but that is all changing now. This is the healthiest the scene has ever been.

With the massive underground music scene in the late 1990s and early 2000s in Europe, did you ever think being in America was a bit of a handicap?

What a lot of people don’t realize is that the US had a massive underground scene as well in the early 1990s and through the 2000s. It’s just that the events were very underground – outdoor raves and warehouse parties. Our commercial club scene has only recently exploded but events with ten to fifteen thousand people were common in the US ten to fifteen years ago. That is why all the European British and European DJs have worked so hard to tour here. A lot of European DJs have relocated to the US, especially Los Angeles. I think the handicap, if there was one, was that the European and British press in the early days didn’t recognize US DJs and producers so people over there didn’t know what we were doing over here. But the internet has changed all that.

On the other hand, it was easy to get entry into Hollywood and produce tracks for movies/games, did you enjoy doing that?

I have had some good luck getting music placed in video games, on a couple of reality shows on MTV and in the Van Wilder movies and that is probably due to being a familiar name in the US. It is definitely a plus living in Los Angeles.

So many awesome festivals in America – UMF, EDC, Electric Zoo, Beyond Wonderland. Which is your favourite and why?

My favourite festivals are the Insomniac events like Beyond Wonderland in Los Angeles and EDC, which is now in Las Vegas and Burning Man in the Nevada desert. These Insomniac events are among the best in the world. The production is second to none and the attention to detail is amazing. They are not just festivals but events. These events emerged out of the Southern California rave scene and I have been a part of them since the beginning.

My other favourite festival is Burning Man. Burning Man is the most amazing experience I have ever had. It is like Las Vegas meets Disneyland on acid for adults. A place made of neon and metal where rules don’t apply. My favorite thing to do at Burning Man is to eat mushrooms and ride around on my bike at night looking at all the crazy art cars that are moving across the desert and find insane art installations that people have created in the middle of nowhere. Everywhere you look there are things on fire, people in crazy costumes and the best sound stages you’ve ever seen and heard.

It’s easy to ask any DJ which is your favorite club, tell us what is an ideal club for you?

An ideal club for me would have a warm pumping sound system that sounded like you were inside your car. I hate clubs with ear shredding hi frequencies. I would want the club to be very dark. I hate when clubs are too bright. I would have the DJ booth on the ground at crowd level with no spotlights on the DJ.

Do you miss the old rave generation? Do you think anything is missing in the modern clubbing/festival scene or you enjoy them more?

I think clubbing should be about the music, not about the DJ. That’s how it all began and that’s where I see clubbing eventually going back to. The DJ as spectacle has become ostentatious and will eventually run its course. I already see a movement of people returning to quality nights focused on music where they are part of the night not just a spectator. That’s how it was in the rave days. Now DJs are showboats flapping their arms, playing pre-recorded sets, lip syncing to the music and ignoring the art of DJing. I know it’s a cliché, but for me, DJing is about being able to put together a set that takes the dance floor on a journey. It’s not about hands in the air, it’s about building a groove and responding to what the crowd wants. I feel I am the crowds servant, whereas many DJs these days believe they are its master. That’s a big difference.

Sure you get tonnes of requests for playing "Rush Hour" every where you play, do you consider reworking on it every now and then to keep it relevant for the young audience or you always play the original?

It is funny that you should ask that question. I am planning on remixing "Rush Hour" this year as well as running a remix contest for fans. It’s been ten years and it’s time for an update.

Any message for our fans?

Thank you for all your support and I look forward to seeing you on a dance floor soon!

Pleasure having you on Trance Hub, wish to see you play in India again very soon!

For more info related to Christopher Lawrence check out the following links:
www.christopherlawrence.com
www.twitter.com/djclawrence
www.facebook.com/djchristopherlawrence
www.youtube.com/pharmacymusic

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Date of birth

October 1

Nationality

American

Nikhil Arora

Interviewer

Nikhil Arora

Co-founder, PR & Alliances

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