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Chris Coco: From DJ Mag to the Kingdom Of Chillout

Author: Skrufff
Friday, 12 October 2001
"Just because you're not beat mixing doesn't mean that you're not DJing. You've still got to put a set together and do something that works, that takes people from one place to another".

Having edited DJ magazine for the first 10 years of its life Chris 'Coco' Mellor is amply qualified to comment on DJing. Quitting the magazine 18 months ago to concentrate on his fast developing DJing and producing career, he soon enjoyed a worldwide hit with Rui da Silva's Touch Me as well as releasing several acclaimed chillout compilations. He's also just launched a new chillout sublabel for Sony Music though despite all his success remains humble and even excessively polite. Chatting to Skrufff's Angie Ng, this week in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) he qualifies nearly every response with 'I think, 'sort of' or 'kind of', frequently chuckling at points of contention. Chatting on the day before the US attacked Afghanistan though, he made it clear that he's particularly concerned about the future.

Skrufff: How easy is it getting on planes right now-

Chris Coco: "Once you get over that psychological barrier of going to the airport and getting on the plane and realizing you're not going to die, it's actually OK. I also thought 'If I don't go on this trip, it'll be a victory for terrorism because the only reason why I wouldn't is because I'm scared'. So I felt I should go anyway."


Skrufff : These are certainly scary times ; how easy is it to concentrate on DJing right now-

Chris Coco: "It's quite weird because DJing appears to be a really social activity, because you're working in clubs with lots of people who are all drunk(laughing) dancing and going crazy. In fact, when you're doing these international trips you spend most of the time on your own because you're travelling by yourself and when you DJ, you're by yourself 'cos you're playing the records. So, it's very easy to focus in on the music. It's more difficult to talk to other people and be sociable (laughing again shyly), because most times you're even in a different time zone."

Skrufff : What impact do you think this crisis will have on the dance industry-

Chris Coco: "London's been very strange over the last few weeks, it was a real relief to get away because everyone's really down and finding it hard to pick themselves back up again. A lot of people didn't really work for over a week because they were feeling too depressed. I think it's affecting everybody economically. So, less people are going out because they don't feel like having fun so much which obviously affects clubs, which is going to affect DJs and affect record sales."

Skrufff : Have you discussed the implications of the war with other DJs -

Chris : Not really, but most people are still doing what they're doing because it's what they do for their living (job). You can't really stop DJing and sit at home. It's not like someone who goes on holiday once or twice a year then suddenly decides to have holidays in their own country. Part of DJing is a lot of travelling so you just have to get on with it."

Skrufff : Have you been to Israel -

Chris : No. (chuckling). I did have an offer to go there with Rui Da Silva (one of his production partners) but we decided not to go. I don't know if that was because we were frightened or because we felt it would be politically incorrect to go there. I think it's a bit of bot. There are a few places you wouldn't go at the moment and that's one of them, for sure."


Skrufff: How much DJ trickery is needed to play Chill-out, does mixing matter much-

Chris Coco: "Er..one of the interesting things about Chill-out which is also one of the reasons I got into playing more Chill-out; is that you're not restricted by the beats per minute of a record. Playing dance music is still fantastic when it works in a club, but the way that it's gone is that it's split up into loads of different sub-genres and you have to play a particular style within a certain speed ra
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