Christian Smith- I left Sweden to Avoid the Rave Commission
Sunday, August 5, 2001Christian Smith is a common name amongst techno DJs in the know. But, unlike most of his producer peers, his records can also be found in tech-house, progressive and house record boxes, sometimes even trance. Smith started DJing aged 15, inspired by seeing Sven Vath play at the Omen, in Frankfurt. His own rise to prominence started several years ago when the wider world first noticed a bunch of Swedish DJ/producers with a fresh approach to house and techno. These included Adam Beyer, Cari Lekebusch, Joel Mull and, of course, Smith. He's never looked back since. These days based in New York alongside his long term production partner John Selway, Smith runs a Monday night techno club in Manhattan while releasing prolific quantities of tracks for the likes of Carl Cox, Yoshitoshi, Hooj Tunes and more.
'The Swedish government has this Rave Commission that basically bans any kind of parties that people try to stage. That's one of the reasons why I moved to New York.' Producer/DJ Christian Smith is one the fastest rising stars in techno, despite (or because of-) coming from Europe's most anti-club culture country, Sweden. Skrufff's man in Sao Paulo Camilo Rocha, himself a keen spinner of Smith's tunes, chatted to Christian this week on the phone from New York where he was clearly delighted to be based. 'Sweden's not good, there is nothing going on there at all. In São Paulo there is much more going on than in Stockholm. It's strange because there are a lot of good DJs and producers there.
Skrufff (Camilo Rocha): You've played in Brazil twice before the last time two years ago, do you have any lasting memories from that occasion-
Christian Smith: " I have many memories, I went to quite a few places, Brasília, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte. It's very interesting, a lot of people don't know about Brazil but there's a big scene there. I got lots of energy from the kids when I played.
Skrufff: You cross lots of genres with your music, did you ever expect to have such a broad appeal-
Christian Smith: "It makes me really happy, I've never seen it as a negative thing. When the first Tronic record came out six years, that was before the term tech-house came about. It was strange because it was too hard for house and too soft for techno and I was told that no one would play it. The first record I did with John Selway for In-Tec ended up being played by Jeff Mills, Paul Oakenfold and Danny Tenaglia. I was shocked because I never expected that. It's definitely not something I plan, when you're in the studio you just do the best you can. Even Judge Jules has played my stuff on the radio and I was totally surprised."
Skrufff: Have you ever been criticized for appealing to so many different tastes-
Christian Smith: " Well, a few techno purists, who only like techno, don't like that sort of thing. For them it's like selling out but I don't agree. For me it should just be about good music, it doesn't matter what style."
Skrufff: You've just moved to NY, where John Selway, your main production partner in, lives. How did you two work before, when you were living in Stockholm-
Christian Smith: "We would always meet up and work in person. I would come and play in the US and then take some time for us to work. We have been mates for a long time."
Skrufff: When and how did you meet-
Christian Smith: "I met John in 1993 at a rave in the US. I was there DJing and he was playing live, some really hard acid stuff. We spoke and got on really well. In19 98, we started working together."
Skrufff: What are your next musical projects-
Christian Smith: " I just did a record for Underwater, Darren Emerson's label. There is also a remix I've done with John for Speedy J's "Electric Deluxe", which is out on Additive. I will also have a solo album out soon maybe through Soma or
NovaMute. Then again it might come out on Tronic. I've also got a mix CD coming out called "Tronic Treatment" which is going to be released i Tags