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A Chat With Chris Fortier

Author: Terry Goldfain
Wednesday, 20 July 2005
Us humans are a smug lot, known to boast of our superiority, while ignoring our many and varied inadequacies. For example, we seem to share is a tendency, no make that a necessity, to stereotype, label and pigeonhole. I'm not saying this is always a bad thing, in fact it is essential as how else could we deal with the massive amounts of information we process every day- Yet it also leads us to form rock solid conclusions based on very little information. Take Chris Fortier for example. Over a fifteen year career he's played a major role in dance music's development in America, and been a highly successful label owner, Dj, producer, remixer and promoter among other related pursuits. Arguably, his two highest publicized projects were the remix of Delerium's track Silence in '99 and his Bedrock compilation in 2002. Thus, to many dance music fans, he's been condemned to a time capsule, remembered simply as that guy who does the epic remixes and plays moody progressive like on that Bedrock compilation. This is a perception that Fortier looks forward to rectifying with his latest compilation, 'Balance 007'.

"That's the problem with people and their perception of DJs," agrees Fortier. "They think that this one compilation is all this person's ever done, and he continues to play only the records and styles that are on that compilation. Anybody who has followed me from the beginning, or even the last four or five years, probably won't be too surprised with my new compilation. I think it's representative of where I have been going over the last couple of years, which is less and less what most people think that I do. I'm always moving forward, so every time someone things they can stereotype me, I've already moved on. I didn't sit down with a concerted effort to say 'I'm going to do something different to what anyone else thinks that I'll do on the Balance compilation.' In fact, most of my music has always been based around a lot of house and tech-house stuff. It basically builds and gets edgier and edgier from there. I had the opportunity to dig deep within myself and try and create something unique and special. It's still me though, and it's not like I've put on a bunch of tracks that I never have played and never will. A few of the older tracks I used on the compilation are things I've played for years. Some of the stuff is just music that I really liked a lot, and set aside in the hope of using it for a compilation one day. When I do a compilation, I always go to that pile and look through it to see how I can make the tracks work. There are still more records like that, waiting to be used."

Melbourne based EQ's Balance compilation series is a success story for many reasons. There are few, if any, Australian labels that can boast such an internationally reputed series. While not quite in the same category as the Global Underground series, Balance still serves as a flagship for the progressive movement, although the acclaimed offerings from recent Balance contributors Phil K, James Holden and Chris Fortier have made fans of progressive use the word in its widest possible context. "Part of the reason I agreed to do the mix was because I really liked where the series was going, especially Phil K's and James Holden's mixes," explains Fortier. "I really liked that it had created its own identity now. And I liked the fact that I could still do whatever I wanted to do, and still contribute to the defining nature of the series as opposed to being part of a series that everyone already has a definition for."

On the eve of an Australian tour to promote the latest Balance compilation, Fortier hopes to use his free time to make some progress on the production front. "The compilation took a little longer then expected, so that's eaten into my schedule and I want to make up for lost time," Fortier optimistically states. "I've got a new laptop, and if I can make one or two tracks for my upcoming E.P. in the fifteen hours there and fifteen
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