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Christopher Lawrence interview: Unhooked But Still Scorching

Author: Mark Burton
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
America's award-winning trance DJ/producer Christopher Lawrence is heading back to Melbourne next month, touring his latest artist album, Un-Hooked, which has just been released here as one CD of the Ultimate Trance 3 through Central Station. Lawrence's trademark tech-edged sets have been winning accolades from all corners of the globe, and his recent single Scorcher was as you expect, red hot!

How has 2006 been so far for you-
2006 has been a great year so far. My daughter, Lola, was born on New Year's Eve which was a wonderful way to bring in the new year. I have also finished my first mix compilation in four years, Subculture, which will be out on the 4th of May. I also just finished a North American tour with DJ Dan. It has been a busy year, but a good one.

Any new tracks in the pipeline-
I just had a track come out called Scorcher that I did with Nicholas Bennison on Propulsion records and John 00 Fleming and I have a track coming out in May.

Turning now to your latest album Unhooked, how did you hook up with Chris Cowie-
We met back in 1996. He was in Scotland and I was in Los Angeles. I was a big fan of the Hook label which he owned and produced for. I was invited over to do a track and we got along really well. We began working together a couple of times a year and put out a several tracks over the years. Sadly, the label ended of couple of years ago. That is what motivated me to put out 'Un:Hooked'.

How much has he helped define the Christopher Lawrence sound-
Chris Cowie was my biggest influence in the studio. Chris Cowie was years ahead of everyone else with his powerful techno influenced trance. It was big sounding but always cool and never commercial. The sound we made together can still be heard in the tracks I do today.

What are your personal favourites from it, and why-
My personal favourite tracks are Rush Hour because it defines our sound and was our biggest track, Navigator because it was our first, and "NewDay" because it is a very emotional track and came out of a very intense studio session which unknown to us at the time would also be our last. It is kind of sad really because out of that session came some of our most beautiful work. Filmer and Untitled Dub with Noises were done that last time as well.

How important was Hook in getting the electronic music scene going in the US-
I think Hook played a significant role in defining the trance and progressive sound in the early years in the US. You have to remember that the US scene grew out of raves and not clubs. From the beginning there was a negative association with EDM in the US and clubs did not want us in their venues because it brought the police. Only the major cities had clubs and even in those cities it was the raves that drove the electronic dance movement. Because theses were huge parties in warehouses and outdoor locations, the sound that came out of these parties was trance, techno and acid breaks. The Hook sound worked really well at these parties.

How is the scene in 2006-
The scene is good but the warehouse and outdoor events are almost nonexistent. The federal government has pretty much destroyed that scene. Fortunately, there is a strong club scene that has developed.

How is your label Pharmacy music coming along and any exclusive label news that you'd like to share with us-
Pharmacy Music has been a slow project. I haven't had a lot of time to devote to it, but this year we have several releases lined up beginning with a track by John 00 Fleming and I. Also look for release by Fred Numf and Bio in the near future.

How do you see the trance sound evolving in 2006-
I see it continuing to have a strong techno influence like the past year but I also see more chugging progressive coming out. There is also a lot of tough electro progressive/trance that sounds really big on a dance floor. Ferry<