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Christopher Lawrence: I'm Quitting America Because I Don't Want to Raise My Son Here

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
"It's really important people start defending club culture and the civil liberties issues involved, because if you lose these rights, once these things are taken away, it's next to impossible to take them back. History shows that. If we don't stand up today then our children are going to have a really crap world to grow up in. Then you've got the War on Iraq . . ."

Chatting to Skrufff this week, West Coast superstar DJ Christopher Lawrence is as passionate about the state of US politics as he his about his new debut artist album All Or Nothing. Hugely popular for the tech-trance music he spins across the States (he recently took 5th spot in BPM's annual Favourite DJ poll) he's also one of dance culture's most articulate, thoughtful, friendliest characters, which is why his predictions for America's cultural future make grim reading.

"The real truth is, I don't like the direction the United States is heading in, I don't want to raise my son here," says Christopher.

"By the time he starts school, we'll be living in Australia."

And in the meantime, though he'll be continuing DJing throughout the States and beyond as well as promoting his much anticipated debut artist album All Or Nothing, which comes out on KinkyBeat/Pharmacy Records June 29. Produced over five long years, its release marks a key new chapter in his ever burgeoning career.

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): How would you describe your new album All Or Nothing-

Christopher Lawrence: "Up until now everything I've done has been singles and compilations and the album certainly doesn't sound like a compilation, which I'm glad about because a compilation CD is usually like a souvenir of a night out; a snapshot of a DJ set. This album is more representative of the music I like to play combined with the music I'm influenced by, so it's more diverse than a compilation CD. Of course, there are dance tracks on there but also some downtempo tracks. It's more eclectic but not too far afield to make people who've been following me for years go 'what the hell is he doing-'."

Skrufff: Do you feel more exposed as a producer than a DJ-

Christopher Lawrence: "I find it more revealing and I guess I'm more self conscious about it, because a compilation CD is just a collection of what I consider to be the best records around over the past few months. So I know those tracks I've chosen are good because I've compared them to loads of other records. Whereas with an artist album all you have is your own material, it's all yours, so it's taken me a long time to do this record; five years."

Skrufff: How many ideas have you kept on board since the beginning-

Christopher Lawrence: "There's a couple of tracks that were recorded four years ago that I felt were so good, they fit perfectly, then there were others that sounded so dated that got pushed aside. The album was finished a year ago but because of legal issues it got delayed which gave me another year to go over the whole process again and re-evaluate everything. Ultimately, it's the best I can do and I'm happy with it."

Skrufff: Who do you consider your peers these days, people like Paul Van Dyk or BT-

Christopher Lawrence: "I've always respected Paul Van Dyk, he's somebody who's remained consistent to his sound whilst also exploring different areas within that sound such as vocals. I also wanted to work with vocals because I felt for an artist album it feels empty not to have a vocal element in there. And musically it's nice to have a human element in there."

Skrufff: Paul Van Dyk's involved in the US Rock The Vote campaign, what do you make of the strength of the dance scene right now-

Christopher Lawrence: "The whole dance scene is still very apathetic and unfortunately it's going to lead to our own demise, particularly in the US. We actually contacted, who are very strong, to see if there's anything I can do to help out there; are the organisation Moby is working with as well. A