With their August bank holiday party looming at large - WetYourSelf! sat down with restless techno ambassador of CLR, Chris Liebing, before he retains control of Room Two on Sunday. Over the last 10 years, Liebing and renowned producers like Adam Beyer, Perc, and Speedy J have released their music on CLR, turning it into a increasingly influential imprint bound up with the sounds of contemporary techno. Read on to learn more on what drives Chris Liebing after all these years in the game...
You’ve been one of the longest running players in the game, at this point what would you say still drives you after so many years?
It has been many years indeed, but I would say that I am so motivated because of all those years and I have learned so much in that time. I am still learning a lot and the more I learn and the more I realize what else I can accomplish, it motivates me and keeps me going. I often think “wow, this is totally new, and this is the best I have ever done when it comes to my own performance”. I also sometimes look back to my performances years ago and think “wow, that was not that amazing then and it is so much better now”. There is a lot to be discovered regarding the performance of electronic music on stage and this is very exciting. I would say what really keeps me going is still the joy and the fun of doing what I am doing.
Your sound has changed quite a bit since your initial schranz days, can you tell us a bit about what motivated your stylistic changes and what your thoughts are on how electronic music has and is progressing toward the future?
Well, on the one hand, from an outside point of view you might think that my sound has changed a lot over the years and that what I do today sounds totally different then what I used to do. And yes, to some degree this is true, because if you compare tracks that I have done 12, 13, 14 years ago to tracks that I do today, there definitely is a difference in the sound aesthetics and the sonic concept.
But there is also one thing that has never changed, and it is what I always wanted to achieve while playing a gig or playing music in a club – to basically put the people on a journey and have a certain amount of energy going. Before it was the speed of the tracks that helped me to accomplish this goal, nowadays it is more than anything the bass and the way it can unfold between the bass-drums. That´s why my sound has become slower, because there is simply more space between the individual bass drums and it gives more place for the bass and for the whole energy to come across.
And obviously the sound systems have become better, productions have become better and there is no need any more for this high tempo to get a certain energy going.
There is more room for deepness and feeling beyond this relentless energy and there is still so much more room for me to explore in this direction. To combine the energy of the bass drums and the bass which carry the whole thing with a certain deepness and feeling - something that moves me beyond this mentioned relentless energy - that´s the true challenge and excitement for me nowadays.
The Bank Holiday Party is the 2nd birthday celebration of WetYourSelf! Recordings. Your remix of Cormacs ‘Cold’ has been a highlight on the label and one of the top selling tracks in our catalogue. Can you tell us about the track and your remixing process?
I actually heard the original as Cormac played it at fabric – and I think there is no better place to hear it for the first time! As he played it I thought “wow, this sounds amazing”. It reminded me of old Alter Ego tracks. I really loved the vocals and could immediately imagine a remix for it. So we did that, I sat down in the studio with those vocals and I came up with a bass line. It is quite a hard mix, probably the hardest track that ever came out on WetYourSelf! Recordings so far, and it might fall a little out of place, but I think I kind of accomplished the combination I explained earlier. There is this mixture of the hard hitting bass and this crazy, driving sound in it, breaking down into the deepness of the vocals and the melody. Of course it´s still not entirely there yet and if I would do it again today I would surely do this remix a whole lot different. I actually really enjoy working with vocals, but I am also very picky with them. Some people might think I hate melodies and vocals, but that´s not the case, I am just very picky and my challenge is to find the right vocals and melodies. In this case Cormac has given me a great original to turn into my remix and I am looking forward to play it out on the second birthday celebration of WetYourSelf! Recordings.
You’re a fine example of balancing life outside of work and music with your job. Youve remained a healthy and happy chap in this industry.. What’s Your secret?
I noticed that I just enjoy and love what I am doing, so I don´t have to think about it or plan it very much. It´s still very exciting and fun to me and I think this comes across. It´s a “give and take” between the audience and myself, we are just having a lot of fun together and this is what keeps us going. And yes, I realized quite a while ago that I also have to keep my body healthy to keep this joy going. Because you know when you are tired you get grumpy, and that happens to everyone including myself, so I try not to get too tired. I try to get enough rest, to get my body a good workout so I stay healthy and to eat well.
I became a vegan about a year ago and all this is what I believe suits me and keeps my body healthy and ready to function properly. I also don´t really believe in stress and problems and this is another factor that helps me very much. If you stop believing in those things they might as well disappear from your life – this is at least what happens more and more in my case. I just enjoy what I am doing without worrying too much about what will happen in a year or two or three or next week. I could not tell what is going to be the case then, but right now I am simply happy about what I am doing.
Finally , we would like you to ask another of our guests on this date a question. Do you have a question for Marc Houle?
Yes, I have a question: Hey Marc, what is the thing you have most fun with in your dj life? I am sure that there are a lot of things you probably enjoy like meeting friends, meeting other people at parties and playing out, but what is the core fun that you have, what is it that drives you to do what you are doing?