by Jason and Sabrina Weil
This interview with Chris Fortier took place at Plush in Buckhead. It is about midnight on April 7, 1999.
Lunar: How do you feel about Atlanta, and how do you feel about the scene here?
Chris: I've been playing in Atlanta for almost my whole career really. It's one of the first places I came to play, outside of Orlando or central Florida area... so I like the city. I think it has a good energy about it. I think it has so much potential to be so much more than it is at this stage. It could be a really big mecca for music...the population, the cultures here. I think it's right for being a good scene for people to enjoy music and be able to cultivate more things than just people going to clubs. It can breed musicians, and things like that, record companies and stuff. It has definitely grown since the first time I've come here which is great to see, but I really like it and I like the atmosphere around here. And the clubs generally have been really good, but I see so much more for the city that it could be.
Lunar: There are several Atlanta producers that are now trying to put out stuff. Do you see any of that in Orlando at all?
Chris: I haven't seen anything that I know is actually from here, but I have just gotten two or three things from the Winter Music Conference ...just recently...a CD-R of some tracks that people have done that live here that are really, really good that I actually just got acetates for to play on the weekends, so I am really looking forward to getting more and more stuff from these guys. I think this is the first production that most of them have done, you know, on our level. There are other people who are doing stuff I'm sure, on the house tip, which is good.
But as far as progressive, which is the sound of the moment..I think it's definitely very...almost [all of] America is still young and growing, and Atlanta is probably just even more of a microcosm for that and totally new for a lot of people in the production end and producers in general. It doesn't take much to do it, and people are realizing this and that is why we are starting to see it. Hopefully we will see more.
Lunar: Do you think progressive is the most popular music in America now?
Chris: I think it's the fastest growing easily, with people like Sasha and John [Digweed] coming here. Especially since they have been coming here for years, but with their popularity in New York and branching out all around America, and then all the people that do or have been doing the same kind of sound for the last few years as well..keeping up the pace with them in different areas. Building the scene, people being influenced by them in smaller parts of America. That's where we are seeing the biggest growth in places like Little Rock, Arkansas, or Birmingham, Alabama, or places like that. It's really impressive to see scenes growing and actually starting where you have one or two clubs doing that. It's just really, really good.
I see it first hand through Balance, my other company. We do promotions for record labels around the world in America, and so we see a lot of young people starting up in places you would never have thought. And when you go there to play or see what they do or have going on, you wouldn't think that you were in Little Rock or Birmingham. I played in Little Rock about three or four months ago, and the guy was telling me "you, ah you'll be really surprised. You'll be really surprised." And I get there and there's about two thousand people in this club it's crammed. A lot of college students and stuff, a lot of people that might not exactly know the music, but they are out for a really good time, and if they get shown a good time, they give back and have a good time...and it was really, really good. It was actually a better night than the night I had played the night before...which was the place I had been playing for years. So, I think those are the new frontiers really, places you wouldn't have thought of before for America to grow.
Lunar: Are you booked for anything coming up in Atlanta?
Chris: I will be back in June, I think it is June 12 [for Mirage Productions]. But after that I don't know. I really like Atlanta. I've always had a good time, I mean it. Like I said, it was one of the first places I actually came to outside of Florida. Damian [of Liquid Groove] was the first person to really bring me up here, and he was pretty good with me and helped me build a name here. I like it. I like the city. It's good. Traffic is kinda strange, but it's cool.
Lunar: Orlando has definitely been an influence for Atlanta's scene.
Chris: Yeah, I have seen it in the record stores, and I see Orlando has its own section. I think Atlanta...it's obviously detrimental when you have your biggest export like the Wamdue Kids move. It's not good, and I'm a big purveyor of if you live somewhere, stay there and build the scene that you have...and if you walk away from it to go somewhere else where it's supposed to be better, you're only going to become one of the many in that area, and you're taking away from the chance to build and create the scene that you want to first hand. You could be responsible for it.
I always say a lot of times my point of reference is someone like Kimball who...he created, not single-handedly, but was the poster child for Orlando. And he created a sound and most everything people think of when they think of Orlando, and a lot of people could do that in their own areas. If everyone stayed in their own area and built it up that way, we would have a much stronger network of clubs and music and things like that. I think what I am really striving for I'm all about trying to make this music and my music a national, global phenomenon. I want it to be heard on the radio and I want it to be heard in the TV and the Gap and stuff. I'm proud of it when my record gets played in the Gap, so I'm not ashamed of that. Commercialization is good. There will always be an underground, so I am not worried about that either.
Lunar: That's always an ongoing debate. It's just stupid because people will complain about people like Fat Boy Slim or others that get played on the radio and in commercials, but then applaud England and the way things are over there...
Chris: It's just the same. The thing is, these so called people that say they want to be underground, they want to be this; they're old school and the new school is not new...at one point those people were new school and they had to be accepted, so why cannot they accept the new people for what they are? I mean, that is what it's supposed to be about.
When I first started going to clubs, you would go to a club and you would make a million friends, you would forget them all, but them you would make them your friend again next week. And that was the whole deal. You didn't question it, and it was sorta, it was..I mean honestly, this was like 1988-1989, and it was really true sincerity. When you went to clubs you were in there for the music and everything that came with it, and it wasn't anything about some of the pretentiousness that comes along with it now. I'm on a constant mission to try to get back to that atmosphere, that vibe, you know. Sometimes it goes...sometimes it doesn't.
Lunar: Could you tell us a little about your latest projects?
Chris: We just did a bunch of remixes. The last few things that have come out have been the Delirium remix that we did for Sarah McLachlan called "Silence," which is finally going to get a UK release in the summertime, so I'm very very happy about that. Doing another mix for that label called "If Only" by a band called Weed; a few other odd remixes here and there. We're doing some more stuff for some other labels, the new Heliotropic, the new Way Out West single for the new album.
We are concentrating on our own new album right now. We've got two singles, two tracks for the album done, and three or four more songs already written. We've got a new vocalist that we are using so...after we do these couple of remixes we're gonna work on the album full scale through this summer and hopefully have the album ready to go for the fall. As far as djing, I'm just doing the same kinda thing, away on the weekends, looking forward to South Africa and Australia later in the year and back in Atlanta on June 12.
Lunar: What are your plans for the millennium? Are you booked?
Chris: Not yet. We have a bunch of offers in, but we're waiting to see what the best thing is going to be. We might be in Australia for it, I'm not really sure..New York. It's hard to decide exactly where you want to be for it. You want to be somewhere where it's going to be cool and memorable. I don't know of many of the European or English djs that will be in America....
Lunar: Anything else you would like to add?
Chris: Just that I have two CDs out. I have the "Sanctuary" CD, it's a Fade compilation of remixes and original stuff, and there's a mix CD I did for Streatbeat called "Atmospherics" which is a dj mix, more of a light breakbeat kinda thing.
We were most impressed by Chris' gracious attitude toward the success he's had, and we applaud his sincere interest in the scenes of towns and cities across America. He was a pleasure to speak with, and his cd "Atmospherics: The Breaks" has been thumping in our cd player.
Atmospherics: The Breaks
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