by Wendy Fong
written by Sabrina Sexton Weil
Christopher Lawrence is a busy guy. Last month, he was in Tokyo and Lima, Peru. Last week, he was in Vancouver. Next week, he leaves for Europe.
He undoubtedly racks up the frequent flier miles.
Despite his hectic schedule, he took the time to speak with Lunar on the phone one evening in November of 2000. When asked about his hectic schedule and the differences he sees around the world, he said, "Everywhere in the world is the same. People might dress a little different or look a little different, but the response is always the same."
That response is probably overwhelmingly positive. Named by Muzik magazine "America's Top Trance DJ" and the first American artist to be signed to Scotland's Hook Recordings, Christopher Lawrence is recognized worldwide for his distinctive trance sound and skill behind the turntables.
While he's been able to travel the world with his sound, his favorite country to play in is Australia. He says, "It's like a cross between England and America"...if you took the best of both cultures and rolled them into one, you'd have the best of both worlds Australia. Also, Christopher said that another thing that makes Australia unique is that city officials are now working with rave promoters. Studies show that ravers are less violent on average than other parts of society, so city officials have decided that people should have the right to have raves if they are done correctly (with police present, etc.). Because of this, parties in Australia are well-produced and occur in nice venues. Christopher said that psychologically, "people don't like to hear other people having fun" if they're not, so that's why there are so many complaints against raves.
When asked how he would compare the trance scene in America to that of foreign countries he visits, he said, "I think it's really similar...I think for the most part the trance sound that's predominant in the US is a bit more on the underground side than in England." In England, Christopher mentioned, it's more commercialized. Even the cheesy bars are playing trance. It gives trance a bad name. While so many people are beginning to move away from calling trance "trance" because of the stigma associated with it, Christopher plans to stick to his unique style of music. There are always going to be those DJs that are "flavor of the month" those people will turn with the tide and go with whatever is the next flavor of the month. If the DJ is good, he or she will evolve within certain perameters. He's been playing progressive house/trance for 10 years now, and he's moved from harder trance to more acid, and such, but he doesn't plan on changing the style that he's developed for 10 years. So don't expect him to be spinning drum and bass next year.
What are some of Christopher's favorite producers and labels right now? He's into Data Records, Hook Recordings, Tune Inn Records, Decipher, Stimuli out of New York, and Sunkissed in Florida. His very favorite producer is Chris Cowie of X Cabs on Hook. Also mentioned were John and Barry of Evolution, Americans Steve Porter and Joshua Ryan, and Atlantans Red Shift. He played one of their tracks for a year straight.
When he's not admiring the studio work of others, he is hard at work on his own. He's just finished a new cd called United States of Trance. It's going to be on Moonshine with a release date of January 23, 2001. His favorite cd yet, it contains tracks that he's been really careful not to play out too often. He thinks people will be pleased with this one, noting that "it's a really strong sound, but it's not over the top. It's just really powerful."
He's also headed to the UK to finish a single on Hook Recordings.
With all the touring and studio time, when will he find time to do the second installment of the Trilogy series? Well, he's had to put that on hold since he did the United States of Trance cd.
Surely he'll have plenty to shop around at Winter Music Conference 2001, although that's not what Christopher plans to get out of the frolic-filled week on South Beach. He said he's going to do what he did last year avoid the seminars and schmoozing of the conference, and instead go to a few top events and have fun with his friends. He'll likely play a few parties, as well.
Conversation turned to the Internet and his Web site, which has a notice posted that a new site is "coming soon." Christopher shared that part of the update will be a page that he can update from the road to let people know what the events are like like an "on the road" page.
As a producer, what does Christopher think of Napster and programs that allow people to freely exchange other people's original music? Like most artists, he thinks it's both good and bad. The bad thing is that an artist does an album that they intend to sell, and then somebody puts it up on Napster and the artist doesn't make the royalties off of those downloads. A lot of people don't DJ out, and you don't make a lot of money making dance music, so if they don't get royalties they can't pay the rent and make more music. The good side of Napster is that DJs can download tracks and listen to them..then go out and buy the vinyl. People have always made mixtapes and copies, so he doesn't know why people are getting so upset about it...unless it gets to the point where people never buys cds anymore.
When asked if there was anything else he'd like Lunar readers to know about him, he confessed that his secret favorite thing to do is to go to the post office. He goes to the post office every single day that he's home, and every day is like Christmas. His favorite thing is to get good records in the mail. It's even better now that he's traveling so much he's gone for a week and when he comes back, there are lots of goodies waiting for him.
With all the traveling and playing out, his agent is very busy. But...she loves him no matter how busy he keeps her, because she is his wife, Sara. "I love it," Christopher said. "I am so happy having Sara handling everything. I think she's the best booking agent out there, and I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing without her. She books the flights, sets up the events...I've got her traveling with me as much as possible."
The career that he has means he's home two days a week, and with her working with him, they can travel together and spend time together.
"I'm a full-time job," Christopher laughed. "It's an incredible amount of work."
Trilogy Part One: Empire
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