Talking Hardcore, Depeche Mode & Jimmy Sommerville (amongst other things) with Techno producer Chris Coles!
Reported by Jessica Alici
Submitted 01-06-20 13:50
Chris Coles has been bubbling away in the underground trance and techno scene for some years now. But his recent 'taking-no-prisoners' techno productions seem to have ramped up a few gears and resulted in him exploding across the techno scene! We decided we should drag him out the studio and have a good old chinwag about his artistry, ahead of his upcoming debut release on Onhcet Republik on the 8th June 2020!
Where did you grow up and do you think this influenced you musically?
I grew up in South Yorkshire, I wouldn't say it influenced me musically as such, though we did have and still do have some great nights up here. I used to attend every Tidy event, and back in the day I would attend all the raves I could find like Uprising and Donny Warehouse etc. It gave me inspiration, because I would get home and recover from the copious quantities I'd taken, then start making a banging hardcore tune haha!
What was the first record you remember buying?
Well I remember jumping on the local bus into town with great excitement, heading straight for Woolworths! Yes Woolworths haha - now that's showing my age! It was none other than...wait for it... The Communards - 'Don't Leave Me This Way' - yep Jimmy Sommerville.
When was your first taste of electronic music?
I'd have to say my first real taste of Electronic music would have been Depeche Mode, amongst others like Kraftwerk, Erasure (Vince Clarke), Front 242 etc. But Depeche Mode have been with me ever since and I own just about every Single & Album they ever did, plus I've seen them live on many occasions.
How did this lead you to produce techno music?
I couldn't get enough of that raw Analog sound; I just couldn't get it out of my head. This was a special moment in my life where I went a little nuts and started nudging my parents to spend their hard earned cash on my first Synthesizer. I was crying out for many days & nights that I needed a synth, I wanted a synth, I must have a synth! Finally, I got my first synth! And actually, I was a lucky boy as I ended up with 2! First a Yamaha SY55 then shortly followed an Ensoniq EPS16+. The Ensoniq was something else! A 16-bit sampler! Boy how you could make that memory work haha! We forget how blessed we are now with studio equipment and software constantly evolving.
This led to me and a few mates making old skool rave music and making our own bootys of Depeche Mode & Erasure tracks!
What are your artist aspirations?
To be the best I can really. I don't look for fame, but I wouldn't mind a massive release financially... who wouldn't?! It makes me happy that I'm now seeing my sound heard and enjoyed by many across the world. I'd like to spend more time brushing up my DJing skills, as studio time takes up most of it. But I love doing what I do and I try to make a sound that's not typical; a sound that's a little unique. I guess I take each day as it comes and every time I get a track signed I guess I'm hitting those aspirations.
What other things keep you busy?
Not a lot at the moment unfortunately. I did however love kickboxing, football and watching boxsets. There's nowt like a bit of Netflix when you're bored. I love to relax and have a nice picnic somewhere quiet too.
Do you think the music industry has changed over the years? If so how?
That's a hard question, yes & no. Digital has made it far more difficult for the artist to earn much (if anything) from their hard work – I’m sure every artist would say the same. But it has also changed the way people listen to music and they can now access a lot more. Yes, you could go down your local record shop searching through vinyl or asking what it was you heard at the club last night, but now you have everything at your fingertips. Social Media has also helped upcoming artists shine that might never have been heard in the past.
What and who are your biggest inspirations and influences?
I'm inspired everyday by the people around me in the music scene. I've made some incredible friends and we all bounce off each other; seeing friends grow with talent is incredible. Since meeting Dan I'd say we influence each other pretty much every day, we are like a married couple haha.
Tell us about the label that you run? How it came about, its ethos. How do you find being a label manager compared to being an artist?
Mechanikal – yes, it's been a learning process and I'm still learning! It's bloody hard work and time consuming. Label Owner Mike Molokhia aka MiSiNKi reached out to me and asked me to be Label Manager as he trusts my ears and knowledge, which is very humbling. He's the best boss you could ask for to be honest and due to different factors, a very understanding guy. I made a brother in Mike and it's an honour to be working alongside him. The Label is fucking awesome to say the least! Everything released is absolute top-quality Techno and nothing gets on this label unless it's a 10/10. The releases have gained support around the world from some of the biggest DJs on the planet. I'd say the future is very bright for Mechanikal!
Tell us a secret?
That would be telling!!! Although Dan likes to eat crisps down the phone while slurping red wine extremely loudly just to piss me off : )
Do you find your mood influences your creativity?
Yes!!! Without a doubt. If I'm in a good mood I tend to be more melodic in my creativity but probably time slows down and it seems to take longer to finish the track. If I'm super pissed off it tends to go a little darker and more aggressive sounding, I like aggressive sounding! In fact, a lot of my stuff is aggressive and dark...maybe I'm a miserable bastard after all!
Do you think artistry can be taught?
Yes, I think you can teach someone to make quality music but I think you have to have that love to push the boundaries and I think it shows in the artist’s work. It's like anything really - if your heart's not in it then it's never going to be your best. I think you have to have something in you to really have a true connection with creativity. Maybe, don't know, what do you think?
Um! Yes! - I agree! But enough about me ;-)...
You have an upcoming release on Onhcet Republik called ‘Cabin Fever’ – a collab with Latex Zebra. Tell us about this. Where did the inspiration come, how did you lay down the track, how do you work together, what are the pros and cons of collabs, what’s your studio set up?
Yes it's a label we both wanted to be on. Onhcet Republik are releasing some serious Techno so it was an absolute pleasure to get it snapped up by them. Cabin Fever...because we are all getting a dose at the moment so it seemed a fitting name. Dan (Latex Zebra) and I just 'clicked'; whether we're sat in the studio together or working over video chat/sessions, it really doesn't matter - it just seems to work regardless. When we work together, we tend to start off by throwing ideas back and forth and then we see what happens. Dan will send me midi files of ideas or play them over the video chat or on many occasions we make stupid noises with our mouths and usually end up literally crying with laughter, but again it always works. Becoming friends and a duo together has been an absolute blast and long may it continue. We've only just got going and there's definitely a lot more to come!! We've not really encountered too many cons, it's been mainly pros, except the occasional issue with the internet going down.
Studio set up is Logic X with many Virtual Instruments and FX Plugins. A few to mention are Xfers Serum (our go-to synth), Sylenth, FabFilter, NI Massive etc - I could go on forever! I have built up a ridiculous sample library over the years so we are never short of a kick or an effect. We like to cut samples up and then sample back into Logic to make them our own and try be a bit unique. We use Novation Bass Station2, Korg & V-Station synths and more recently the Behringer TD-3.
You have a load of other upcoming releases in the pipeline – tell us about what ones to particularly look out for
Something to look out for? Hmm let me think... anything with our name on it! But we have a few bombs coming...they're all bombs actually! Onhcet Republik - 'Cabin Fever’, stuff on Blue Monkey, Dolma, Alienator, Hate Ministry (which is gearing up to be something very special), Rated R, We Love Techno, Butterfly, Light Side Music plus much much more. I could go on for quite a while! We have plenty of remixes coming out too. The work output is quite ridiculous.
If someone wrote a book about your life what would it be called?
'Trials & Tribulations'? It would probably be more humorous than unpleasant though!
Thanks for your time Chris.
Chris Coles collab release with Latex Zebra ‘Cabin Fever’ is out on Onhcet Republik on June 8th
To pre-order/buy ‘Cabin Fever’ on Onhcet Republik click here:
To listen to the sounds of Chris Coles click here:
To join Chris Coles’ Facebook fan page click here:
Images courtesy of Chris Coles and Onhcet Republik. Not to be reproduced without permission
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NEM3SI$ from Techno Label Onhcet Republik talks about ethos, the scene & gives a heads up on a very exciting remix of a renowned classic anthem!
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