Danish DJ and producer CHRISTIAN NIELSEN, better known as CHRIS MINUS, is a rare commodity in the world of House and Techno. While other producers might pander to the masses, Nielsen, never opts for a novelty approach, instead carving his own successful niche in a constant jostle for dance floor play. Having recently released on seminal House labels, Play It Down and 8bit, under the watchful eye of label bosses and mentors, JESSIE ROSE and GORGE, CTC thought it a good time to catch up for a quick chat with the Copenhagen-based producer. Chase the Compass contributor, Ian Howling sat down with Christian last week, to talk all things production, label politics and his best Danish travel tips.
Ian: So, it’s been a pretty eventful few months for you. How are you finding it all? Christian: Yeah it’s been pretty intense, but I honestly can’t get enough of it! This is what I’ve been working towards so I’ve kind of asked for it right?
Tell us a bit about your progression. How did you first grab Jesse Rose’s attention, for instance? Well I got in contact with Jesse last year after doing a collab with Mr. V under a different alias. I had been in contact with Oliver $ and through that it all just kind of took off. And here we are now.
Were you sending tracks out for a long time, to label bosses like Jessie Rose and Gorge, before anybody got back to you? Did it ever get disheartening at all? With Jesse (Rose) the whole thing came naturally after the first contact. Gorge I’ve known some years so I’ve been sending previews to Gorge (aka Pit Waldmann) via Skype for some time. Gorge is probably one of the nicest guys in the business, but he’ll tell you if he thinks your track is shit! Haha… In a nice way . But disheartening? No, never. If a track doesn’t fit a label it doesn’t mean it’s not good. It’s just not their taste.
So once you got their attention, how did it work exactly? Did the label pick tracks from your back catalog or did you produce tracks that you thought would fit the label? A bit of both. First, I never produce tracks for a label’s sound. I’ve never understood that way of making music. “Slanguage” was the first track signed, and the rest was kind of inspired from that. “Fembot” was already a track in itself, but I changed it a bit to make it fit the whole EP better… Working with a label like 8bit makes you worry less. In other words, I trust Nick & Gorge and their choices. In general, that’s really the most important part to me working with labels. I know their history and know what they’ve done.
In regard to the “Slanguage” EP, how difficult was it to choose the 4 tracks you did? Were you always trying to mix things up with the tracks you chose? Was that intentional? To be honest, none of my music is really intentional. I always let things go and let it flow. This is also the reason why I keep my studio at home. I can’t really say: “Ok, today is Monday and I have to be creative.” It has to come naturally. I can’t really say how the process really was because, as I said before, the whole thing came rather naturally.
On a personal level, I guess recognition from your peers is something that’s important to you? The other producers I dig, their recognition is important to me. Don’t get me wrong, nothing is better than getting a mail from people who tell how much they dig your music, but knowing some of my heroes are playing my tracks makes it all worth it. So signing to 8bit means even more since Gorge and Nick have been heroes for years.
Would you ever consider opening your own label? Are there a lot of emerging producers you’d like to work with yourself? Under my other alias I ran a label, so I do have some experience. But yes, for sure one day it would be nice to start again. There are so many talented guys out there, it’s crazy. My favorite artists right now, and I wouldn’t call them emerging, because everybody knows that they are awesome, would be Chad Andrew and Jordan Peak. And hell yeah, would love to work with them at some point.
And you’re still located in your home country of Denmark. Can you let us know what it’s like? If we’d 24 hours to go partying there, what would you recommend? Denmark is a great country and Copenhagen is really cool and laidback. A normal weekend would be going to Culture Box, to listen to some proper house/techno and then no doubt an after party at KB18 in the meat packing district. During the summer I would hit up some of the cool events/festivals going on. Distortion for the streetparties, Strøm for the more grown-up kind of vibe and RAW for the more old school rave feeling.
Finally, can you tell us a joke? A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The driver says: “Ugh, that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen.” The woman walks to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: “The driver just insulted me.” The man says: “You go up there and tell him off. “Go on, I’ll hold your monkey for you.”
And what’s next up for you? Well I’m working on more stuff for 8bit and Play It Down at the moment. There is one more release I’m working on right now, but I can’t really say anything until its confirmed. Lets make a deal! Hit me up in 2 months’ time and I’ll tell you!