Christian Smith: I Have No Financial Motivation With Tronic Music
Legendary techno DJ/producer and Tronic Music label boss, Christian Smith ended 2016 just as he started it, on tour and at the top of his game. Here, he reveals how he stays sharp on the road
Christian, you finished 2016 with four gigs in South America, which took your tally to more than 120 for the year…
It’s been a busy two weeks and life is busy as hell. I did four gigs in Austria and Europe and then went straight over to Argentina, and then Uruguay, for the last gigs of the year. I can’t complain!
Next year you’re set to be travelling around the world with a busy schedule once more, how do you manage to stay sharp and motivated?
I actually got sick a lot in 2015, so I decided to make some changes to my diet last year. Essentially, I cut out or cut down carbs and started eating more healthily. It worked. I’ve been pretty well all year, until last week! But going from Austria, where it was -10, to South America, where it was in the 30s, was pretty tough for the body to take.
Different temperatures and different time zones sounds like hard work…
Going from one extreme to the other like that does put your body through a lot and at times it can feel like you’re in a washing machine, but I’m getting paid to travel the world; I consider myself very lucky. When you’re dealing with longer flights, such as Japan and Dubai, then it can take two to three days to deal with the jetlag. There’s not much you can do about that, you just have to get on with it.
Do you find time to exercise on tour?
You have to. I didn’t care so much about what I ate or how much I exercised when I was younger, but I have a family now and it’s more important. Plus, if I’m fit and well it means I won’t miss any gigs! I exercise to keep my mind sharp, more than anything. I go for 12km walks. I live in Mallorca so I tend to walk by the sea. I can’t complain.
You’re in India at the moment. Have you any plans to link up with your old friend Arjun Vagale?
That’s right, I’m playing at two festivals, Krank and Sunburn, and I really enjoy going to India. I’ve been going there for a few years and Arjun has become a good friend of mine. He’s someone I have huge respect for.
How do you feel the scene has evolved there? Can India be compared with western standards?
Yes and no. The techno scene is still in its infancy over there, but they have good DJs playing there every week. I would say their tastes are still developing and EDM is still popular, but I guess that because there are more people like me going there, things are continuing to change.
Has it been a challenge keeping Tronic relevant for so long?
It is difficult but I have never had any financial ambition with the label, which has enabled me to release music I’m passionate about and that I would play myself. I’m still very passionate about techno, and I have a very good team around me.
Who would you say are the real heroes/legends of techno music that you personally still look up to?
I’ve been in the industry for 20 years and so you have to look at guys like Jeff Mills and then, in the 90s, Luke Slater. And I still have huge respect for Carl Cox because he still has the energy to rock the house every time.
You like to create music people don’t expect, so what’s in store for 2017?
My album has been out for a couple of months now and I’m working on some remixes, plus a single with Adam Beyer. I’ve got 10-12 gigs a month lined up and my record label to keep me busy. I’ve got a family to look after too. Life’s busy but my wife still calls me lazy, so I must be doing something right!
Can you give us a top 10 of tracks (can be any) that get you in the mood for working out…
1. Christian Smith – “Input-Output” (Drunken Kong Remix) [Tronic]
Tokyo’s Drunken Kong have been on fire lately, and I am really happy with this powerful, and groovy remix they made!
2. Harry Romero – “Balance” (Wehbba Remix) [Tronic]
Wehbba really hit a home run with this remix. Moody, musical, and rocks the house every time played.
3. Victor Ruiz – “Nevermind” (Oliver Huntemann Remix) [Sense]
Both original &remix are great. I play this all the time in my sets.
4. Alan Fitzpatrick – “Friday Night Dancing” (Skream Remix) [We Are The Brave]
Really enjoy this remix. Skream is really getting better.
5. Christinan Smith – “Initiate Sequence” (Julian Jeweil Remix) [Tronic]
Simple, powerful, and repetitive, just the way I like my techno!
6. Rob Hes – “The Solution” [Tronic]
If this track doesn’t become a hit I’ll be really disappointed. A musical techno track with an infectious hook!
7. Gabriel Ananda – “Doppelwhipper” (Layton Giordani Remix) [Truesoul]
A nice update of the classic.
8. Rodriguez Jr. – “Chain Reaction” [Mobilee]
I dislike the term ‘Tech House’, but this track really sits in between house and techno, and has Rodriguez’s signature production, and features a great musical bassline. Nice and credible ‘tech house’ 😉
9. Moonwalk – “Nebula” [Suara]
I really like their style. Musical techno.
10. Luke Slater – “Love” [Novamute]
A great track to finish the night with; Luke showing his more emotional side.