Chris Liebing's not a fan of "ultra-commercial" EDM, but it stirs interest in the underground
Catch Chris Liebing's first appearance in Denver this Friday night at NORAD.
Recognized as one of the most important and influential figures in underground dance music today, Frankfurt's Chris Liebing is a DJ, producer, label-boss and the charismatic host of the popular weekly CLR Podcast. A longtime player in the international club and party scene, Liebing has seen his status rise considerably thanks to the current fashionability of electronic dance music in the United States -- although he remains a devout believer in underground techno and one of the most respected names in the business. We traded emails with the techno luminary in advance of his first-ever performance in Denver this Friday night at NORAD Dance Bar.
Westword: You've been a champion of techno since the 1990s. How do you feel about the style's rise in popularity in recent years, as well as the explosion of commercial dance-music (especially in the United States)?
Chris Liebing: I believe that everybody has a different taste of music, and even though I am not a fan of the ultra-commercial -- what [Americans] call "EDM" -- I believe that it pulls a lot of people into the electronic-music world and produces quite some interest in deeper and more underground styles. I appreciate everybody coming out to a techno party, checking out what the vibe is about, and then hopefully enjoying it. So, I think, all in all, it's great to see a lot of different styles evolving. The more styles, the bigger the choice, and the more people will be happy to find and listen to their favorite kind of electronic dance-music.
As the head of CLR, what are you and the label looking for?
I am not really looking for demos. Of course, there are demos coming my way, and when they sound interesting, I contact these people and try to explain what we are looking for at the moment. [But] I am more the kind of A&R who looks out for what's happening and what's interesting in the music world. It's more about the vibe and the mood of the moment. I don't really have a long-term plan when it comes to the music policy of CLR; it's more about how I feel and where I want to take it at this very moment, but it also does not necessarily have to happen exactly that way. It's quite open, that's why I could not tell anyone, you have to send this or that and it's going to be released. It depends on a lot of different factors.
What can we expect to hear from CLR between now and the end of the year?
We are very happy about the recent release of Monoloc's debut album, Drift, and there are some great remixes coming up. We are also still releasing remixes of the MOTOR album, which came out in March, so there is some great music out. There is a Terence Fixmer release coming up, a new Lucy release coming up, the new Traversable Wormhole series (Vol. 6-10) coming up, and I am currently working on a compilation with various artists, which all contribute exclusive tracks.
Do you (personally) have any upcoming releases you can tell us about?
No, at the moment I don't have any releases coming up since I have concentrated on mixing down the albums and tracks of other artists. Basically I executively produced other people and not really produced myself. I haven´t worked on my own music in a year now and I will see when that will come back, but I am not forcing myself.