UK DJ & producer Chris Finke joined us for a little bit of a Q&A to find out a bit more about his latest moniker ‘Bodyjack’. A former UK DMC finalist and resident at techno institution Atomic Jam, Chris has been around the dance music scene for decades and even though he does look quite young, he’s actually really old!
Playing a wide range of electronic sounds and releasing hybrid productions for labels like Mote Evolver, Affin and Beardman, our boy has support from the likes of Dave Clarke, Huxley, Carl Cox, Pete Tong and Annie Mac. His own Bodyjack label kicked off in December 2013 and with a back catalogue of over 30 remixes for the likes of Mark Broom, A Guy Called Gerald and Orlando Voorn, we thought we’d pick his brain a little about DJing and production.
So, what should we be calling you these days? You’ve got more pseudonyms than Lord Lucan!
Sir is quite nice! My main project is now Bodyjack, which is more party stuff; a mix of styles centered around house, bass, techno rave, jacking stuff, all sorts really. I killed off Chris Finke last year to keep things fresh and I’m glad I did. I’m not really missing that guy right now! I do have another alias that I am using for techno and played my first live show at Berghain in Berlin recently, but that is totally anonymous for now. I just wanted to see if my music would work without preconceptions of who was behind it and it seems to be working.
How did you get started in DJing?
It all started when I used to go to raves over here in the UK. A small club in the middle of nowhere called ‘Milwaukee’s’ was amazing. You could stand right in front of the DJs like Carl Cox, Grooverider etc and watch what they did and I was hooked. It just went from there.
Personal highlights on the turntables?
There have been so many, but a few that stand out. The first time I went to Japan was pretty amazing and playing places I always loved going to myself like Glastonbury and Ibiza are always something I love doing. My closing set at the last Atomic Jam event in Birmingham last year was really special. It was the last time a party was held in The Que Club (a big cathedral type venue). I played the last set and pulled out a load of classics. It was broadcast on Be-At TV as well which was great.
Any major ‘fails’ along the way?
Oh god yeah! The last Atomic Jam set I just mentioned – the first 2 minutes there was a tech issue and I had to style it out…3000 people waiting for something to happen and nothing! We got there in the end and I killed it (if I do say so myself!).
Did you start producing straight away?
No, it was only out of necessity really. I was starting to get more and more gigs and I was doing it without putting any music out. It was something I had to do to take it to the next level and it’s been a fun learning experience and something that you never stop progressing with. I make most tracks in one sitting now which if you had told me that even 3 years ago I wouldn’t have believed it possible.
Did you take any courses to help you learn?
No nothing like that, but I do teach myself. I’ve been on TV doing it and I was a tutor at Ministry of Sound for a while before they closed their academy down (which had nothing to do with me, I need to add!). I do a bit of private tuition now that is fun as I like helping people as it breaks up my week a bit. I would go mental making music every day, so it’s a fun thing to be able to do.
Any ‘go to ‘synths or software in the armory?
I tend to keep things simple really. I’m not a production geek and I’m not in any way technical. I tend to do things by ear and have never followed a tutorial. Its kind of makes it hard sometimes, but it’s a really organic way of working and I like discovering things along the way.
Any tips for DJs and producers who are just starting out?
Have fun doing it – if it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing it. It’s a cliché but please don’t expect to make any money out of it. Everyone is a DJ/producer now. If you just do it for the love and don’t expect to get anything from it, things can happen sometimes but get a decent education and something to fall back on. It’s such hard work, but it can be very rewarding too on every level.
What do you think of the current state of the dance music industry?
Really exciting! Musically we are in the most interesting time for about 20 years right now. There are so many amazing producers out there making game changing music, whereas nothing had changed at all for such a long time. The whole EDM thing has blown up in the States which I don’t really class as anything to do with what I / “we” do, but the good thing that will come out of it is that some people will discover decent music by digging deeper from it, and that’s not a bad thing.
Any major plans for the future?
Yeah, lots more to come hopefully. My next EP is out on one of my favourite labels ‘Unknown To The Unknown’ in July so can’t wait for that and loads more in the pipeline. Plus the gigs and my return to the States at the end of the summer, so watch out for that 🙂