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Club Beat #124: BUR Interviews 03: Chris Lawyer

“Tek, tek, tek, tek…” Yeah, you know the track! This month’s Bosphorus Underground interview sees us talking to one of the leading lights in the minimal scene and proponent of the burgeoning fakmetal genre, Chris Lawyer. Read on as Chris gives us some insight into his journey into minimal, the subject matter of his album and his upcoming releases on BUR.

PlanetNotion: Your first release was in 2007 with Thomy, We Gonna Feel It. Why do you think it was so successful?
Chris Lawyer: I think it was so successful because of the emotion in the track; it was a really interesting track and I was in love at that time. The original was very different; it was a Chris Lawyer track; and then I met with Thomy and he told me, “This track is really good, but it needs a different groove”. So we changed the groove. We uploaded it on the internet and it was like a virus; everyone downloaded it. Once, Bob Sinclar played it and that changed everything; after that, everyone wanted to play the track. We signed the track to Pornostar Records, Tommyboy’s label, and he asked Gambafreaks and Ill Sound Academy; that was the first official remix. Then other remixes came and the label arranged a remix competition. This was the first track that I made and wanted to release, because the other tracks had so much emotion, but were progressive and deep house stuff, which was not the style I wanted to be as a producer.

PN: After that, you did a minimal track with Ton Def called Love Potion. Why did you change direction?
CL: I had to. With the Chris Lawyer & Thomy project, we were touring around Europe; but Thomy started a new project on his own, which he decided to focus on. So I was alone, no contacts, neither to labels nor to producers. I met my friends, Ton Def & Sasa Savic. When I was producing my music and sending them the Dutch stuff, they were saying, “They are really great, but you should try to make a minimal track because we think you would be great at it.” I told them, “I’ve never made a minimal track; what if we make one together?” So we made Love Potion.

PN: Why did you move from being a producer to also being a DJ?
CL: As I told you in the beginning, I produce tracks to represent my feelings, my memories. I wanted something as an art, to have a physical form of my life. I love music and there was this programme on the Playstation, Music 2000, and that was my first connection with the music. After, I started to produce music and, with the success of We Gonna Feel It, our management got lots of requests. So, I started to mix music because that was a great point to get in touch with my fans.

PN: How did your relationship with BUR develop?
CL: Ton Def already had some releases on BUR, so it seemed to be a good idea to release a track on there. Berkin & Ahmet loved the track and it got really good feedback from Spartaque, Popof and other good names from the minimal scene. So we just jumped in with the Love Potion release.

PN: Your album, The Plum, incorporates tracks from a variety of genres. Was this a conscious decision?
CL: No, I never think about which genre I’m going to produce. With the album, I just produced what I felt; most of the tracks are about a girl, the love. I have a tattoo on my arm that says Plum; that’s her name if you translate it. And Right On Time is the biggest love track, even if you wouldn’t think it. You know the sample, the “tek, tek, tek, tek”? It came when she would drive me home and we would often say, “You”, and in Hungarian it is ‘te’, which sounds like the “tek” in the track. We would say it back to each other and it sounds like the “tek, tek, tek, tek”. She showed me a track in a similar genre to Right On Time and she told me that it was her favourite. I told her, “You can’t love this track; I can make a better one in a few hours.”

PN: What are the integral elements that go together to make a great minimal track?
CL: When I start to produce music, I always start with the groove. I think the most important parts are the kick and the bass; they really drive the track. If I have a really strong kick, I can add the bassline, and after that I add the layered claps (something I always use; a Chris Lawyer signature). Most of the minimal producers then use a vocal cut, which gives a cool feeling to that, a rap element, an old school or pop element.

PN: We love the video for Do The Lawyer (Mezara). Was that your idea?
CL: All of my official music videos are my idea, because I want to represent myself. For the Right On Time video, the most important thing was for people to know my face and how I am in real life. There’s also sexuality, music, the cat is a sexual icon and the lolly-pop, these are all me. OK I’m not a pervert or something, but it’s exaggerated. For Do The Lawyer, I really love Hungary and we thought we’d use the capital city in the video. And I wanted to keep the same stuff from the original video, like the yoyo guy who looks like Alan from The Hangover. The concept is an international thing. Femm is not in the track originally, but I think it gives a special part in the breakdown that he’s speaking; he’s Nigerian, living in Cyprus and speaking in English. And the girl singing is actually not a girl and he’s singing in Hindu; the track was released on Bosphorus Underground, a Turkish label, and I’m Hungarian. Also, the girl in the video is half-Hungarian and half-Cuban; she is not in Hindu clothes, but Arabian clothes.

PN: What other styles of music influence you?
CL: I listen to Hungarian underground rap. There’s a guy called Essemm; he’s really cool and he makes different stuff all the time, from underground to commercial. Underground rappers rap from their heart, not for the money. I also got hooked on Umek’s radio show; I download it weekly and I always find two or three tracks on the mix that I love. On Bosphorus Underground, I always listen to Ahmet Sendil’s tracks, Mark Dekoda’s tracks and there’s a new guy, Minicut; I think he’s talented.

PN: Any plans for new releases on BUR?
CL: There will be a Do The Lawyer remix EP coming out soon. I also have some original tracks coming up; one is called I Got The Lawyer; I will rap on it like in Sao Paolo. There’s a track called Go Gurl that’s not finished yet; only the mixing and mastering remain and I’ve got a guy on that called Caligula aka Cali Stylz. He’s worked with Danjahandz who already worked together with Madonna, Britney Spears and more world-famous artists, so I’m really happy to get him on my track. There will be an official music video for Go Gurl.

PN: Do you have any upcoming gigs in the UK?
CL: In May, I’m going to be playing at Pacha in London; it’s through a Hungarian organisation.

Follow Chris Lawyer & Bosphorus Underground on Twitter.

- Ann Bartholomew

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