We’ve been so lucky to meet the techno king Chris Liebing at the world famous Bolgia club in Bergamo right before he graced the stage for a hell of a set during Easter Night, here’s what our chat has been about:
J:Hi Chris, how are you?
C:I’m very good, thank you! Considering it’s the 5th gig in 4 days!!
J:Yes it crazy, your schedule is insane!
C:The past 3 weeks have been a bit crazy.
J:I follow you on Instagram and Snapchat, I had a lot of fun seeing your adventures lately!
C: Omg, I am embarrassed, haha.
J: So how is your relationship with the social media and the interaction with the fans?
C: It’s ambivalent I would say, because sometimes I have phases when I just don’t like to be online, and still I feel like I have to do something, that I have to post something. That´s not a good feeling, because it’s like you are sitting there and you think “oh I have to post something about last night“ and then you do these typical “dj behind the booth pictures“ with the crowd, something like this. You know, I am trying to get away from this a little. Maybe there are a lot of people who wanna see it, I don’t really know. There is a lot behind these postings, people always wanna tell me about it, like, “yeah you have to post this at a certain time, this picture has to look like this…“ and those kind of things… It’s just not really my world. Plus you have to keep a private life and wanna stay authentic, so I simply don’t wanna follow certain rules. If I don’t feel like posting for 2 weeks, I won’t post anything. But then again I feel bad towards the people, they might think “whats’ going on with this guy?“.
But as you can see, in this last week there were a lot of posts because we were just having fun and I have to thank my tour manager. He is really working hard on it, especially on Instagram while I am playing. He takes my camera and does all the movies.
J: So, how was Awakenings?
C: Oh it was like a crazy ride on memory lane somehow. It was their 20th anniversary and I am playing there since 17 years. The line up in which I was involved last night was like the one of 15 years ago, really, that was a lot of fun. Kind of a challenge too, because my music sounds different than 15 years ago, but then again, it should be a challenge, otherwise you can’t grow with it.
It was great, such a fantastic venue in Amsterdam.
J: Your set is kinda different from a normal dj set, due to the live things you do, could you tell me about it?
C: Well, I’ve always tried to keep excited about what I am doing, even when I started. In the earlier 90s I thought it was great to mix, but I always wanted to do something more. So when the technologies came in to make it possible, I really started to invest time in it over the years and I am still doing it. Technology is still growing, so last summer I’ve changed my set up quite fundamentally again, into what I have now. It enables me to do so many different things, and this is what matters the most to me. To be able to do things that help me to get into the mood, like adding a little drive, adding a little hi-hat, so that I feel like I am doing something. I could never be the dj who puts on a record that runs for 8 minutes and in the last minute mixes in a new one… and the rest of time I just stand there having a beer and look around… I don’t know, maybe I just need to be busy.
Sometimes maybe it’s too much, but if you do it in the right way it really creates the night..
J: Does it also depend on the club you are playing?
C: Absolutely, yes!
J: With a busy schedule like yours, how do you manage to stay healthy and sharp all the time?
C: I think you have to know what you get into, you kinda have to learn to dose your energy. I try to stay healthy in the way I eat and in the way I work out. I think you kinda have to be born for that. You have to love to travel. You just have to be ok with it and don’t have to add any additional stress by opposing the situation. I just know I have to travel, so I can either go with the flow and just do it, or I can complain about it and make it more complicated.
J: Traveling and playing long sets… does this ever stress you?
C: I am always happy to stand behind the decks, it’s just the traveling thing… For example, this week we’ve been very lucky with the flights, so we’ve had a lot of sleep. Like, today we only had to leave the hotel at 7.30 pm in Amsterdam. It was perfect, I slept the whole day.
But sometimes it’s hard because you maybe have a flight in the early morning, connections maybe take longer than expected and stuff like this, but again, you just have to deal with it, it’s part of the job. This is actually “the” job – you are paid for traveling.
J: I know you just finished an album, anything you can tell us yet, will it be released soon?
C: Oh yes, I’ve just finished an album. I will know more in about two weeks, when I have had the final talk with the label which will release it (well I think they will release it, haha), because I am not gonna release it myself. I am really excited about that. I haven’t done any music in about 5-6 years really, besides some remixes. I only produced other people in the past… let’s say 8 years. You know… I ran my label and I produced all the albums. It really took time and I didn’t have any time for my own music. So about 2 years ago I changed it all. My complete set up. I realized that I need to make music. I felt that this was missing in my life, so I am really happy about what’s happening right now.
J: And where did you find the inspiration for this album?
C: Basically from traveling and from playing the gigs. When you travel you listen to a lot of music and that’s inspiring. You get ideas. Seriously, it’s actually the traveling, and a little bit – when it comes to club music – also the djing. But I wouldn’t really say this album is for the dance floor, it’s more like a listening trip, something good to listen to when you are stoned hahaha, it’s a really nice ride.
J: Well, you play in Italy quite often, how do you see the techno scene over here?
C: Italy is one of the craziest party countries in the world, next to Holland and Argentina – that is another crazy party place… The energy at the venues is very similar to Italy. Honestly, I am fascinated by Italy since a long time, I love this country. I think it was in the beginning of 2000 that I played here for the first time, in Florence, and it just kept growing ever since. It’s not stopping, the scene is super alive. I think part of the reason is because the music keeps evolving and technology keeps evolving. There are always some new influences, and in general it’s a great way to spend your time – just dancing. I think America is discovering that too now. Techno stays around and it’s not gonna fade away. It´s because you can get lost in it when you just wanna shut off and dance and you don’t wanna listen to too many choruses…
People who do techno music just stay excited about what they do… I think you have to be excited about what you are doing to excite others.
J: ok so Chris, thank you very much for now, it’s been a pleasure talking to you and hope to catch up very soon.
C: Thank you for having me.
photo courtesy by Bolgia Club and Arianna Airoldi