Chris Liebing is responsible for some of the darkest and heaviest techno around. Find out what the CLR label head told us about his incredible DJ setup, the influence of Depeche Mode, and how he defines success.
Motor feat Martin L. Gore - Man Made Machine (Chris Liebing Remix) [CLR]
LessThan3: Do you usually plan out a set or do you feel out the crowd and go with the flow?
Chris: I remember the very first gig I had in a club, was like 1990 or ’91, I was so nervous that I had a piece of paper where I wrote down the tracks that I would play that night. After the set, I realized that I never even took a look at this piece of paper, I just played my music. So since then I’ve been both too lazy to do that, and I’ve liked to keep improvising because you can never foresee what the circumstances will be like in a club.
LessThan3: You have a very intricate DJ setup; can you tell us more about it?
Chris: I work with two computers that are linked via ethernet cable. One runs Traktor, which is the master clock, and one runs Ableton. I’m using an Allen & Heath Xone:92 with sends and returns, so I have four channels coming out of Traktor. I have Maschine running as a plugin in Ableton, and I control that with another controller. And I have the internal effects of Ableton running, as well as external effects via Traktor. It’s all automatically synced, and some people try to give me sh*t about it, but it has to be for the way I play.
LessThan3: How did you link up with Martin L. Gore of Depeche Mode for his episode of your CLR podcast?
Chris: It all happened through Bryan Black, who is half of Motor. Motor was the support for Depeche Mode on various tours, like in Australia, so he knows the whole band very well. We signed the Motor album, Man Made Machine, and Martin L. Gore was doing lead vocals on some of it, so that’s how the whole thing came together. If you listen to the podcast, I sound so serious and humbled, because I think Martin is one of the best songwriters of our generation.
LessThan3: Any future CLR projects coming up?
Chris: There’s a new Monoloc album coming in November. He’s an artist with a whole different style–very song-based, but still dark techno. Drumcell from Los Angeles has an album coming in February of next year. In between, there’s also a compilation coming up where I’ll actually re-release some old techno classics which I loved to play back in the ’90s; stuff like HMC, DJ Hyperactive, and Afrohead.
LessThan3: What advice do you have for aspiring producers?
Chris: Try to find the music that you feel is right for you, rather than looking around, seeing what’s successful, and trying to recreate that. Create, don’t recreate. Even if it’s sh*t at the beginning and you see others getting “success” for things they recreate, don’t be fooled by that. True success has a whole other definition.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Chris: World In My Eyes by Depeche Mode.
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Chris: Dark, Bass-heavy, Deep.