End of year round up: Chris Massey (Electric Chair)

We quizzed Elektricks mainstay Chris Massey on what music, festivals and artists made his 2015 great.

Becca Frankland

Last updated: 22nd Dec 2015.
Originally published: 21st Dec 2015

Image: Chris Massey

As part of the Elektricks collective, Chris Massey is a DJ and producer with some serious kudos on the disco tip.

Releasing music on the likes of Paper Recordings, Southern Fried and his own Sprechen Recordings, he's also lit up festival dancefloors such as Electric Elephant (where he will return in 2016) and Festival Number 6 - his live mix from the Stone Boat at the latter (below) a permanent fixture on our office stereos this year.

As 2015 draws to a close and we look forward to another year of Adriatic bliss, we had a quick chat to discuss what had rocked his world musically this year.

What's been the stand out gig or club night you've been to this year?

I've not ventured out that much this year to be honest. Must be an age thing. Although I was fortunate to DJ at some really great parties, Homoelectric was as brilliantly bonkers and incredible as always when I played there this year.

I went to Stoke to play at Re:late which is a night run by the kids of Soul Mekanik (Kelvin Andrews and Danny Spencer) which was truly an amazing gathering.

There was a night in Leeds I was at called Twisted Geisha, which was launched at Distrikt and ran by Reeshy who is a real top girl about town over that way. An amazing gathering of people and great venue too.

I also played in Dublin called Ukiyo which really does showcase how bars should be doing it in Manchester. It's a Japanese restaurant by trade then at about 11pm the tables get pushed to the side and it goes off the scale. We're talking people dancing on the bar, table and chairs.

What about your best festival memory?

Festival No.6 provided the usual magic memories but even more so this year as the weather was really great which always helps. Maybe not the best but certainly one of the most surreal festival memories was watching an episode of The Moomins in the Finders Keepers tent at the festival which had a live soundtrack performance by Magpi.

I loved The Moomins as a kid but it was always a bit creepy and sinister, two factors that became ramped up to full max on this occasion in a dark tent with sparse musical offerings. Scared me shitless!

What were your five favourite albums of 2015?

Ruf Dug's Island was really cool (as was to be expected) and perfectly filled that void of needing just all round cool as heck vibes.

Of course the mighty Flash Atkins' album on Paper was all killer no filler and proved plenty of stuff you could DJ with. It was also popular with the likes of Gilles Peterson, Andrew Weatherall, Nemone and a few other well respected jocks.

Jamie XX's In Colour was also a real biggie and showcased such a wide variety of sounds & textures with a bit of everything.

Mbongwana Star's From Kinshasa was a real rude awakening of the good kind. Insane far out afro beats that sounded quite chaotic whilst at the same time being very melodic, kind of like the Fuck Buttons.

John Carpenter's Lost Themes was a pretty amazing thing to drop. Being a huge movie geek and especially for his films this was a dream come true to hear some new productions from a guy I'd grown up admiring. Top marks!

What five tracks released this year have you had on repeat the most?

I'm not sure of the artist name or track name but it's a rework of Gino Latino's 'Welcome' that is dropping at some point on Pete Herbert's Reverso 68 label. I've played it at every night I've DJed at this year as my first track and every time it has erupted.

Umek 'Jingo. First heard Justin Robertson play this at Electric Elephant in July, a huge tribal makeover of Santana's Jingo, which has been worked for the dance floor many times but this version is massive.

Mike Simonetti 'Bossa Nova Civic Club'. I blagged Mike for a copy of this after DJing back to back with him at Electric Elephant and it's been another regular player in my sets. An insane afro breakdown gives it a slight funk edge.

Damon Jee 'Summer No Summer'. It's the debut release on my new label Sprechen which launched in September. This thunders along and ticks all the boxes along the way. A definite nod towards Skat Bros' 'Walk The Night' track, if you dig that then you'll love this.

Dunn & Massey 'Red Room Disco' (Homoelectric at 4am mix). Its not actually out until early 2016 (due to vinyl pressing delays) but this collaboration piece between myself and Will Tramp has been going off. Big camp bassline with an awesome queeny vocal, it's rocked it for both me and Will at Homoelectric, Festival No.6, Electric Elephant, NTS Radio and beyond.

What piece of music news struck you most this year whether good or bad?

The stems debate/announcement has been quite interesting to follow and to see who's on board or against it and why. Not sure where I stand on it but time will tell.

What's been your biggest musical let down of 2015 (this can be anything from club closures to disappointing albums)?

I've got to be honest I've not really felt that let down by anything at all this year. I had a really great year and heard some amazing new music. I've also been really lucky enough to play at some great events, plus there's some other really interesting stuff that's come through to start the new year with.

Who has been your musical hero in 2015 and why?

It's been great to share the office with Justin Unabomber who's been a bit of a guide for me in terms of my productions and remixes. He's been on hand to give critique and suggestions as well as techniques and tricks, all of which have been greatly beneficial.

Andy Meehcam (Emperor Machine) too in a similar kind of way. I kept in contact with him following Electric Elephant 2014 as he was supporting some of my tracks. He's been really good at giving feedback on stuff too. Also, inside exclusive, we've collaborated on a track together which drops on Sprechen early Feb.

Heroes may be a bold statement but they are definitely two guys I've held in high regard this year and owe a lot to.

What musical moment or release are you most looking forward to in 2016?

We have a film in production through Paper Recordings called Norwegian Disco Lights which is about the rise of Norwegian dance music.

It's a retrospective look at all those that have been instrumental in this dance scene and features the likes of Annie, Lindtsrom, Prins Thomas, Idjut Boys, Bjorn Torske and many more. It is getting released next year, I'm really excited about it having been part of the process. Keep your eyes peeled.

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