TF Archives

Chris Fortier's Perfect Mistakes

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Saturday, June 4, 2005
"I'm prone to mistakes when I DJ, I try to fudge them as much as possible and hope that nobody really hears them, though I'm sure some people do and I'm sure there might be those who get really upset, but like I said, it doesn't come from the attitude of not caring about trying to do something, it comes from a sincere effort to do something unique. Sometimes it doesn't work. You don't get points for trying, unfortunately."

Disarmingly honest and charmingly candid, progressive house star Chris Fortier remains one of America's most enduringly popular and critically rated DJs, despite his willingness to own up to his human fallibility. Though his errors, as he's quick to point out, are entirely due to his improvisational approach to DJing as opposed to any technical deficiencies or laziness.

"My mistakes come when I run into situations where I'm trying to experiment, when I'm deciding last minute what record to play next and choose the wrong thing or hit the needle, whatever," he points out. "I still make mistakes, but those mistakes definitely aren't out of not caring about it or being nonchalant, they are mistakes that arise because I'm trying to create something unique."

It's an approach he's applied to his new mix CD Balance 7, which paradoxically he "s mixed entirely on computer with every single detail honed and pre-planned to perfection.

"I think you owe it to the people that buy the album to make it perfect. I'm not really into producers that go: "I did it with two turntables and a mixer; and that's why if you hear that mistake, just because I did it live'; that's the easy way," he declares.

"Using a computer and software takes much more time because now you have a chance to look at every detail and it's actually very taxing. You could spend a whole day crafting just one mix, as opposed to sitting down and hitting record and doing the whole mix in two hours."

The result is a superbly crafted double mix compilation loosely centred on the progressive house he remains most closely associated, though one that's oozing with ideas, energy and individuality, in keeping with his personality. Friendly, down to earth and chatty though hyper-driven, hyoeractive and frenetic, he's popping through London on a whistlestop promo trip and meets up with Jonty Skrufff in the Westbourne Studios one muggy afternoon, beneath London's Westway.

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): You've done a fair few compilations in recent years, is it a routine process for you now-

Chris Fortier: "I think it gets more difficult actually, I put more pressure on myself, obviously the goal is to make it better than the last one, try to take it further than I have musically and try to do better. I'm always trying for this perfect thing, vibe, and that's hard to maintain. I try my best to get as close as I can every time."

Skrufff: How important is it that all the tracks are representative of what you're playing out-

Chris Fortier: "The CD is representative, but mix CDs also offer you a chance to use the odd track that's perhaps not a club record because a CD has to translate on many different levels - in your car, at home, parties, after parties, all kinds of different settings, so you're trying to create this thing that could maybe translate to all those different kinds of settings, different ears listening."

Skrufff: When did you start working on it-

Chris Fortier: "Around eight months ago, I started putting records aside for it, which I constantly do, ever since the Bedrock CD. You're looking for core records that are somehow different or unique or would sound good in that sort of mix where you really have time to sit and craft it, as opposed to having to pick records that are going to work on a dance floor level too. So I always have a stack of records that I set aside, and I just keep adding to that stack.

About eight months ago I started seriously going through that stack and then actively adding to it, fo