Chris Fortier delivered one of the more interesting Balance compilations when he dropped compilation number 7 in the series. It was 3 CD’s deep and filled with the sort of moody, tech-filled music which on first listen was bewildering, yet strangely alluring. It featured many artists at the early stage of their careers (Mathew Jonson and Alex Smoke come to mind), and showed that there was more to the progressive house sound which was so prevalent back then: It even received a strong 4.5/5 on Resident Advisor. Indeed, the Fade Recordings owner’s keen ear for a great underground track, and his eagerness to do some decent crate digging were on full display. Then again, Chris Fortier is a true professional who have traveled the world playing at the best venues and events. He has tasted success in the club and and in the studio: Fortier’s remix of Delerium’s “Silence“, was the first and original remix and sold in excess of one million copies worldwide, and he has one full length album to his name, “As Long As The Moment Exists”. In 2005 Chris Fortier compiled his acclaimed Balance compilation – and 11 years later we welcome back the American selector for a very smooth Balance Selections podcast…
Balance Selections Q+A
Chris Fortier, Approved Electronic Device, Concete
Labels affiliated with:
Fade, Bedrock, Selador, bodytalk
My last 3 releases:
What music did you listen too as a child?
We listened to a lot of funk and soul as I remember. My parents are from Detroit, so they grew up themselves with a deep and varied musical palette. And that easily was ingrained into my brother and sister and me. We always had music on and in the car, my Dad was more on the AM side of the dial with incredible stations and shows that were not mainstream. My older sister, as she got older, she had a lot of psychedelic rock stuff so that brought in spaced out stuff like Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney & Wings and others. I had a lot of varied inspirations from room to room in my house which gave me freedom to discover music and be adventurous with it as well.
When was the first time that you realized that you liked electronic music?
Probably when I was 15 or 16 I think. Electronic or House music was in it’s infancy and we had a great college radio station in my town that was really cutting edge. They had a lot specialty shows that played incredible cutting edge alternative sounds. This is the 80s by the way. So there was a mix of New Wave bands that were also peppered in new Industrial sounds like Front 242, Skinny Puppy and others. And with that, the first sounds of House music from Chicago and also New Beat from Europe. It was only a little bit, but it was enough. When I turned 18, and was able to get into clubs, my girlfriend dragged me out. That started the eventual infatuation. We would go and they would play a few House records mixed into the alternative stuff. But then we heard about a club in Orlando, an hour away, that played House all night.
When was the first time you saw a DJ in a club?
We were going to this all night club for probably a year before I learned or realized there was a DJ. My first experiences were just about the entire experience of being out with friends, making new friends and dancing all night. But eventually, I started to hear the music with more detail and learned there was a person controlling it.
Which producers/artists/acts inspire you?
I have been at this along time, so been fortunate to experience so many ebbs and flows with this music. But there have been a few from the start that still do it for me. Early and lasting influences from David Morales. His Red Zone mixes were the prototype of future deep sounds that still inspire me today. I am oftern pulling out his old remixes when I want to get the juices going. And The KLF were also massive influences. I loved their tripped out sound. Also Sasha for sure as a producer early on. Francois K. as well for classic producer. In the modern age of producers, I am into so many and it changes often, but people like Luke Hess, Eduardo De La Calle, John Talabot, Daniel Avery, Kevin Yost and many, many more.
What was the last album that you downloaded/bought?
Majical Clouds “Wait & See”
What is your current production and DJ set up like?
For DJ gigs, I keep it simple. Just 2 to 3 CDJ2000s and mixer, which is usually Allen & Heath or Pioner. I play from USB drives now. I played vinyl into 2009, but with various reasons, shifting to CDs and then to USB was a necessity. I don’t use a laptop, but I don’t have any issues with anyone that does. I don’t really care what others use as long as what comes out of the speakers is good. I got into DJing because I was in love with the music and the art of mixing and creating something new. So that is still as important to me and I still approach sets with that and full concentration on mixing and using the power of the mix to have that angle of intensity to the music as well. In the studio, I have a mix of hardware and software. I kind of bounce back and forth between the two. Go in spells where music is mostly hardware and little software synths. And then go on other spells where I am all soft synths and don’t even turn the keyboards on.
What releases do you have on the horizon?
I have been working on a new artist album the last 2 years. The first album I did came out on the Balance Series’ first label EQ, then we eventually re-released it on Fade. This new one is taking much longer then I thought, but it is slowly taking some shape. So that is in motion. I also have some collabs in the works. One with John Debo as Conecte. Another collab with Andromo and another friend Christian Burstein. I have also been putting out some new music under new alias Approved Electronic Device which has caught some nice attention so far. More to come from that with remixes forthcoming from MANIK and Brett Johnson.
Where can we hear you perform?
I am on the road most weekends. I don’t have a current residency, but that is actually something I am working on, so will see if can get it together in the coming months?
Tell us more about the podcast you made for Balance?
I tried to put a mix together that would hopefully not just be tracks that are hot for the moment or ones that are so big that the mix might show it’s age in a few years or if tracks were to become popular that listeners might get bored of hearing the mix in months from now or years from now. So I tried to use tracks that are personal favs and big for me, but ones that I think work great together and hopefully not overplayed. I also incorporated a few of my own productions too. The goal to try to create something that people want to hit play again as soon as it has ended.
The top track in my DJ wallet currently is:
I have a new track I have done with John Debo under our Conecte name. It’s called “Worn Soul” and it is one of my favorite tracks I have made and one that has been getting great reaction. It is forthcoming.
If I could recommend only one of my tracks for you to listen to it would be:
We recently did remixes of the first track I ever made with then partner Neil Kolo as Fade. I remixed it for the 20th year anniversary last year for my label, Fade Records. Fade (Kolo/Fortier) – For All The People (Chris Fortier Remixes).
If I could recommend only one track for you to listen to it would be:
Anything new from Four Tet who I think is on an amazing form the last couple years, one I love is called “Mothers”.
My favourite Balance compilation is:
Of course mine right? But beyond mine, I think the one that was pretty incredible is Joris Voorn.
The last movie I watched that I really liked:
Sausage Party had me laughing so hard I was crying.
My favourite TV show:
I am into Ray Donovan & The Knick
If I could choose anyone to compile a Balance comp it would be:
1. Fred P – Soining High [Rawax] 2. Eduardo De La Calle – The Stand ft. Joolz [Take Away] 3. Prophetss – Enigma (Another Self 16 Riddler Mix) [Fade Records] 4. Conecte – Eighty Eight [Hookah] 5. Conecte – Old Laces [Hookah] 6. Paolo Rocco – Journey In Your Mind [Home Invasion] 7. Andromo & Chris Fortier – The Why Reasons (Second Mix) [unsigned] 8. Chris Fortier – Sleight of Hand [unsigned] 9. Lost Scripts – AFK [Hivern Disc] 10. The Soul Brothers – Maharani (Kimball & Rudiment Remix) [Talavera] 11. Eddie Fowlkes – Oriane [Detroit Wax] 12. The Orb – Huge Ever Growing…. (Marco Sapiens Edit) [W/L]