The melancholy that tinges featured vocalist, Jem Cooke‘s contribution on the original remains intact on CamelPhat’s alternate version of the titillating collaboration. The pace of “Breathe” lends a sense of urgency to Cooke’s pleading of the track’s lyrical hook, which CamelPhat temper in their latest mix. The comparatively slow, honeyed bpm of CamelPhat’s re-imagination of “Breathe” augments the haunting, ethereal quality of Cooke’s voice, as she languidly verbalizes the song’s lyrical narrative.
The downtempo orientation of CamelPhat’s “Just Chill Mix” foregrounds Cooke’s vocals, to focalize their soothing tone, without sacrificing any of the potency. An unimposing beat progression undergirds the number, to instill the namesake “chill” of the tune’s title.
Few moments are more sacred than the reprieve Saturday night provides from the daily grind of school and work. Its importance is meant to be emphasized, and thus, a feature dedicated to “doing the night right” was born. Saturday Night Sessions are set around energizing mixes meant to get the party started. New or old, each episode has one cornerstone thing in similarity: they serve as the perfect backdrop for the weekend pregame.
Becoming a resident DJ is the goal for many looking to achieve a fruitful and lasting career in the insanity that is the music industry. While locations like Vegas and Ibiza are the known industry hotspots, and the goal for many looking to cement their brand as a world renowned performer, high profile residencies also exist in other forms, which DJ and Producer EJ knows all too well. EJ is currently the resident DJ for Formula E, the global electric car-racing league that makes event stops throughout the world.
Previously, EJ was a Ministry of Sound veteran, but with his Formula E residency, he has turned ‘anonymous’ and chooses to perform in a mask not dissimilar to the racing helmets of those competing around him. His anonymity is a new dynamic for the artist, who has spent his entire career performing with no disguise.
EJ speaks about reinventing himself as an anonymous producer, stating, “originally, I wanted to create a DJ persona that could grow with the Formula E brand when I first started working with them, and bring a new audience to the championship through my music and performances.” He continues, “It was a bit of fun to be anonymous. I have worked in the scene for quite some time with Ministry of Sound so wanted a bit of a fresh look.”
What might be one of the most interesting things about his Formula E residency is how he performs, which is varied and non-traditional compared to the club and festival circuit many electronic producers perform within.
EJ mentions, “I play to the race itself when the cars are on track, creating the atmosphere to the grand stand spectators.” He continues, “Then there is the gaming zone which is pretty cool, creating the music backdrop to fans and the drivers racing each other on the computer game. Finally, there are my main stage performances. It all depends what country you are playing in with what style you go with.”
While the Formula E residency has consumed a substantial amount of the DJ’s time, this has not stopped him from pursuing his DJ and production career in the more traditional sense. When discussing what his plans are for the new year, EJ comments, “It’s fantastic playing at Formula E, but I want to be on the festival stages such as Tomorrowland and Ultra. Headlining one of them would be fucking unreal! Also would love to get a number one.”
EJ also plans to release a full length album before the end of the year, which certainly bolsters his plan to reach number one. His Saturday Night Session proves him more than worthy for the mainstage with its collection of hit tracks like Cristoph and CamelPhat‘s “Breathe” and his own originals. As EJ puts it, the mix is certain to get listeners ready for “A good old rave up!” and it’s the perfect hour to get a good night going.
Photo Credit: LAT Images
_________________________________________________________________________ Why do you choose to produce/perform masked and anonymously?
Originally, I wanted to create a DJ persona that could grow with the Formula E brand when I first started working with them, and bring a new audience to the championship through my music and performances. It was a bit of fun to be anonymous. I have worked in the scene for quite some time with Ministry of Sound so wanted a bit of a fresh look. It’s not so anonymous now as I have been performing without the helmet on a few occasions and have also been in the press without it. The secret is out!
Can you tell us more information like, where are you from?What got you into music production and what inspired you to start producing trance music specifically?
I’m from London and still live here, but travel quite a lot. I love London. It will always be my home. I worked for Ministry of Sound for 10 years before working with Formula E, and have got to play at some incredible venues around the world. Before that though, I worked in Ibiza. It was Ibiza that really got me into music and DJing, however before living there, I was massively into the original trance scene. Although I have moved around genres through my career I have always still loved the energy of trance. Strictly though, I am not just trance. I play a lot of progressive house and even though my most recent productions have all be labelled trance, they kind of sit in the middle a little. I like to be able to move around between the genres. You will see a lot more of my progressive side in 2019.
You’re the resident DJ for Formula E, which is an unconventional yet very high profile gig. What is it like performing in that environment versus performing in a club environment? Do you have a preference?
Yeah of course it is very different. I have a few roles at Formula E when it comes to performances. I play to the race itself when the cars are on track, creating the atmosphere to the grand stand spectators. Then there is the gaming zone which is pretty cool, creating the music backdrop to fans and the drivers racing each other on the computer game. Finally, there are my main stage performances. It all depends what country you are playing in with what style you go with. Some are more commercial than others. With all of this you have to remember that essentially people are there for the racing not just the music, however I just played in Santiago and the crowd was awesome, actually coming to see me rather than just the racing. Clubs and festivals for now will always have the more dance music crowd, but it looks like this could be changing. I do love a fucking good club though!
Are you a fan of a particular Formula E team or driver?
Am I allowed to be biased? I’m always asked to be neutral, but I get along really well with Sam Bird from Virgin, Mitch Evans from Jaguar, and Antonio Felix da Costa from BMW. They are all good lads, and the teams are pretty cool. Sam’s at the top of the table at the moment though so let’s go with him!
Musically, what are some goals you currently have for yourself?
I really want to showcase my style of music and get it out there to the masses. It’s fantastic playing at Formula E, but I want to be on the festival stages such as Tomorrowland and Ultra. Headlining one of them would be fucking unreal! Also would love to get a number one. All my last releases have gone top 20 on the Beatport Trance chart, but wouldn’t it be cool if music swung back round again, and my music was in the main charts. That would be wicked! Some collabs with some sick singers would be great as well.
What can we expect from you in the new year?
Lots more music. I have a compilation out on 8th February called Formula E – The Soundtrack which is selection of tracks that you would expect to hear me play at a Formula E race. We have a Garuda night at Ministry of Sound in London on 1st March where I’ll be playing alongside Gareth Emery, Ashley Wallbridge, Kolonie and Nash. I have an artist album out some time before the end of the year, depending when its finished as I am also on tour with Formula E until July heading all over the globe to some fantastic cities.
What kind of a Saturday Night is your mix getting us ready for?
A good old rave up!
Last Night On Earth welcomes the return of Cristoph to its confines with a brand new three-tracker titled The Duel. Since his debut EP on the label — Eleven, in 2017 — the British talent has bolstered a heavy tour schedule with releases on Pryda Presents, Selador, and Bedrock. It’s clear by the labels who’ve signed this blossoming act that he is a clear power player underground, despite a relatively short tenure.
The Duel hits high gear with its middle track, “Revolver.” Much like the weapon it’s named after, the production fires shots of pounding bass into a lush, arpy landscape filled with cunning melodies that give off a foreboding tone. A brief respite is offered in the breakdown, but Cristoph makes it clear he’s out for murder by the time all elements are forged into “Revolver’s” climax. Listen with caution…
Pre-order a copy of ‘The Duel,’ due on August 24, here
Selador has made it past the milestone half-decade line. The label — founded by progressive stalwarts Dave Seaman and Steve Parry — has become one of the most formidable in its arena, overseeing a consistent slew of caliber releases that have been rinsed far and wide throughout the underground circuit.
To mark the momentous occasion, the label has recruited twelve of its close friends and colleagues to fashion celebratory tracks to be released in a series of three EPs. Eric Prydz protégé Cristoph joins forces with the venerable John Graham (Quivver) to contribute to the first wave of releases, and what they’ve come up with is a forceful number suited for the afterhours which they call, “In Name Only.”
Their styles are both prominent in the finished product. Its chunky, techy base is doused in crisp, synths that slide downward into hints of classic vocals. These elements make for a dramatic, tense breakdown which detonates into a rocking conclusion. Once again, we find ourselves in awe at just how big a role good arrangement and mastering can play in a production.
Any fan of modern progressive has likely heard the name ‘Cristoph.’ The British producer has been amidst an avalanche of his success since the start of his career, breaking through officially in 2016 with a release on Hot Since 82‘s Knee Deep In Sound.
Such accolades come with great reason; Cristoph’s outputs are extremely consistent in quality and technique. Within his own sonic tropes, he skillfully navigates the full spectrum of emotion — from dark, brooding, tech-lace progressive, to more euphoric cuts. His sets are equally class, traversing multiple pathways to create an aural adventure no matter the length.
Cristoph will be debuting at San Diego’s CRSSD Fest on Saturday, March 3, where he is set to fill the City Steps speakers with his delectable brand of progressive. To give a deeper taste on what’s in store, he generously provided Dancing Astronaut with an exclusive mix to celebrate.
Despite utter domination on the Beatport charts — currently in the fifth slot on the progressive house list — Cristoph’s Pryda Presents’ release “EPOCH” has yet to see out its properly-widespread release — until now.
“EPOCH’’s contagious repetition is in the same sonic vein as Cristoph’s beloved tracks like “Alone,” “Reachin,” and “FEEL,” but equally inches beyond his aforementioned work.
An epoch is defined as “a period of time in history or a person’s life, typically one marked by notable events or particular characteristics,” and Cristoph’s new track dually serve as a portending composition, one that hints at an illuminated future on the horizon for one of the modern progressive house’s most assiduous czars.
2017 has landed Sander van Dijck – more widely known as the Star Wars-alluding San Holo – in the throes of prosperity. This year alone, the Dutch artist embarked on an international tour amongst sold out crowds, continued to experiment both sonically and with his live aesthetics, and worked to facilitate the success of his budding label, bitbird.
After making his rounds through Asia and Australia, San Holo spent the latter half of the year on his extensive, North American Gouldian Finch 2 Tour, accompanied by emerging Aussie, Just A Gent and bitbird buds, DROELOE, whom van Dijck has taken under his wing on the label. The two parties also collaborated this year on bouncy chill-trap track “Lines Of The Broken.”
Although his breakthrough single “Light” was released at the tail-end of 2016, the effervescent song remained a smash-hit through the following summer, racking up more than 86 million streams on Spotify. The genre-resistant track paved the way for a steady stream of fresh, avant-garde releases from van Dijck—including his radiant “I Still See Your Face,” which unprecedentedly incorporates his own vocals, along with the melodically tender, serenely-lyricized “One Thing.”
Amid his ample touring and studio time, this year San Holo also saw his label launch its own radio series, as well as release a compilation to accompany the Gouldian Finch 2 Tour, with “I Still See Your Face” as the lead track. The compilation also features bitbird favorites Taska Black, Eastghost, and DROELOE, all of whom corroborate van Dijck’s steadfast assertions that genre is nothing more than an outdated pretense.
Hayden Capuozzo had a sudden revelation towards the end of an aspiring professional hockey career. What was once his biggest inspiration for games, producing electronic music, was now his passion that lead him to move out to LA to learn full-time. After just nine months of honing in on his skills, he submitted a mix and was later chosen as the winner of Insomniac’s “Discovery Project” challenge, giving the Houston native a chance to perform at Escape From Wonderland Festival in 2012. This marked his first ever DJ gig and major career breakthrough.
Since then, KAYZO has climbed the ranks to become one of the most diverse producers in the game, showing off a variety of different production styles. Over the past year, he’s dabbled in trap, dubstep, happy hardcore and a bit of psytrance on his track “Holy,” a collaboration with the powerhouse duo Slander. He even delved into some melodic house on his Monstercat release “Over The Edge” with upcoming producer Gammer.
In addition to his 2017 discography, KAYZO has seen support from A-list producers like Diplo, with a guest mix for BBC Radio 1’s Diplo & Friends, and participated in the most notable live set from Holy Ship! 2017 in going b2b with Herobust, Jauz, Ookay, Getter and Slushii.
KAYZO’s highlight for 2017 was headlining Bassrush’s Doghouse Takeover, where he sold out the Hollywood Palladium in 24 hours and proceeded to put on a stellar performance. Capuozzo decided to spice up his second annual appearance at the Takeover and surprised attendees with guest appearances by Sum 41 and DJ Snake.
Although vague on the details, Kayzo should have a lot in store for fans come 2018, as he is planning a debut solo bus tour to kick off the New Year.
Since his plunge into life as a DJ-producer at the ripe age of 18, Cj Costigan, better known as Cristoph, has been working to perfect his unique brands of progressive deep/tech house and making his ascent in the Newcastle nightlife arena. His first momentous release came in 2016, when he was the first artist to be featured on Hot Since 82’s Knee Deep In Sound 8-Track album series
In 2017, the blossoming young artist signed with both John Digweed’s illustrious Bedrock imprint, as well as iconic, grammy-nominated DJ-producer Sasha’s Last Night On Earth — both of which housed prominent releases this year from the flourishing Cristoph.
Soon after, none other than Sweden’s own Eric Prydz inaugurated Cristoph’s bouncy progressive track “Feel” as the first official release on his new label Pryda Presents. The track was initially unveiled on Prydz’s heatedly-anticipated resurgence of EPIC Radio’s Beats 1 tenure. Cristoph returned to Pryda Presents with jolting, minimal progressive track “EPOCH.” Prydz and Cristoph have a growing history after teaming up for several of Prydz’s tour dates in the US this year, as well as joining forces for EPIC 5.0 and various Ibiza slots over the summer.
With support from such a vast, esteemed collectives of sound, Cristoph is in impeccable position for massive expansion in 2018.
Ekali‘s rise to stardom over the past three years has been a wildly rapid ascent. The Canadian producer originally began to gain traction in 2014 when he was the only Canadian applicant to be ushered into Red Bull Music Academy Tokyo in November 2014. The Vancouver producer and DJ catapulted himself even further in 2015 when Drake sampled his song “Unfaith” on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late for tracks “Preach” and “Wednesday Night Interlude.” According to Ekali, he wasn’t even sure how they found the tracks in the first place.
Ekali’s unique modus operandi when it comes to production enables him to take structural risks on his tracks, with carbonated synths and thickly layered bass he flips the script on contemporary trap music by injecting his own ethereal sonic touch. A versatile producer, Ekali creates tracks that are overflowing with eastern influenced strings (“Unfaith”), remixes that take a more ominous approach like his collaborative remix Jack Ü’s “Mind” with Gravez, or truculent future bass festival anthems like the recently released “Babylon” with Denzel Curry.
Ekali is wrapping up his North American tour with the last date planned for New Years Eve in Asheville, North Carolina at the U.S Cellular Center—for reference, the venue holds more than 7,000 patrons, not bad for a breakout artist. Ekali is certain to be one of the biggest names in electronic moving forward, and it would come as a shock if he wasn’t slated to perform at more than a few festivals this summer.
Christian Smith, otherwise known as Crankdat, may not be old enough to drink, but in 2017, he caught the attention of clubbers and festival attendees with his epic sets and dynamic releases. The Ohio native gained a following thanks to his infectious remixes, and his popularity was on the rise with his breakout single alongside Lookas, “Game Over,” in 2016. 2017 certainly served as the turning point in the young producer’s career as he not only earned his first festival slot, but he also went from opening shows to headlining his own tour through Asia and North America.
While on his Gear Up Tour, Crankdat performed at iconic dance music venues such as Omnia in San Diego, Webster Hall in New York, and Hakkasan in Las Vegas. After completing his first-ever festival performance at Numbers Fest in April, he landed on lineups of major festivals including Electric Zoo, Breakaway Music Festival, and Global Dance Festival as well.
In addition to booking major shows, Smith released some heavy-hitting collaborations including a track with Jauz, “I Hold Still” featuring Slushii and a collaboration with T-Pain called “In the Air.” His solo release “Dollar” amassed nearly a million streams on Spotify alone, and his remix of Gryffin and Illenium’s “Feel Good” featuring Daya hit an incredible 1.5 million streams, making it his most streamed release of 2017 on Spotify. As Crankdat continues to tour and release new music, we predict that 2018 will be the year that solidifies Crankdat as an industry mainstay versus a new force on the scene.
Any long time dance music fan will fondly remember the ascension of veteran artists like Porter Robinson, Zedd, Madeon, and more with their ‘complextro’ sonic identities that balanced elaborate melodies with gritty, aggressive bass and driving percussion. As the various sub-genres have continued to expand, only a select few producers have successfully resurrected this combination of elements with a modern twist. However, when the initially-anonymous k?d hopped onto the scene, it appeared complextro might be resurrected into a new light.
Originally emerging on SoundCloud and Hype Machine in 2016 with major remixes of Manila Killa, Daft Punk, Illenium, and more, k?d — real name Patrick Cybulski — had an immediately distinctive style, blending intricate melodic synth arrangements in a grandiose fashion attached to anthemic percussion.
Towards the end of 2016, the 20-year-old Miami native took his first real moment to flex his production chops and offer a darker, heavier side to his production capacities with his remix of Huntar’s “4AM.” The remix resembled the crashing percussion and growling synths that bass favorite REZZ pioneered, and fans planted the idea on Twitter for the two to join forces on a collaboration. Lo and behold, k?d and REZZ teamed up at the top of 2017 with their debut collaboration, “Fourth Impact.” A combination of extraterrestrial melodies atop a lurching bass line, “Fourth Impact” marked a major transition for k?d and played in instrumental role in setting up his biggest year yet.
To counterbalance the bass-heavy release, k?d turned to Swedish imprint PRMD — notable alumni include CAZZETTE, Syn Cole, Hotel Garuda — for his next string of original releases . The first single, “Lose Myself” featuring Phil Good, leaned in a more commercial direction of dance music yet still kept his sonic fingerprint and sound design present. Simultaneously, k?d drew a major co-sign from dance titans The Chainsmokers as he took over their Nice Hair Radio for its 32nd episode and then supported the duo on their stadium tour across North America.
For the back end of 2017, k?d released collaborations with fellow rising stars Medasin and Varien, continued his string of releases on PRMD with “Distance” alongside vocalist Blair, before finishing the year in a massive way with an official remix of The Chainsmokers‘ “Young.”
With an incredible year on the music front, its also important to note k?d’s meteoric development on the touring front with major festival appearances at EDC Las Vegas, Electric Zoo, and Nocturnal Wonderland as well as sold out headline shows at Exchange in LA and 1015 Folsom in San Francisco. The enigmatic young producer also supported the likes of Tiesto, REZZ, Jauz, and more on their headlining North America tours.
In terms of what we fans can expect from the Miami prodigy in 2018: he hasn’t alluded to much other than new music, bigger shows, and continuing his upward trajectory at full force. For fans of Porter Robinson, REZZ, Illenium, Adventure Club, or any sound in between, be sure to jump on the k?d train sooner rather than later.
k?d is Dancing Astronaut’s Breakout Artist of 2017.
Dancing Astronaut’s 2018 Draft Class
Every year, a new class of artists make their way into the spotlight. With a number of young, talented acts emerging, we’ve decided to pick a select group who we believe are destined for breakout years in 2018. Behold, Dancing Astronaut‘s Draft Class of 2018.
1. Petit Biscuit In the space of chill electronica, 18-year-old producer Petit Biscuiit has become a force-to-be-reckoned-with after his original “Sunset Lover” went viral back in 2015. In 2017, the French wunderkind broke out the one-hit-wonder category with his debut album, Presence, that received rave reviews upon its release and will surely set him up for another massive year.
2. DROELOE San Holo proteges, DROELOE, truly defined their sonic identity and presence in the future bass world with groundbreaking releases on Monstercat, Lowly Palace, and Holo’s bitbird imprint. With a prime slot at SnowGlobe Fetsival to kick off 2018, this Dutch duo should certainly be on your radar for acts to step into the spotlight in 2018.
3. Gammer UK trailblazer, Gammer, put hardcore on the map this year with a number of versatile releases, from originals and collaborations to powerhouse remixes of Marshmello & Slander. With his latest EP, THE DROP, out now via Monstercat, the Northampton native also capped off the year with a massive Diplo & Friends Mix and will surely continue to push the hardcore movement even further in 2018.
4. FISHER Predominantly known for his work as one half of Australian tech house duo, Cut Snake, FISHER launched his own solo project via Dirtybird and saw an incredible response upon his first release, “Ya Kidding.” With his electric personality and thumping singles, FISHER is sure to continue bringing the party in 2018 and be one of Dirtybird’s most promising rising talents.
5. WAVEDASH The next generation of up and coming bass music producers can’t be discussed without WAVEDASH included in the forefront of the conversation. The Austin, Texas trio are a classic come up story who started out as playground pals who were all gaga for Skrillex. Now, just barely out of high school, Luke, Gavin, and Michael are actualizing their dance music dreams behind a growing catalog of blistering remixed beats and punishing original products. With their idols quickly becoming their peers, WAVEDASH are positioned for a major moment, and who knows where it’ll take them, deservedly landing them a spot in 2018’s draft class.
6. Luttrell Among Anjunadeep’s lineup of deep house young guns, Luttrell is becoming the frontrunner as he carves out his own niche in the deep house and electronica space. The producer’s tunes are already gaining support from Pete Tong and Annie Mac. His Generate EP in the summer served as a milestone for the San Francisco producer’s sonic development, and Anjuna fans can certainly expect more from the rising talent as he follows in the footsteps of label success stories like Lane 8 and Yotto.
7. Sullivan King Bass music is having a surge in popularity, but Sullivan King has taken the wheel at bridging the gap between bass music and its predecessor, metal. Whether it be his revered set at Lost Lands, his Monstercat-backed EP with Dirtyphonics, or even his recent collaboration with Slander, Sullivan King proved bass and metal will coexist in the future and he will be the one to prove it in 2018.
8. um.. Enigmatic producer duo um.. are primed for a breakout moment in 2018. The Los Angeles-based beat makers’ commitment to their spontaneous brand of unconventionally strange electronic music plants them firmly in line for the recognition they deserve. The pair provide a nuanced sound that playfully teeters a line between avant garde and offbeat indifference, and they’ve already caught the attention of fellow experimental sound designers like Skrillex, Josh Pan, and others. Watch for Ben Bruce and Dylan Gold next year; fans are ready for something different, and um.. is primed to shake things up.
9. Oshi A few short years into his career, up and comer Joshua Brennan is defined by his enormous wealth of potential that seems to be more finely tuned by the day. The London-bred teenager, better known as Oshi, is growing into an international DJ sensation as he continues to carve out some of the most intriguing and infectious electronic productions out there right now. Rumored collaborations with the likes of Baauer and Skrillex sit under the hood, as Oshi positions himself at the head of next year’s pack. Of all the bright production talent emanating out of the UK, Oshi is ready to up the ante, and 2018 is likely to bring a ton of new music from him our way.
It seems strange to consider that, in the overall scheme of progressive house, Cristoph is a relatively recent arrival. The Newcastle native has been all but ubiquitous in the scene over the past two years, and his well-honed arrangements indicate the experience of a seasoned veteran producer. Stunningly, however, less than four years have passed since Christopher (CJ) Costigan released his debut record, The Harry K EP, near the end of 2013.
Costigan’s evolution in the years since is apparent through the esteemed labels which have invited him to contribute EPs. His stylistic trajectory is apparent from his deeper releases for Tube & Berger’s Kittball Records in 2014 and 2015 to his widely-celebrated debut on the coveted 8-Track series for Hot Since 82’s Knee Deep in Sound last year.
After beginning 2017 in the techno realm with The Sign EP on Coyu’s Suara imprint, Cristoph has been welcomed into the pantheon of progressive house’s most venerated legends. The iconic pair of Sasha and John Digweed have both recognized the British producer’s talents: in the past year, he’s released EPs on Last Night On Earth and Bedrock, the latter in conjunction with fellow burgeoning talent Jeremy Olander.
Yet, none of Cristoph’s achievements in the progressive house realm have solidified his reputation as momentously as his alignment with Eric Prydz. One of electronic music’s most revered figures, the Swedish juggernaut is discerning with who he deems worthy of his mentorship. And, if the events of the past several months are any indication, Prydz has proudly taken CJ Costigan under his wing.
2017 has thus far proven to be yet another banner year for Prydz, and Cristoph has been present for almost every significant moment along the way. When the progressive hero debuted his unprecedented, holograph-laden EPIC 5.0, he selected Cristoph as his opener (it’s worth noting that, as of this writing, there has yet to be a second performance of this show, so no other DJs have taken this mantle). Throughout the summer, Cristoph performed on the main stage ahead of the most critical nights of Eric’s Hï Ibiza residency, including the closing and opening parties and both of its deadmau5 b2b sets.
Most notably, Eric Prydz chose Cristoph to provide the first release on his newly-minted Pryda Presents imprint. Launching the anticipated brand in June, the British artist’s Balearic-primed “Feel” preceded the label’s yet-unreleased sophomore single, “Trippleton,” composed by Prydz under his Tonja Holma alias. Once again, Costigan laid the groundwork for the Swedish artist in a pivotal moment.
Now, Cristoph has received yet another honor in this vein by becoming the first-ever artist to take over Prydz’s EPIC Radio series with his own mix.
Detailing each of Cristoph’s accomplishments of the past year can become exhaustive — even just those which are related to his revered Swedish ally. However, for those who devotedly follow progressive house in its truest form, his story is an important one to watch. Though CJ Costigan’s success in the realm has skyrocketed in an incredibly short timeframe, he’s anything but a flash in the pan.
Cristoph is being groomed by the genre’s most well-respected veterans with an unprecedented ardor. The artist’s acceptance among the progressive pantheon comes from skills that he’s demonstrated on his own, and across less than half a decade. With the support and mentorship of artists like Eric Prydz, Sasha, and John Digweed, Cristoph isn’t just primed to become a superstar. Rather, wheels are being set in motion for CJ Costigan to bring progressive house to new, unforeseen heights.
Read our interview with Cristoph below.
Earning the inaugural release on a new Eric Prydz imprint as well as the opening slot for his EPIC 5.0 debut is no small feat. Can you tell us the story of how you came to meet Eric?
We first met at the second charity show which Eric had put on for James Lillo at Sound Nightclub in LA. I was originally meant to have been playing on the Monday at same club a week before those two shows but sadly the gig was cancelled whilst I was flying across due to reasons out of my control. With it being my first ever time touring the U.S I was keen to play as many shows as I could to try and get my name out there to as many people as possible. So when the opportunity arose to support Eric I jumped at the chance as I’m a huge fan of his. I had to cancel flights, pay for new ones, pay for accommodation etc but still I looked at it as a great chance to strike up some sort of relationship – an investment in my career kind of thing. A week or so before that gig he had played my track ‘Catsy’ on his EPIC Radio show son I had already pre-planned to play that record just before Eric was about to start to help initatiate a conversation. Luckily enough it did. He told me how much he loved the track and after I spoke to his team about attending EPIC 5.0 with them and maybe even playing it. Things just went from there really, word got back to me that enjoyed my set and was a fan of my music and it all started to progress onwards.
Opening for Prydz before he debuts something as momentous as EPIC 5.0 has to be a humbling – and perhaps nerve-wracking – experience. How do you go about planning a show that will set the stage for one of the world’s biggest performances?
It was incredibly nerve-wracking yeah. I was lucky enough to have some of my close friends/family there and mine and Eric’s team to help settle the nerves and install some confidence before I played. Self confidence is something I lack in at times so it’s always good to have people close to me around to help. Planning wise I had an idea of some of the stuff I wanted to play and a few new tracks I had finished that I wanted to test out. Other than that I tend not to plan an exact set or anything before a gig. I always think you need to be ready to change incase something doesn’t work out in your original plan so I try to be as open minded as possible and try and gauge what will work with what crowd and at what time etc.
Outside of Prydz, you’ve been featured by two of progressive’s biggest icons in the past year, with releases on Sasha and John Digweed’s imprints. As you become an influential figure in the scene in your own right, what do you see as the future for progressive house and techno? Curious to hear your thoughts on both its stylistic development and potential for increased appeal.
It’s been an absolute honour to release on those 3 labels and a very surreal feeling. Progressive house is the genre I really fell in love with so it’s great to see it coming back to the forefront of the scene. Techno is very strong at the moment too, I think more so than progressive house and it has been for a while. What I am trying to do, both with my productions and also my dj sets is merge them together – basically to take the listener(s) on a journey. I believe they will both continue to grow. The tech house stuff is still the leading market but for me it’s gone stale. A lot of the productions are very similar which could be a sign of complacency but for me it gets too boring listening to the same thing over and over. That’s why I believe the melodic, driving stuff will grow and grab people’s attention more and more. I would love to be considered part of the ‘new breed’ or even a pioneer of the progressive and techno scene that’s why in my productions I try to merge different elements. I’m always looking to improve so will be sure to think outside the box in anyway I can in future tracks I make. All in all though I’m just happy to see people making great music and enjoy themselves whilst doing so.
Do you have any future projects planned with Prydz, Sasha or Digweed?
Release wise I think a lot of my new stuff will be on Pryda Presents. Gig wise I still have 3 shows at Hi, Ibiza with Eric and there’s other shows alongside Sasha being spoken about too which will be in and around Europe.
What other big projects do you have in the pipeline?
We are in the middle of finalising a tour of North America towards the end of the year with Eric and a fair few other shows with him. As I mentioned there’s more originals forthcoming on Pryda Presents, aswell as a remix of one the Pryda back catalogue.
Who do you think are some of the most underrated talents in progressive and techno currently?
I’m really enjoying stuff from Kastis Torrau, Dmitry Molosh and Cid Inc in amongst others at the moment.
If BBC tapped you for a Cristoph Essential Mix today, what would you choose as your opening track?
Oh that’s a difficult one. In all honesty I would probably write an opening myself. However, if I had to pick a track right now I would choose ‘Fernando Ferreyra – Learning To (Gebio & Guido Elordi Remix)’ or maybe the Ripperton remix of Beanfield – Tides
Few names are currently burgeoning as resoundingly in the progressive realm as Cristoph. In the past year alone, the Newcastle producer has proven his popularity with some of the genre’s most influential tastemakers. In May, Cristoph teamed up with Jeremy Olander to provide a stunning two-track EP for John Digweed’s Bedrock imprint, only a month after debuting on Sasha’s Last Night on Earth label with his single, “Eleven.”
However, perhaps the most fateful eye which the producer has caught is that of Eric Prydz. In 2017, the legendary Swedish artist has become one of Cristoph’s most ardent supporters. In addition to tapping the rising UK star for opening slots at his EPIC 5.0 premiere and his ongoing Hï Ibiza Residency, Prydz has granted Cristoph the honor of providing the debut release for his new Pryda Presents imprint.
“Feel” will be a recognizable song for Prydz’s devout followers, having earned spots in his DJ sets and EPIC Radio mix series. Featuring vocals from Jem Cooke, Cristoph’s newest single is a mesmerizing progressive output which is primed for near-ubiquity in the coming months.
This Saturday, May 27, Eric Prydz will debut his heralded EPIC 5.0 live performance, a development which his legions of devotees have fervently awaited since its announcement in November 2016. This past weekend, the Swedish savant honored the forthcoming event with the reprise of his EPIC Radio mix series for Beats 1. Throughout the progressive-leaning episode, Prydz premiered several new tracks – including the first on-air play of the Pryda remix for his Cirez D classic, “On Off.” Among the additional new music debuted on the program was “Feel,” from Jeremy Olander protégé Cristoph.
Today, May 24, Eric Prydz has revealed that the progressive prodigy’s track will become the first release on his new imprint, “Pryda Presents.” Though the announcement does not stipulate an intended release date for the single, it does include a particularly scintillating secondary piece of information regarding one of the iconic producer’s many aliases.
Though most think of Eric Prydz’s production characters as a trinity – his own name, Pryda, and Cirez D – the producer has a bank of more covert pseudonyms which are oft forgotten. One such alter-ego is Tonja Holma, who Prydz has announced will mark the second release on Pryda Presents.
Though Prydz has included selections from the rarely occurring alias in many of his mixes over the past several years, the forthcoming output will mark the first official release that the artist has ever provided as Tonja Holma. In preparation for the momentous label debut of the project, we’ve compiled three tracks credited to Tonja Holma in various mixes.