60 Seconds With… Chi-Thanh
Chi-Thanh is a DJ and producer from Stuttgart, Germany. Heavily linked with Andre Crom’s OFF label, he’s unleashed a series of wicked EPs on the label in his time. An undoubtedly multifaceted musician, he’s also a handy collaborator – just as Florian Kruse (for whom he recently lined up alongside on their Subjekt release), will no doubt attest. With this in mind, we decided to put a few questions his way…
Where did you grow up? What was it like?
I was born and raised in Stuttgart, South Germany and had a very safe, nice and chilled upbringing. No complaints!
So what did you study in college then? Any music theory?
I was fortunate to start my music studies very early on since I was 5, and I had piano lessons, later guitar and I taught myself some drums, bass and saxophone. I also like singing a bit.
Do you remember first encountering electronic music? Did you like it immediately?
Yes – growing up I had some DJ friends and although I was more interested in urban, hip-hop, R&B music first, I always had “house” people around me. I also saw Sven Vaeth at age 15 in a club, quite crazy…
And when did you release your first EP? How do you feel you’ve progressed since then?
I started releasing as CHI THANH just over a year ago in and yes I am still progressing… of course. If u stand still, you’re dead!
And how do you write a track? What do you start on?
I start with a beat sometimes, sometimes I have a vocal melody, or sometimes I have a little musical lick/sample…there is no set way.
So are you a quick or slow producer? Or does it vary?
I used to be very quick, but now I take my time more and watch the sound design a lot more. There is so much music out there, so you really have to have some quality control with your own stuff…
What’s the best thing about electronic music do you reckon?
There are no rules and it’s a direct conversation between the creator and the audience… it’s so direct and honest and that’s what I love about it.
What’s the toughest ever gig you’ve played and why? And what’s the one track you use to rescue the dancefloor in that time?
It’s always tough when you are booked at a club where you know your music doesn’t really fit… and even if you try to change your song it never really works. Just drop “I Like To Move it”. Just kidding…!
Will you be playing any cool gigs this summer? How does the weather and your mood affect how you make music? Or does it?
Yes, there are a few showcases planned and I can’t wait to enjoy the summer. I love the sun and the beach – it must be my Asian genes…
And aside from music, what sort of other stuff do you get up to in your day-to-day life?
Well, if I have some spare time, I love to stay fit and healthy and also I do a little bit of martial arts. I am pretty much the Bruce Lee of Techno. Just kidding!
How important have the likes of OFF been to your career?
I did my first releases on OFF and also work closely with Andre Crom and his team, so it’s cool to have like-minded people around you. So very important, for sure.
And what’s your involvement like with OFF? Are you involved in their label parties etc too?
Yes, I play at most of their label parties and we have a very close musical exchange within the OFF roster.
So are you involved in music aside from your DJing and productions?
Yes, I know quite a few people in the industry and I am always looking for exciting new singers, writers and also like to connect people and network.. in the end, MUSIC IS THE ANSWER!!
And what’s the idea behind the Subjekt release? How did it come about? And can you tell us a bit about the vibe with that one?
Florian and I are friends and we wanted to do something different than “normal”, so we got together, got drunk and came up with some music. Kevin from Subjekt has been a friend and supporter of Chi Thanh from the beginning and we just thought that this song could fit the label.. and bang! The rest is history!
Who was the last DJ to really impress you?
The last time I really danced for 3 hours straight was at Panorama Bar on a Sunday night a few months ago and of course, it was the holy house of Mr. Dixon… quite clichéd, but it was just outstanding.
What else have you got coming up that’s really exciting you recently?
Well I am working on more solo releases right now and also I am involved in a band project so it’s gonna be a busy summer. Also, I plan to spend a bit more time in Saigon/Vietnam and see what happens there…
Chi Thanh and Florian Kruse’s Crickets & Bats is out now on Subjekt
Words: James Hopkins