Chris C from Mohawk Records Interview
6th of December 2006 - interview copyright of Frenzy
Chris C (not to be confused with Frenzy resident Chris B!) has been in the hard house scene since time began.. well the early nineties at least. He speaks to Frenzy about how he got into the scene, his friendship with Tony De Vit, gorillas, the Swiss hard house scene (or lack of it) and much much more... prepare to be enlightened by the all round good bloke that is... Mr Chris Crooks.
1. Chris, you're a real stalwart of the hard house scene, having been there from the very grass roots it seems. Could you tell us a little bit about the background to you getting into hard house and how it all happened for you? We once heard you were given your big break by Tony De Vit.. is this true and how did it come about?
Yes, I used to hang around with Tony quite a bit and eventually ended up buying most of his records for him from the Soho import specialist shops and bringing them up to him at the weekends. I used to combine these weekends with visits to the Nightingale Club, where he was resident.
One night, he asked me if I'd like to do a 2 hour warm up spot for him as he couldn't be arsed to play right from opening til closing times! I readily agreed and got spotted by the owner of a club in Cardiff who offered me the main Saturday night residency there on the spot! The rest is history. I guess it must have been fate but I'm very grateful to TdV for the chance.
2. You're well known in Bournemouth from your residency that you used to hold for Cheeky Little Monkey, which was a magical clubnight for many of the Frenzy crew given our connections with it. What are your abiding memories of the night?
I always, always looked forward to my CLM dates - you knew you were going to have a great time at the Showbar! Well organised, well run and with a fantastic party vibe. It's such a shame that it eventually fell by the wayside as it always stuck to its policy of promoting good quality music and looking after its punters.
3. You're one of Frenzy's personal favourites when it comes to DJing, but we're saddened to hear that you might be leaving hard house for pastures new soon.. what's the full story behind this as it's not the first time we've heard you were leaving hard house... only to delight us by coming back again! Are you back for good in the words of Gary Barlow.. or is it really the end of Mr C's hard dance adventures?
Well, I'm very grateful for the compliment! And yes, this is the end as far as my DJ'ing is concerned. I'm getting a bit long in the tooth for bombing up and down the motorways at weekends and, to be honest, it's lost its sparkle a bit for me of late. Consequently, I'm bowing out of the circuit (although that's not to say that, if asked, I wouldn't come out of retirement for an occasional appearance). However, I'll still be making tunes in the future and hope to launch Mohawk Digital next year with Madam Zu and Sean Holland (aka Naz).
4. Are you a cheap dirty slut and have you ever fucked a gorilla? (I am so sorry about this one.. I can't tell you who asked this question, but as you know they're samples from two of our favourite Mohawk tunes that you've released!)
How VERY dare you? Me dear? Slut dear? No dear! Dunno about gorillas but there have certainly been a few 'dogs' in my earlier days!! Thankfully, I'm now happily hitched to my partner of 16 years and are tying the knot next March :)
5. You've played all over the world, and your CV is extremely impressive when it comes to travelling, with Australia, Japan, the USA, and a residency in Switzerland springing to mind. What's the most obscure or strange gig you've ever experienced on your travels.. and do the Swiss really like hard house?
Goodness, that's a difficult one to answer! One of the strangest gigs would have to be in Oakland, California with Madam Zu. The promoters booked an ice rink complex - one rink for Hard House, the other for DnB. Unfortunately, they overlooked to put covers down over the ice!! Consequently, we had the punters standing round the DJ booth (set up at the edge of the ink) watching us play instead of dancing! In the end, Julia and I grabbed our record boxes and had an impromptu curling match on the ice!! (And yes, I even have my own tongs! he he he).
Do the Swiss like Hard House? Absolutely not. God knows I tried over 6 years to get them into it during my White Wolf residency in Zurich but it was always a losing bettle, I'm afraid! Still, it was fun.
6. Frenzy's good friend Nice Bloke Jon once told us after a very long night out that you were in fact related to Chris B of Pants and Corset fame... (but only alphabetically speaking mind). Have the two of you ever been on the same line-up and if you were would you insist on the DJ line-up being listed from A to Z or Z to A?
No we haven't and I'd like to think I wouldn't be as petty as to insist on anything like that!
7. 999 The Matrix is possibly the most well-known track released on your Mohawk label, and in fact it was the tune that got one of the Frenzy Crew into hard house after hearing at a rave in the New Forest in 2000. Of all the tracks you released on your labels down the years, which one was your favourite and why?
Well, I have about 90 to choose from I guess so it's quite difficult to pick just one out. If I did, I think it's have to be between 'White Wolf', 'Freefall' and '999 Matrix'. 'White Wolf' launched MOM Records, my first label, back in 95 and got huge support from Tony de Vit (including him putting it on his 'Live in Tokyo' album). 'Freefall' became a huge anthem and eventually got me a gold disk, thanks to Lisa Lashes putting on the 'Hard Haouse Euphoria' CD and '999 Matrix' is, quite simply, a classic track that has never been out of my record box since it was released - it ALWAYS does the business whenever I play it!
8. How do you spend your spare time when not producing and music and DJing?
I have a full time job in Devonport Naval base so putting my feet up in front of the telly, mostly! It's really nice to have that opportunity, especially at weekends, when I know I don't have to spend hours on the road. I also have 4 cocker spaniels that enjoy being walked on our glorious moorland and beaches down here and I can always jump into the hot tub if the mood takes me!
9. If you had an unlimited budget to put on your own clubnight with any DJs past and present, in any venue, in any country, what would you do? Who would be on the line-up, would there be a theme, tell us!
To be honest, I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in promoting a night - it's FAR too much stress and hassle for my liking! So, if it's all the same to you, could I just keep the money and have another holiday in Hawaii??!! Thanks!
10. What are you top five tracks of all time.. and it doesn't have to be hard house (after all, there is more to life than 150 bpm dance tracks!)?
11. Who is the most famous person you've ever met and how, and is there someone you haven't met yet that you would like to and why?
Probably Elton John many moons ago. I, along with some friends,got invited to his house in Windsor on a couple of occasions. Billy Connolly was staying there with Elton one time and he had us in stitches. Apart from them, I really can't think of anybody else.
12. We at Frenzy know that you're a Plymouth man, and that you support the local football team, The Argyle. We'd like to know if you reckon they're better than the Saints because we don't reckon they are?
Don't get me startd on THAT argument. Why don't we just look at the table at the end of the season, eh? ;) Needless to say, as a season ticket holder, I shall be there at Home Park on New Years Day for our return match!
Note from Frenzy Marc - Yeh, whatever
13. Is there a hard house track you wish you'd written? We at Frenzy reckon it's either Hooked (The TDV remix), or Bush Babies' Delicious - perfect hard house surely?
Well, BK's 'Revolution' would have been nice for the income! I don't believe there is such a thing as perfect hard house - it's all subjective at the end of the day.
14. And finally, who are the movers and shakers in hard house at the moment that we should be looking out for in 2007
To be honest, I have absolutely no idea! I've kind of withdrawn from the mainstream of late so don't feel I'm really qualified to saddle anybody with that particular mantle! Whoever they are, I hope they have as much good fortune and fun as I've had over their careers.