Russ Chimes could possibly be our favourite artist ever featured on the blog, so getting him locked down for an interview is quite a major event for us.
He’s currently busy tearing up the summer festival circuit, but he took some time out to field our questions on remixes, his collaboration with Alex Metric, and that ever elusive debut album…
Have you always been musically inclined since an early age? Did you play any instruments as a child?
“I guess i have yeah, I did piano lessons as a young kid, and moved to learn the guitar when i was 13 or so, usual stuff really. I joined a few bands in school/college as a guitarist, so i think it was always a huge part of my life.”
What’s the earliest track you remember producing? Do you still have it?
“From what i remember it was some weird downtempo hip hop track that i made on my parent’s PC on Dance Ejay (remember that!?) There’s probably a Minidisc of it somewhere in my parents house, i think i’ll leave it where it is!”
Some of your earlier work (and to a degree “Back 2 You“) seems to be inspired by retro computer game music. Did you ever see it as an influence?
“Well i never really composed computer game music, or was ever heavily into the ‘chip music’ side of things. I think when i first started producing, those sorts of sounds weren’t being used in dance music, and there was an obvious nostalgic connection there. It was something i felt quite familiar with when starting out. The natural thing was just to explore it a little further, it was never an intention for it to become a trademark sound or anything. I mean, after a year or so there were bucketfulls of producers doing it better, more in-depth and more authentically.”
I think the first remixes of yours that we came across were of College, but what was your first officially commissioned remix and how did you go about creating it?
“Yeah that was the first ‘official’ one. I remember creating it as i still do now, just taking the riff of fragment of a melody and building up something new around it. Unfortunately for me I was still very much learning about production, mixing, and what works and what just doesn’t. It’s quite frustrating that all of this learning is in front of everyone too see, although there’s still aspects of that early stuff that i think have charm, but they’d be twice the tracks there are if i was to of produced them using the experience i have now!”
You’ve just done a fantastic remixes for Josh Kumra and Laura Welsh, do you have anymore in the pipeline? If you had a choice of any artist in the world to do a remix for who would it be?
“I’ve got remixes coming up for Clean Bandit, and my mate Grum, which should all be seeing the light of day soon! There’s loads of artists i’d love to remix, but i think at the end of the day, whether something would make a good remix is judged on a track by track basis. If there’s good hooks in it, it’ll most likely work! I’d much rather remix a random artist that has a super remixable track, than struggle with something supper difficult from a band/artist i love. It’s about the end product in the end.”
How does it feel now that you are getting more radio exposure? What was the first track of yours that you ever heard on the radio?
“It feels great! It’s funny that doing this for nearly 5 years you get wrapped up in a bubble of your own shit, and whats going on, and it’s quite refreshing when you get to radio to be reminded how many people in the country have no idea of your story or sound. Whereas I live with it everyday, it’s great that it’s a first experience of your stuff to so many people. It puts all that procrastination and worry about making new music into perspective!”
“The first track i heard on the radio was a remix i did for Sam Sparro in 2009 (“Black And Gold“), the original got to number one at the time, so they played my remix quite a bit. I still remember hearing it as the background music whilst Annie Mac was chatting, and freaking out! To be honest, i still do the same now.”
Can you tell us more about your collaboration with Alex Metric? Do you have any other collaborations forthcoming?
“There’s a track that me and Alex made months ago, we’ve been road testing it over the last few months, but it’s still needs a few tweaks to get it thereâ€¦it’ll come! That’s all i can tell you, otherwise it would ruin the surprise right? No other collaborations at present, but i’m definitely open to them.”
You used to be art director in design & advertising, do you feel this has had a big influence on the amount of creative control you influence over all aspects of your releases (artwork/videos/etc)?
“Yeah, it plays a huge part, i still do all the artwork for my stuff, and when it comes to videos i’m usually get involved with aspects whether it’s a bit of art direction, developing concepts etc. I did all the type for example for the “Turn Me Out” video, and worked with the directors getting the feel and art direction of it right. I’m a bit of a control freak at times so can be a nightmare client in that respect, but i just wouldn’t trust a major label to handle all the art direction of a release as they are coming into your brand cold and may not have the sympathy to completely adhere to it.”
I know people keep asking you this question in interviews, but I figure if we keep bugging you enough about it hopefully it might get done quicker. When the hell do we get a Russ Chimes studio album?
“Haha, man i’m still working on it. There’s been a few times in the past 3 years or so when I’ve had a collection of tracks together, but I’ve just fallen out of love with them before I’ve had a chance to finish them and compile an album. It’s something I’m continually working on, it’s just about having the right collection of tracks at the right time that gel together. Fingers crossed!”
Thanks go to the legendary Russ Chimes who was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer some of our questions. Feel free to follow him on Twitter, and on Facebook for future updates!
His new single “Turn Me Out” is available to buy from on 30 June right here.