Interview: Cristoph On Playing 15+ On-The-Fly, Open-To-Close Shows

UK-born progressive artist Cristoph is bringing back the art of DJing.

After his father bought him his first pair of decks and his brother landed him his first gig, Cristoph quickly rose to melodic prominence due to his atmospheric productions and ability to create both danceable and moody mixes personally tailored to each crowd.

This versatile producer/performer first garnered attention after being tapped by Eric Prydz for a feature on the Pryda label and has since released on prominent imprints like Last Night on Earth, Yoshitoshi, and Anjunadeep.

Now Cristoph is on a wild North American tour that will have him playing successive open to close sets for 15+ dates and a collective 71+ hours of music.

We sat down with Cristoph just before his final weekend of the tour to talk about his “no gimmick” approach to music, crowd-tailored sets, and just how tired he is after this tour:

EDM Maniac: There’s a wide variety in your sound and I think that makes it really appealing. Do you have a methodology for how you create music or do you just go with the flow?

Cristoph: When I go into the studio, typically I just start writing something and see what starts coming through my head.

Years ago, I heard an interview where some of the biggest tracks out there were more of a mistake, so you’ve just got to go with the flow instead of battling against something.

I think a lot of people get too involved in the track and they keep on going back and before you know it, you’ve thrown everything from the kitchen sink in there and it sounds nowhere near what you want it to sound like.

EDM Maniac: So let’s talk about your two-month-long open-to-close North American tour. You are doing over 71 hours of music over 15 shows. Are you exhausted? 

Cristoph: I’m so tired. This weekend coming up is the final weekend and I’m really sad that it’s coming to an end because it’s been such an enjoyable experience, but I’m so tired.

The feedback from the sets has been amazing. I don’t think open-to-close sets are as big a thing in America even though they used to be a huge thing in the industry.

Once festivals started picking up and artists were happy enough playing shorter sets, everyone’s set time seemed to condense down.

I must have had thousands of messages over the week saying, “So what time do you start?” I’m like, “As soon as the club opens.” OK, “but what time do you finish?” I’m like, “When the club closes.” I think Toronto has been my longest gig at around seven hours and the clocks went back an hour.

This tour has been like a baby for the team and I’m very proud of how we’ve addressed it.

EDM Maniac: You’ve claimed with this tour that there are no gimmicks. Can you explain what this means in terms of how you crafted the performance?

Cristoph: The no gimmicks thing is I find a lot of clubs put this light on the DJ constantly. I want it to be about the music and the people in the crowd.

I’m just standing there doing my job to be honest. And that’s the way I always portray what I do for a living. I don’t want it to be about me. I want it to be about that actual night and about the journey that the music takes the crowd on.

I love the Boiler Room effect of wherever you’re looking, there are people and it is more intimate for me personally. I find that at those gigs, people are more into the music and they get more lost in the atmosphere.

EDM Maniac: So how do you prepare to play over 71 hours of music over 15 shows?

Cristoph: I haven’t planned one set. I choose my first four tracks and then I’ll go from there.

Before the tour started, I sat down and put together certain folders for certain hours of the night. Sometimes I need a bit more energy and sometimes you can be playing to 10 people for the first half an hour. It’s so different every single night.

I always think going into a set with such a specific game plan could be detrimental to what you’re trying to do because it’s all about reading the crowd.

It’s kind of what I’ve attempted to do my whole career, rather than just going in and just playing the biggest hits. Each set has been different which has been entertaining for me.

EDM Maniac: Several of your shows have sold out, including your Toronto show, which sold out immediately. Why do you think your music resonates so much with the North American audience?

Cristoph: To be honest, I don’t know. I think it’s the alignment with Eric [Prydz], to be honest with you. I think that’s really helped. But the Americans are very, very open.

I think a lot of people view it as just this crazy place where they have all these huge festivals and everyone’s an “EDM” artist. But there is a great underground and I think it gets bypassed.

That Toronto sellout blew my mind. We thought that there was something wrong with the sites and we contacted the venues saying, “Your sites went down for some reason.” And they’re like, “Yeah, you’ve sold it out.” So we got to do a second show.

It’s a very surreal feeling and I honestly haven’t got an answer to why they like it so much, but I’m not going to knock it.

EDM Maniac: Have you noticed any differences between North American and European crowds?

Cristoph: In the UK and Europe, there seems to be this big tech house interest. Anything melodic or progressive with these dark, longer breakdowns doesn’t really resonate with the dance floor there.

It’s great to play to different crowds because it’s a challenge to win them, but I find a lot of people in the UK and Europe are super Instagram and TikTok-focused. So they are looking for music they can upload to their pages that will capture the audience’s attention.

But music is an art and a fashion so it’ll just spin around and before you know it, this will be big in the UK and Europe and something else will be sweeping through America. That’s just the industry we live in.

EDM Maniac: What do you have coming next for you?

Cristoph: Well we just announced India plus two UK shows in December, and then for New Year’s I play the Insomniac festivals which look amazing.

Hopefully, I’ll get maybe two weeks off at some point in January to write some music. We plan on expanding the FaCet series as I’m sitting on hundreds of records and collaborations so the music schedule is never going to ease up at any point.

The merch is also almost ready so that’s exciting.

I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s came out and and supported the tour. It means the world to me, it really does.


All images provided by GetIn PR

Written by
Danielle Levy

Danielle Levy is an MBA with a concentration in Corporate Social Responsibility. Danielle has several years of experience in the sustainability education world and has held various positions in human resources and intern management. Danielle is passionate about the ties between sustainability and social impact.

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