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interview by Shawn Wallace

With the seemingly never-ending world tour still in effect from last year's release of the critically acclaimed "Bedrock: Compiled and Mixed" compilation, Chris is a headline act in his own right, he continues to travel to every corner of the globe in the last 12 months including residencies at The Cross in London and Plexi in New York. Chris is no longer a name just on the U.S. stage, but on the world stage. We caught up with the ever-busy Disc-jock via email (his answers, as he typed them, are below) to discuss life on the road and a new CD mix project "Fade Records presents Audio Tour" out on FADE/Benz Street/ZYX.

A little background... In 1998 while submitting a Sarah Mclachlan bootleg of "Plenty" (which was subsequently released in 2001) to her record label, Chris Fortier was offered a remix of a Delerium track called "Silence". The remix created a frenzy with such limited quantities being pressed by the label. Eventually succumbing to the demands of the general public after it's inclusion on Northern Exposure 3, and the buzz it created with DJs like Dave Seaman and Sasha opening and closing their sets with it, the label released it to discover a worldwide chart hit, with it hitting number one in four countries including Australia.

Keen to build the production side of his career, Chris started Fade Records in 1995 and released his first double A sided single "For All the People/ All I Got" under the production name of Fade with his one time surf competitor, Neil Kolo. The Fade sound quickly defined the era and the fashionable progressive Orlando sound. A long-term record deal from the UK and remixes for BT, Sam Mollison, Space Brothers, and Future Force followed over the next few years.

How has the crowd reaction been during the tour in support of the new album?

so far all the gigs i have done this year have been really great. and the ones for the gigs since the cd came out have been all really, really good. since the album is still only officially released in the usa, those gigs are having the most impact on the cd. the tour will last through to the end of the year with extended tours coming in asia (september) and south america (october). during the summer i basically will be criss-crossing back and forth from the usa to europe to cover all the clubs here and also all the summer venues and festivals over there. it is going to be busy and hectic, but i am looking forward to it.

Did you have an idea of where the Audio Tour tracklist was going when you started out or did it develop over time?

the premise for "audio tour" is based on fade records, my record label. "audio tour" is essentially that, an introduction or tour of the fade records sound. "audio tour" is not to be thought of as a follow-up to my bedrock album mix. it is purely a platform to promote fade records. the cd concept is and always was to be about fade records, the fade artists and our releases. the album is a single cd mix, so choosing tracks, i decided best to go with all new and not yet released material. this way the album is fresh. alot of other labels that do label mixes, put their best of past releases with a few new things, i had the opposite approach. i wanted the mix to be upfront and full of quality while still sounding as fresh as can be. this was a real challenge, and i am extremely pleased with the end result. it still very much reflects the sound of my djing.

Was 'Whateveritis" conceived for this album in particular?

actually, no. "whateveritis" was a track i did last year just before the summer. it wasnt made for this album, but definitely fits for this mix. i can never try to make a track specifically for one album, i find it tough. i have been making solo tracks the last few years and it is taken time to get to the level i am at with regards to output. i have a new single coming out in a couple weeks called "despegue" and my first solo single "losing wait" is finally coming out in july as well. "whateveritis" is just a fun track that fit perfectly for this mix.

What track, if any, has been seeing the biggest reaction in the club environment?

there are 2 big reaction tracks from the album that are always huge every night. the first one is scott mcfadyen - "g in your glow". it is a more housey kind of vibe at first, but it slow unleashes a massive riff that really is surprising and goes through the roof. the other is the d-shake "yaaah!" remix that i did. this track is devastating to say the least. very powerful and immense, especially the breakdown.

At the level you have achieved in your career you are getting swamped with promos, how do you sort through what to play, keep, and what to throw away?

it is a constant, day to day thing. i spend so much time going through music. pretty much the whole of my day is listening to my mail. it is something that is vital and i put alot of effort and focus into it. you have to or you will miss great tracks. but focus is the key.

Do you still test tracks in a club environment for example before putting them on an album or do you have an idea of what you want to do when starting an album project?

alot of times, yes. i play about 3 gigs every weekend, so there is ample opportunity to road test things. but i dont know if testing things out in a club pertaining to an album is that essential. playing them out gives you another perspective of tracks and you get to hear them loud as they were intended. but when doing a mixed album, the most important thing for me is that the mixes work well and the the pacing of the mix is right and steady. and that is something that isnt always an option in a club vs album testing. the album needs to be precise because it will get thousands and thousands of listens.

Many online outlets are plastered with comments in support of Audio Tour from fans who have seen you play live. What is the most frequently asked question you get?

besides "can you give me a promo"? i think there is real general sense of, "how can i get started or ahead" or what tricks do i know about the industry that will help young wannabees get noticed and get gigs. and the answer is, practice, practice, practice.

Do you spin vinyl, CDs, or both?

i play both for the most part. i prefer vinyl, i feel it better and know it better. cds are good too and there some great benefits, but for me a cdr is only just an earlier promotional tool to a vinyl release. i always choose vinyl over cds anyday. sometimes you dont have a choice though and cds are it, so if you want to play a track, a cdr can be the only option.

Where do you see the music coming out of the progressive house genre headed in the future?

it is hard to say where anything is going. it would be crazy for me to pinpoint one thing. but that is what is great about electronic music anyway. the fact that you can do anything your mind can think of. technology opens so many paths in music creation. as with any electronic genre, i think fusions of sounds is always the future. keep experimenting with sounds and dont be afraid to try whatever pops into your head.

How do you juggle the responsibilities of gigs and albums with running your record pool and the Fade label?

it is tough and makes for very long days, every day. but i think i have developed a really good way of managing my time. i try very hard to stay focused at the tasks that need to be done. i make alot of lists of objectives and make sure they are possible to achieve. when they are done, they get crossed off the list. as i said, it makes for very long days, probably 14 - 16 hours each day. but since i love music and what i do so much, it never gets to be a problem.

The past year has seen a lot of activity at Fade, what does the summer of 2004 hold in store?

we have a number of great releases coming over the summer. since the "audio tour" album is out now, there will be the tracks from the album that havent come out yet. things like scott mcfadyen and motive. there is also going to be a special vinyl release of the alley qats track as well as a vinyl release of the d-shake remixes too. beyond that, we have a few other cool vocal tracks by micah, tonepushers and a new band called funk hp that i am really looking forward to. -

What is your opinion about the current state of downloading music online?

i think it is great to finally have legal download sites offering great music to real fans of dance music. we already offer the whole fade catalog on the fade website. and we also have our releases on a few other great new sites too. we will probably place the tracks in a few other places too to make sure we have the best coverage we can to get the music heard. it is an interesting time now and the next 12 - 24 months are going to really tell the story as to where it is all going with the digital world of the music industry.-

Are there any download sites that you would recommend?

beatport.com and edmdigital.com are 2 of the leaders right now for electronic music. obviously itunes is great, but dance music isnt heavily featured now. beatport and edm are great and deserve our support. they are founded and run by djs and producers which is important. i am happy to be involved with both of them.

Where will you be playing this summer?

as i mentioned before, during the summer months, i am usually back and forth from the usa and europe. there are loads of great festivals and club nights in europe and summer is so important to clubbing there.

What is next for you?

my main focus right now is the effort behind "audio tour". getting the word out about the cd. doing all the gigs possible to let people hear the album. beyond that i have a few new singles coming ("despegue", "losing wait" & "believe") throughout the summer. also, there will be a couple new remixes i have done as well for fade and bedrock. then toward the end of the year, i will be starting to work on the follow-up to my bedrock album.

For more information and TOUR DATES visit www.djchrisfortier.com





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