Echoes from Down Under: An Interview with JJ.Christie

Between releasing new material…Nebulastica hit the end of February and the much anticipated Fresh New Idea is due out May 1st (pre-orders available!), a new label…Filtersweep Collective, and helping to shout the word out about Australian synth based music with Futuresynth Volume 1, JJ.Christie has been a busy man. As we are on the verge of the big release of Fresh New Idea, I thought it was high time we talked to the man who is bringing so much positive attention to electronic music. Be sure to check back with us on Monday for a full review of the new album, but for now, let me introduce you to, JJ.Christie!

For those who don’t know you already, who is JJ.Christie?

I’m the epitome of a rock cliche. I was born in 1969, went to high school, university and had my first job all in the 80’s. So I’m an 80’s child. I’ve always been a musician, influenced by my mother who was a piano teacher since an early age. My career choice was audio engineer, and I spent most of my career working in TV, combined with playing, touring and running a big PA system. Since my first live concert experience, I knew I wanted to be a rock star, particularly Gene Simmons from KISS. hahaha

You’ve got new music and a new label! What can you tell us about it?

My new album “Fresh New Idea” is based around the numerous crises that go on around the world, and how our governments decide to always repeat the same mistakes again and again…believing that a military solution is somehow the NEW solution.  It’s been going on since time began. But in this age of technology, we can now sit at home and watch the war covered live on television by our media outlets. Almost like “Today’s WAR available now on Pay-Per-View”. This leads us to look further afield once we have killed this planet, and that brings us to the sister album “Nebulastica” but that’s another story for another day.

The label idea came about when I noticed that often the best musicians are the ones with no resources to produce a quality piece of work and get exposure. This combined with the multitude of fringe genres of electronica that are not in the commercial viewfinder so to speak, led me to form the “Filtersweep Collective”.  It’s a collective in that everyone involved works to combine our resources and experience to release the albums, and I ensure that all royalties go back to the artists involved.

Your music has a great synth based sound. Who have been your influences?

I’m from a 70’s and 80’s rock background. Metal combined with prog rock and classic rock. Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Kiss, New Order, Yes, Uriah Heep, and on and on.

What is your setup in the studio?

I’m “in the box” these days. My current studio is version 6 and it’s evolved over the years from tape based multitrack, to DAW based systems nowadays. I use Protools and Reaper, many VST synths (Jupiter 8, Prophet V and VS, CS80, SEM) and 2 hardware synths still. I have a Korg Wavestation an M1 and numerous midi controllers, keys, pads, faders and pots.

You have very quickly become a major player in Australian synth music promotion. What is your motivation?

Since I discovered that the best money to make in music was behind the desk, not on stage, my motivation now is to gain a group of real followers/fans that I can engage with, and genuinely like my style. Audio Engineering isn’t just my job, it’s my passion, so my material is VERY studio based, it’s about listening beneath the surface to the rich tapestry of sounds.

How did you select the artists for the Futuresynth Volume 1 collection?

They came to me. I put the word out in groups and such on Facebook and Twitter and asked for submissions. I won’t say the doors were being knocked down with an influx, but I’m very happy with the first installment, and it will only get better.

What do you do during down time? What’s a normal day like for JJ.Christie?

Down time? What’s that? hahahaha.  Timezone juggling is a challenge. First thing in the morning I go through Twitter and FB and catch up on Reddit. Make a point of following up any contacts I’ve had overnight, and try to keep everyone involved and engaged. If I have some bookings in the studio I will work on those for the day to meet my deadlines. And I’m also studying business on the side, as my wife and I have plans for a business in the future. I also look after the property, do chores, all the normal stuff.

Luke, Han Solo, or Darth Vader?

Definitely Darth Vader. The tragic character that’s slipped to the Dark Side. It could have been me in my early years, hahahaha

What are your future plans for the year 2017?

I’d like to do 2 more releases for JJ.Christie this year. A remix album around August, and then a full length album out for Christmas, I’ve started writing for that already and am excited about the results so far.

Is there anyone you’d like to mention or give a shout out to?

Not just one person, but a big shout out to the awesome online community of synthwave fans and producers, everybody is so friendly and are more mates than colleagues in my mind. I would also personally like to give you a HUGE shout out, the support you have given me since my beginnings in this scene has been awesome, that I keep thinking “Whats the catch?”. You and others such as Watermelon Banzai (Editor’s Note: You should be following his blog), are driving this scene so much, that without you guys, we would all be floating around with no idea.

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