Christopher Norman has spent the last three years under the pseudo name “Retrobyte,” offering roles as singer, songwriter and producer. During that time, Chris has had the rare opportunity of being protégé to Gabriel and Dresden and working with many other well established artists and labels.
This interview with the esteemed musician, about his life and recipe for success, marks the latest release on Curvve Recordings with his remix of Gareth Emery’s “More Than Anything.”
How did you come up with the name “Retrobyte”?
I hate to disappoint, but there’s really not a cool story to go along with it – it just popped in my head back when I was in high school and I let it stick. I’m making the slow (and painful) transition back to my real name and I’m starting to wish I didn’t have an alias in the first place!
Were you involved in any music classes in high school?
I started doing piano when I was 6 or 7, and that led to playing in band in school. I also went to an arts high school for two years and did piano there as well.
Who were your biggest musical influences?
Growing up I listened to a lot of Michael Jackson and Queen, and my parents both loved folkier stuff too. In recent history some big influences have been Jamie Lidell, Basement Jaxx, Ozgur Can, Feist, Gabriel & Dresden (of course), Robyn’s new record is fantastic…just too many to list!
What was it like working with Gabriel and Dresden? Was there any one thing that you learned from them that you feel is most important?
Working with them was a dream come true. I guess the most invaluable thing I’ve gotten from them is direction and knowledge in the industry – it’s really difficult to know if you’re going in the right direction, and they remain a great compass to this day.
What advice would you give someone who is starting out at producing?
As trite as it sounds, keep at it and don’t get frustrated if your productions don’t immediately sound like hits – it takes a while to get up to snuff. And don’t let anybody tell you that you need a specific piece of kit or software – try things out and see what works for YOU, then go from there.
Do you experiment with different sounds?
A lot of people don’t know that dance music is actually a small part of what I do musically. I play guitar, I sing, I write. I’ve been working on loads of non-dance stuff – now it’s just a matter of what I’m going to do with it! I’ve actually been really getting into dubstep lately and have been trying my hand at that – it’s proven to be a pretty interesting learning experience. I do use an 808 tom at LEAST once in every track though. See if you can find ’em!
When you first heard “more than anything” was there anything in particular that excited you about the song?
When Gareth first came to me and asked me to take a listen the very first thing I noticed was the vocal – I’m a sucker for a good, catchy male vocal. His material is also always incredibly well produced, so that got my attention off the bat as well.
How did you originally envision yourself remixing it? Did you have a particular sound in mind? Or does it just come as go?
As anyone who has been in my studio in the past year knows, this song took me AGES to remix. I tried every single genre and went through my entire bag of tricks and nothing clicked. I must have gone through at least 10 different versions before I got to one that actually worked. This is probably the longest I’ve ever spent on a remix. From when I got the remix pack to when I turned it in, it was probably about 8 months.
Is there anything that you feel sets this remix apart from your other productions?
This is definitely on the progressive / trance side of the tracks on my resume – usually I try to avoid that word and style like the plague but this one needed to be a bit more anthem-ish. It kind of brought that out in me.
Which of your songs or remixes have given you the greatest satisfaction and why?
I did a remix of Jose Amnesia & Jennifer Rene’s song “Wouldn’t Change a Thing” last year, that’s probably one of my favorite ones to date. I put a lot of love into that mix – did backup vocals and played guitar and everything – and it’s one of the few productions I’ve done that I (for lack of a better term) just wouldn’t change a thing on.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Aside from music making, schooling, and the day job, I do a lot of cooking and baking. I’d eventually like to start a home mail order business for my baked goods and write a cookbook.
What are you currently working on now? Any upcoming gigs or projects?
I’m actually finishing my degree in the fall, so until I graduate I’m just focusing on production and songwriting. I’ll play a gig here and there, but no traveling or intense schedules. I’m doing a lot of production work with my good friend and fellow DJ Anthony Attalla, and we have a lot of stuff filtering out in the next couple of months. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, too, so stay tuned!
Is there anything else that you would like to mention?
My first original track (in over a year), “Otherside” with Topher Jones, comes out July 14th on Black Hole. We’ve got some great remixes on the project (Patrik Bjorkman’s beats the original, I think) so check them out when they come out.
I also just finished a cover of Martin Gore’s “Compulsion” and posted it up for free download on my MySpace page: myspace.com/retrobyte
Be sure to check out Christopher Norman online and his latest remix of Gareth Emery’s “More Than Anything” which is available now at Beatport, DJ Download and AudioJelly.[audio:042-gareth_emery-more_than_anything_(christopher_norman_remix).mp3|titles=More Than Anything (Christopher Norman Remix)] [audio:0042-gareth_emery-more_than_anything_(christopher_norman_dub).mp3|titles=More Than Anything (Christopher Norman Remix)]
Fine Taste has once again waved their magic wand to and delivered a stunning remix of D:Fuse and Hiratzka’s “Breathe In”. Originally released on their “Skyline Lounge” album, D:Fuse and Hiratzka’s version was mellow, downtempo, and most of all, sexy. Fine Taste was selected by Curvve to remix the project because of their unique production perspective on progressive and electro house music. If anyone could completely re-design a 100bpm track, Fine Taste would be the one to do it. So it comes as no surprise that their remix has been making its debut on several high profile radio shows including Matt Darey’s “Nocturnal Radio” and Paul Van Dyk’s “Vonyc Sessions”.
During our interview with Freek Geuze (one half of the Fine Taste duo), we asked him his secret to producing such a massive remix. “80 pushups before each studio session … and I always wear my Van Basten ’88 shirt”. He was also quick to mention that he prefers a PC to Mac, but “KFC any day of the week”. A man after my own heart!
Led by his artistic edge, Freek also creates astounding music under the guise of “Smartminds”. He adds that it contains, “some summerish proggy happy tra-la-la tunes like ‘Glitter Glamour’, but also banging techy stuff like ‘Tissues For Your Issues’. I just have a broad (and Fine) Taste.”
The other half of this exceptional talent is Johan Vermeulen, who lends the duo a darker side to their music. His productions have been signed to labels Baroque, Anjuna, and Little Mountain.
Whether Freek is eating his favorite food of shrimp baked in garlic or listening to hilarious jokes during production, he, along with Johan, delivered what has already been deemed their finest production to date.
One of the things we found most interesting about Freek was his devotion as a Chuck Norris fan, and ability to quickly recite random Chuck Norris facts. He also claims to have a secret obsession with Polar Bears, claiming that his remix of “Breathe In” reminds him of “a polar bear in the middle of Tunesia”. Since the conversation took such an interesting turn, we couldn’t help but enquire about his name. “Freek is actually a common Dutch name”, he replied, “ The ‘ee’ is pronounced as the ‘a’ in Cake”.
For more information, please check out Freek’s myspace project at www.myspace.com/smartmindsmusic
Click here for audio samples or to purchase the release.
[audio:041-dfuse_and_hiratzka-breathe_in_(fine_taste_remix)-curvve.mp3|titles=Breathe In (Fine Taste Remix)]
“Sex, Drugs and Bacon Rolls.” That was Dan’s reply when he was asked what the movie title to his life would be.
Hailing from Sweden, Dan Lindeberg, aka Dumb Dan is a well known name in the EDM society. His productions have gotten the attention from some of the major international players and have landed his work on labels like Stone Boy, Whoop and Armada. After having a great run on the Beatport charts with his remix of Moussa Clark’s “Regret”, he is now focusing his time on his international DJ gigs and running his own label, Dumb Recordings.
In the midst of all his hard work, Dan’s latest release, a remix of Shawn Mitiska and Vinny Troia’s “House Revisited” has just been released on Curvve Recordings. Click here to check it out.
But being a successful producer, DJ and label manager is only one side of the story. Here are a few things that you may not know about him:
Q: Everyone dreams of being a superhero. Who would you be?
A: “I’d have to say the Phantom”, he said in a recent interview with Curvve. “It would be cool to live with a beauty queen in a cave in Africa that has a room full of high tech stuff.”
Q: Speaking of high tech, what is the one piece of equipment that you could not live without?
A: “Voxengo’s Curve EQ”
Q: With your interest in this tech environment, does that make you a PC guy or a Mac guy?
A: “I feel a little Mac sometimes, but I’m pretty sure I’m PC. “ He goes on to say, “Some of my best friends are Macs, I have nothing against them.”
Some of us have a routine when we play a set or when we produce. Dan is no different. His ritual includes “having a big pot of coffee all day long” and definitely wearing his lucky KISS t-shirt. This is the sort of preparation that has led him to produce an edgy, tech house driven remix of “House Revisited.” He also swears that he wore his lucky shirt during the entire production of the remix, which is why he can guarantee that it will be a hit.
Q: Did anything interesting or funny happen to you during the recording of your new remix?
A: Yes, Shawn Mitiska told me all about his favorite trance records.
Business aside, Dan believes that if his remix of “House Revisited” was an animal, it would definitely be an Okapi: an edgy looking animal that is a cross between a horse and a giraffe.
Interesting! But has this avant-garde way of thinking ever caused Dan to be stalked?
“Yes,” he replied, “but only by nice people.”
More Information about Dan available at
For release on May 28, 2008: Mohawk “Celestia” with remixes by Noel Sanger and J-Soul
Hailing from the U.K., Mohawk, who’s already proven himself as an immensely skilled soundscape magician capable of conjuring up some of the hottest beats to grace clubs and dancefloors across the globe with an array of singles and remixes signed to the likes of Positiva/EMI, Cuurve, Somatic Sense, Baroque, etc., whips up an astoundingly tantalizing and jaw-dropping beatpumper that will leave listeners moving frantically in harmonic space.
Noel Sanger takes the remix up a notch by laying down a few amazingly catchy twists of his own, which will do more than enough to utterly tear any respectable dancefloor into pieces, with just enough scraps for residents to fight over, while Russian remixer J-Soul deftly delivers a deep, moody, and soulful interpretation that any true enthusiast of progressive house shouldn’t pass up.