New York DJ / producer, Cheyne Christian, was a pivotal part in the explosion of house music in 90s New York. He rose through the ranks alongside Erick Morillo and Roger Sanchez, and was resident at the infamous Tunnel club, aged just 17, warming up for the likes of Danny Tenaglia, as well as residencies at other legendary NYC venues including Webster Hall, Avalon and China Club. After a 12-year breather from dance music, the US tastemaker returns with a massive mix compilation on his Bridge & Tunnel Beats Co. imprint, ‘Sneaker Dancing Sessions Ibiza 2019’. Rounding up the season gone by, it features a flood of Cheyne’s New York tribal beats, tech grooves and Latin flavours, as well as new music from his NJ-based crew, Dean Masi and Angel Manuel, plus Frank Lamboy and Eduke. Cheyne Christian is re-igniting the habit of a lifetime, which has already seen him garner the support of Claptone, Roger Sanchez, Joseph Capriati, Jacky, Vanilla Ace, Marco Carola, David Guetta, Erick Morillo, Riva Starr and many more.
As Cheyne steps back into the forefront of the US house music scene, we caught up with him for an exclusive The Noise Gate interview…
What was the first record you ever bought and what was special about it?
Man, that was like 1992, and hard to remember. I remember attending my first rave in 1993 (I was 13 years old) then saving my lunch money for over a month and going to a record store a few towns over… I had managed to save up 100 bucks, and bought a bunch of imports, one of them in that stack was Night Crawlers, “Push the feeling on” dub of doom. I would make mixtapes and hustle them for 10 dollars a pop to fund my early record collection.
Your album ‘Sneaker Dancing Sessions Ibiza 2019’ has just been released. What’s the story behind this album and what should listeners expect from it?
This is essentially 12 years in the making. It’s been just about a year since I’ve been back in the game, with the label officially launching in March. I have been working with Steve Stimpson of Concrete Promo for the past 9 months. He has been huge in helping me develop my sound, and rebuild my brand. Along the journey, I linked up with some long lost friends like Dean Masi and Angel Manuel. Aside from owning a label together, we are from the same area and have been friends forever. From NYC to Miami, and some interesting stops in between we’ve been tight for decades, and are always game to support each other to the fullest. It’s been amazing to just jump back in and start collaborating after so many years, and we are just getting started Thanks to Steve, I ended up meeting Eduke, and Frank Lamboy, they were both very supportive of my latest tracks, and after getting to know one another it was a natural fit. They are both so talented, and I’m super excited to feature them on the compilation as well as the label.
This compilation is the first of hopefully many more. It has some recent releases on my label, like “Hit the Dab” which has massive support from some huge DJs like David Guetta, and picked up by Spotify’s Housewerk Playlist, as well as some exclusive new tracks(album only releases) that will be coming out later this fall.
Sneaker Dancing is a brand that holds a special place in my heart. It’s about the music, not getting dressed up, spending 1000’s on bottle service, or status or ANYTHING. Just throwing on some comfortable clothes (always looking good though ;)) lacing up your sneakers and dancing your ass off to some good house music, all night into the late morning; back to the days of circles.
How would you describe Cheyne Christian as an artist to someone else?
Energetic Big Room Tribal, Tech House, House. I always try and make music that makes you move regardless of if you are into our music or not.
What is the absolute number one highlight of your musical career so far?
That is so hard to choose, however it’s a tie. 1999-2000 New Years Eve, I was scheduled to open up on the main floor of the Tunnel in NYC, I had played there many times prior, but always in one of the side rooms, never the main, there must have been at least 5k people there, the energy was amazing. The second is WMC 2002 @ Space in Miami when Danny Tenaglia dropped my remix of C&C Music Factory “Sweat”, he looped it, got on the Mic and “Welcomed Everyone to WMC” then it dropped. Everybody Dance Now… Ahhhh, still get chills remembering that one.
Making music or playing music – What do you prefer and why?
As much as I love producing music, Djing is my 1st love. There is that moment at every gig when you look up and see EVERYONE Vibing, and you know you got them under your control. It’s such a rush, I love making people dance, it’s my purpose.
When it comes to making music, how do you arrange your workflow? Are you a drums first or a keys kind of guy?
It’s all about the bass and the drums for me, that is the foundation for EVERYTHING. Once that is right, everything else falls into place.
If you could go back to any point in your musical career and do one thing differently, what would it be and why?
I don’t do regrets or do-overs, everything happens for a reason, and there is a learning opportunity in EVERYTHING. That said, there are a few deals that I was raked over the coals on, if I could, I’d hold a little more firm on. When you wear your heart on your sleeve, and you LOVE what you do, there are always going to be people who leach on, and try and take advantage. I was a stubborn little shit who thought I knew everything at times, in retrospect, I wish I would have had a manager to look after the business aspect of things along the way, ESPECIALLY in my early years in the NYC Club Scene. I mean, I was technically not even old enough to be in the buildings, let alone headline some of these spots.
Tell us a little bit about your label. Where did it all start and what does the future hold?
Not many people know this, but Bridge & Tunnel is a negative terminology. It describes a “non-desirable” crowd that comes to the city via bridge or tunnel, not local NYC (and Brooklyn). Some places in NYC won’t even take me seriously because of the name and I love it. My goal is to release music from myself and other talented artists that is undeniable. To the point that people are like DAMNNNN, that sound is from Jersey, or wherever (not the city/BK). 2019 was me making up for lost time, I have about 12 originals that will have been released, as well as 5 new artists by the time we close the books on the year. 2020 is going to be MASSIVE, as we have some very cool releases and collaborations lined up, as well as a few more compilations. THICK Beats!
Lastly, if you could offer one golden nugget of advice to people trying to make it in the industry, what would that be?
Be HUMBLE, Stay Hungry… ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF THE JOURNEY!