Chrystal Chris trabaja con la música para conectar, inspirar, intercambiar y crear historias. En Berlin, su casa actual, toca géneros que van del deep techno al ambient. En su proyecto de duo Sapphear, comparte el booth con Sawatzki, violinista de jazz que improvisa sobre los beats que Chris lanza. Chécate la entrevista que le hicimos mientras escuchas su delicioso set.
MHV: Chris, tu amor por la música nació en los raves, ¿qué te llamo tanto la atención de lxs djs que ibas a ver?
Chrystal Chris: Yes, from the first school parties with pop, rock & grunge music, my path led me to hip-hop, reggae and dancehall parties.
After visiting my first Fusion Festival in 2007, I felt in love with psytrance. By moving to Hamburg some years later, I discovered techno, deep- & tech-house. In the last years, I also opened up for downtempo, experimental and ambient music.
No matter which genre, my fasciniation for Djs has played an important role in my development. I have seen them as Gods. I have been a passionate groupie full of admiration for a DJ’s gift to connect and unify the people on the dancefloor, to make them feel as one.
Another fascinating aspect is the identification with deep feelings coming up by following a DJ’s narration. A DJ is a musical storyteller who can bring me closer to parts of my inner self so that I can find new dimensions of and perspectives on life. That is fucking beautiful!
MHV: ¿ Cuál fue el primer paso que diste para superar la barrera entre ser espectador y ser la artista?
Chrystal Chris: From the moment I have experienced my first in-depth and intense DJ set I wanted to become a DJ but this seemed impossible and unreachable. DJing was ‘just’ a dream and only for the cool boys, not for the small, shy Chrissy!
But I did not stop dreaming, imagining and speaking of it. One fine day my ex-boyfriend made me a birthday present: my first DJ controller! After he left me, I started to deal with my sorrow and began to look for tracks that express my inner state of being. This helped me a lot to confront my shadows and to deal with them. Music became medicine for my soul! Some months later my very good friend Thilo asked me if I want to play a DJ set at a party of an autonomous centre – without any pressure to perform. I said I would do but only with him! So, we played back-to-back…mainly he was mixing and I was dancing and jumping behind the decks, cheering the people on the dancefloor! This has been epic! Four weeks later I travelled to Ecuador and Colombia where another good friend Lisa told the people that I am a famous DJ from Germany! So I just was this DJ and I played at three beach parties and even in one club, with CDJs that I did not know how to operate, but I did! Luckily the police stopped the party after ten minutes of my set! Hahaha, what a memory!
More and more gigs followed in London and England where I went to study after coming back from South America. Getting back to my homebase in Hamburg, the first official bookings followed.
MHV: ¿Qué dificultades tuviste al principio?
Chrystal Chris: Well, it is like in ‘real life’. I somehow need confirmation, recognition and support of others to keep on going. I am full of self doubts and also I wonder continously if people like what I do. For me Djing is like a path to wisdom: a process of accepting myself and believing in myself by letting go negative and destructive thoughts and feelings. Through the muscial narratives I express myself and thus I speak out loudly. This is not always easy, especially in times when I feel sad or depressed and then need to perform on stage. The hours before a gig can be really hard for me, full of excitement but also sometimes filled with fear. So, I really think the most important factor is the support of my friends around me as well as of my partner. Also my collective Kybele empowers me to continue with Djing as it gives me a feeling of belonging and identification. It highlights the creative works of female-identified artists worldwide and so it brings me closer to people who feel in a similar way as I do.
MHV: ¿Ahora, te dedicas fulltime a tocar?
Chrystal Chris: Well, at the moment I can not make a living from the gigs that I play. The fees are not really high and I also play at fundraiser events that are free of charge.
Also, my background is in the social-therapeutic area. Many years I worked as social worker being responsible for minor, unaccompanied refugees.
I somehow would love to connect my professional background with my passion for music and Djing. I started to offer a DJ Workshop called ‘Beat of Life’. The participants create a collective DJ set and become a DJ Orchestra. It aims to empower people to start or to continue their artistic activities.
I am also starting a training as cultural manager now. My big dream is to create an open space where people encounter and exchange, where workshops are offered and conferences are held. I think the magic lies in co-creation that tries to overcome power dynamics and deadlocked hierarchic structures.
MHV: ¿Cómo se dio tu nuevo proyecto de Saphear?
Chrystal Chris: Saphear is a duo project of myself as DJ and Sawatzki who is a trained jazz violinist and improvises to my selected tunes. It is really wonderful to stand on stage as a team. We are pretty much synced – both very dynamic and energetic! So we spread a lot of magic vibes to the people who receive us very well! We get so much positive feedback and many bookings in spring and summer.
The name is a combination of my crystal theme and Sawatzki. We were thinking of a crystal that starts with ‘Sa’ so we thought of ‘Sapphire’. In German it is called ‘Saphir’ so we made a German-English combination and changed the spelling so it includes the words ‘hear’ and ‘ear’!
MHV: ¿Qué es Kolibri Sinfonie?
Chrystal Chris: Kolibri Sinfonie’ is a monthly event at Klunkerkranich that is organised and curated by Raphael (Sawatzki) and me.
When I was travelling in South America I encountered hummingbirds for the first time in my life. Some people told me that they are seeing this bird in my personality as I am very vivid, bubbly and fluffy – so is Raphael too.
In some cultures, hummingbirds are believed to be healers and light bringers, messengers of the future and the afterworlds and so we thought this is a great theme for our event series. The Klunkerkranich is on the roof of a shopping centre and the view over Berlin from there is amazing. Our booking is gender-aware. We invite diverse artists with a wide range of musical genres. We look for specific sounds that incorporate some kind of holiness. This means to us that our body and mind is able to transcend into a hovering state, into a trance-like state where our consciousness can evolve .
MHV: ¿En dónde podemos encontrar tu música y tus proyectos?
Chrystal Chris: Well, my and our profiles are on many social media channels: