French producer Christopher Kah kick-started his new ECHO LIVE project where he combines the Roland MC- 707 and Roland TR-8S for his new live set, highlighting just how deep the relationship between Kah and Roland runs.
A native of Elsass in France, Christopher Kah is a self-taught, multi-talented multi-instrumentalist. A truly unique talent, he is also a man for whom the approach is every bit as fundamental as the result. An obsessive student of sound, Kah’s roots in electronic music can be traced back to an early appreciation of industrial techno — a strand of music that still greatly influences his productions to this very day.
Aside from releases on his own imprint, Highwav, Kah has also represented some of the techno scene’s most credible and renowned outlets, from Dave Clarke’s White Noise to Terence Fixmer’s Planete Rouge and DJ Hell’s scene-defining Gigolo Records.
Wasteland EP is a project that sees Christopher partner up with Roland to bring a new live set concept with only 2 machines, the brand new Roland MC-707 & Roland TR-8S to give light to his new 45 minute live show. Kah has shot two clips to give an insight into this new live concept, one in a disused factory and the other in a minimalist studio, with the focus of this project being on his live set.
We picked Kah’s brain recently, exploring his love of all things Roland, the details of his ECHO LIVE project, and more.
Enjoy our exclusive interview below!
Hi Christopher, how you doing?
Hi there! Very good, thank you! You?
Thanks for the chat man, where are you responding from?
Directly from my studio, sunny outside, perfect for responding to our interview!
How has life been these last few weeks?
Pretty well, like everyone else I am confined, with my family, but things are going pretty well! I spend more time in my studio, I develop new concepts, I work on my machines, mixes …
For many artists daily life has changed drastically in this time. How about yours?
Yes and no! The overall atmosphere has of course changed, I feel it, but in terms of my work, it remains almost the same, as I said above.
There are of course less bookings for everyone, this situation is not easy for many artists! We must not forget that in the techno world, there are the big artists, but there are also small and medium artists who try to survive the best they can, and what is happening today shows how fragile and imbalanced this system is!
In France, being an artist is very different from our German neighbors for example. No real status here. If you have bookings, and you can aspire to be recognized as “intermittent du spectacle”, but if you don’t fit perfectly into the box, there is just… nothing else.
What are some silver linings you’re finding from this quarantine?
I asked myself a lot of questions …
We are at the dawn of a new era, and whether we like it or not, everything is changing. We have to rethink the way this whole business works, because yes, whether we like it or not, we are in a business…
Most techno artists are used to this system: sending demos to big labels, sometimes waiting for months to get an answer, often ending up with nothing. This mechanism goes like this: sending to labels, releasing on the label, recognition by magazines, happy promoter and then possible booking.
This is almost the almost sclerosed path where each artist confronts himself! To me, we have to open up to new paths, stop limiting ourselves to the holy recognition of very big structures, labels and promoters, and be able to spread our music out there differently. Electronic music is not just DJing and booking, there are so many other options! I continue to develop my YouTube channel where I have fun continuing to test instruments, to show that we can make music with very few instruments.
I find that the world of electronic music needs to wake up a bit. It’s time to create new trends, new ways of thinking, ofcreating…
Congratulations on the debut of the Echo Live project! How did this come about as an idea initially?
I’ve been thinking about creating a new live for a while, trying to find the right setup for me. So far, either there was a computer in the middle, which I didn’t want, or there were too many machines. Last December I discovered the MC-707, and worked on it for a few days. Once all its possibilities came to light, I knew that was it!
This Live is a continuity of the projects I’ve worked on like Limited Resource. I’ve been releasing for a while now on my Highwav YouTube page. With this new setup, I am able to express myself the way I’ve always wanted! It’s even better than what I experienced through my live / mix sessions. I like the spontaneous aspect, the freedom in creativity.
You’re partnering with Roland for this one, using the brand new Roland MC-707 & Roland TR-8S to bring your live sets to life. Why Roland?
Actually I just really liked their machines, as I explained above. It just perfectly fitted my needs for the live set up I needed. I find that by reducing the number of machines, it requires more creativity, and that’s why the MC 707 made me happy! I did not create a live from my already existing tracks, but I created from 0 on the MC 707 directly, I was quickly won over!
What was your first piece of Roland hardware?
I remember well, it was a TR-8, I was conquered by the operation of the machine, and especially the possibility of being spontaneous! From the first grip, I immediately had fun! This is also the very first video that I created on my youtube channel 4 years ago!
What other Roland equipment do you use?
I tested the TR-09, I still own the TB-03, I use the MX-1 as a sound card, I just also tested the DJ 707M, I also have the MC 101, and I still have the VT-3 vocoder.
How different will your music be under this project versus what you usually produce and play?
It’s a completely different concept. Obviously much more spontaneous than composing on Ableton, more direct, and above all faster! I increased the speed to allow myself to create sound rather than think about it too heavily – the connection to the sound and the public is enhanced on stage!
This new concept invited me out of my comfort zone and to go and test new paths, new ways of catching and shaping the sounds!
It’s also what I do when I work with new machines and make videos on my youtube page, each machine pushes me to create differently, that’s what is really interesting and exciting!
Will you be expanding this to incorporate other hardware?
Maybe, not for sure. I will first test this setup live, as soon as I have the possibility to do so and maybe adapt it, I don’t know yet.
It’s really a question of feeling! I allow myself to do what I want!
With touring at a half around the world, will we see this project debut on a live stream at some point?
I really hope so. In the meantime, I am in a partnership with the DanceTelevison television channel. I will continue sharing my videos, and also find new concepts, setups, places to play new stuff. And of course, I’ll keep my Tunnel Lab going on. You’ll find the videos on DanceTelevision channel.