In the spotlight with Sumsonic head, Chris Gainer

Having first stepped back behind the Technics in 1986, on discovering Hip-Hop culture, Chris' love of House music soon followed and gradually morphed over the years into a wild obsession until in 2000 he became one of the founding members of Sumsonic. Pushing the Deep-tech sounds of Sumsonic and sister labels Mechanism and FKA, in his role as A&R and label manager, Chris has concentrated his efforts on extending the vision of the labels. When he does find his way into the Studio, Chris produces under the names of 'Gainer', 'Substructure' and 'Seconds Out', with notable support from Dj's like Sander Klienenberg & James Zabiela. All this while pushing the Sumsonic sound to the far corners of the globe via some truly mind-blowing DJ sets.

Find out more about Chris Gainer and Sumsonic Records in our latest interview:
Interview: In the spotlight with Chris Gainer

BeatFactor: How was the House music scene back in '95 when you first got into it, comparatively to what it is now?

Chris Gainer: Well I first got into House music back in 1988 with the rise of the infamous Free-Party scene and the E-revolution which took place in the UK over this period, although it was not until 1995 that I started to consider dance music as my career and future. It was all so new back then, all the tunes were memorable anthems and all the electronic music genres we have today were combined as one thing. You would go to a party or a club in those days and you would hear all kinds of styles from Techno to Breakbeat combined with House. Now all these different styles have their own scenes, I suppose it goes to demonstrate how large the dance music revolution has really been.

BeatFactor: You are one of the founding members of Sumsonic, which started in June 2000 and became quickly one of the most respected labels in the house music industry. Tell us about the beginnings and the progress that was made over 4 years now...

Chris Gainer: It started as a bit of fun really, Mark (Darko) and I put our resources together and found a premises, shortly Paul joined the team and after a year of having messing about and learning the equipment the concept was found and the label launched. To be honest things have been pretty tough, it is a hard business to be in and we launched the label at the end of the 'golden period' for House music, therefore we have had to adapt not only the label but our personal ambitions and objectives. Despite all three of us having had plenty of experience in the business before, setting up your own label and producing tracks was a whole new ball game! We are very proud of what we have achieved with the label and in particular the fact we have managed to maintain the quality of the releases, if you go back through the catalogue very few or the tracks sound dated even today.

BeatFactor: "Invisible Inc – Stars" is one of the best tracks of this year. What's the story behind this track and what are you planning to release in the coming months?

Chris Gainer: It has definitely been one of our favorites too, it is the brainchild of Barry Jamieson who is best known as one half of legendary House producers Evolution and the man behind the music on the recent Sasha album 'Involver'. Barry did a mix for our radio show back in 2003 and Stars was on the mix, we enquired and secured the signing of the track. With the remixes we have had done and the amazing Ambient version the track has been a success and there are a couple more remixes to be released before the end of the year. Also due out on the label are a couple of EP'S for Darko and Paul Rogers plus collaborations between the guys and our young Hungarian artist Bakony Scamp and maybe......a single from Gainer!!!!

BeatFactor: The Directional album released in 2002 has seen a lot of success. Are you planning to compile another one for Sumsonic any time soon?

Chris Gainer: Doing the album was great fun for me and it was really well received which is always a great confidence booster, it was really cool to have all our productions as a basis to create an album, although a limiting factor it also meant that the trakcs seemed to sit really well together. There are plans currently in motion to do a second installment, following the same principals as the first album but this time mixed by Darko. We plan to have that out early in 2005.

BeatFactor: How was the summer of 2004 for you? What was the highlight?

Chris Gainer: I had a very quiet Summer this year, I tried not to play so many gigs this year as things have been so busy in the office, and there are some really exciting projects we are working on right now. To be honest my Summer highlight was the week I had with my son at the seaside! Musically I played an awesome gig at the Water & Sand Experience in Northern Romania in July for was sooooooo the lake and all.......awesome.

BeatFactor: Tell us about your production projects – Substructure, Seconds Out. What are you curently working at?

Chris Gainer: I have actually been working on a Breakbeat project, it is all quite exciting actually although I can't say much at this time, working with a very talented young producer called 'Metric'. He is already causing quite a stir within the Breakbeat scene, with everyone from Freeland to Meet Katie talking about this new talent...all will be revealed soon. The other projects just come along occasionally, Substructure is myself with Paul Rogers, we try to do at least one track a year but time........I have been doing some bits with Darko which are interesting, notably a remix for Looq records of a Jerry Bonham track which is released in November I believe.

BeatFactor: How are things going with other label projects following the end of Mechanism at the end of last year?

Chris Gainer: We had always planned to finish Mechanism once we felt the label had run it's course. The project, of signing tracks is to be continued with the birth of Konseption records, the first release is out in October and features a remix from Luke Chable, the plan is to sign in tracks and then get profile artists on the remix for us. We are also launching our Tech House imprint FKA before the end of the year and have plans for a more commercial dance label which we hope to launch in Miami next March.

BeatFactor: What does the dance scene in Romania lacks at the moment in your opinion?

Chris Gainer: That is a bit of a tricky question as I do not know the scene that well....more gigs with Chris Gainer maybe???? no seriously, judging it by the standards of the region the scene is pretty cool to me, I think it could maybe produce a little more musical talent and a more coordinated club scene, like many countries there seems to be only a crowd at the clubs for the 'Big Name Dj', sometimes people miss some of the best international talent....just because they have never heard of them or they are not on the cover of DJ.

BeatFactor: What do you like to do when not making music or DJ-ing?

Chris Gainer: Family, travel and reading, I have steady girlfriend of 4 years a 14 year old son and some really lovely family, it is more than enough to keep me busy!

BeatFactor: What is your favorite club/venue you have played at in the last 2 years and why?

Chris Gainer: It is a tricky one.......I have always enjoyed Pacha in Budapest, it is an intimate venue, not too large but the DJ set-up and the Sound system is excellent, every gig I have played there has been really cool.

BeatFactor: Favorite drink/food/TV show?

Chris Gainer: A fresh glass of Milk or if I am feeling brave - Bacardi & Coke........I love French cuisine but pretty much anything decent on the food front! TV......History documentaries.....sorry very boring!!!!! I hate reality really sucks.

BeatFactor: What's your motto that guides you trough life?

Chris Gainer: I have not really got one. I try to be honest, friendly and work hard at what I am doing. I suppose persistence would be a buzz word for me and sum up my ethic. If you want something you have to never give up!!!!

BeatFactor: Do you ever think that house music will eventually come to an end? And if that will happen what do you think will replace it?

Chris Gainer: I cannot see that ever happening now, I think House music is as much a part of the music scene now as any other style, you have to remember that nearly all pop songs today are based on House music beats and arrangements. I think the future is quite bright for Dance music and in particular house as it is an innovative medium, it draws a lot from modern technology and often offers the freshest ideas in music. Variations of the sound like the current electro-House infusions will come along and become popular but I don't see House disappearing as it's roots are now so firmly set.

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In the spotlight with Sumsonic head, Chris Gainer

September 19, 2004 at 3:48 PM CEST


Andrei Rusu

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