Gene Farris 5 Tracks of the Moment


Chicago house music luminary Gene Farris has been delivering positive dance floor vibes since the ’90s. During his storied career, the Windy City-based DJ/producer has released a cavalcade of floor fillers on choice imprints (Cajual/Relief Records, Defected, Dirtybird, Visionquest, Lapsus Music and Suara) and has been the visionary behind Farris Wheel Recordings.

Farris’ “Back In the Day” is featured on This Is Toolroom 2020, a high-octane collection of shiny new Toolroom’s tracks mixed by Martin Ikin.

The 21-track compendium also features the likes of Mark Knight, Amine Edge & DANCE, GW Harrison and Raumakustik.

We connected with the globetrotting Farris and asked him to select his five tracks of the moment. Continue Reading

Kris Menace Returns On His Own Terms After Five-Year Mental Health Break

Kris Menace Christoph Hoeffel

From 2005 to 2013 DJ/producer/musician Christoph Hoeffel, better known as Kris Menace, was on a prolific creative streak. He released a mind-boggling eight full-length albums and dozens of singles, collaborated with artists including Robert Owens, Romanthony, Xavier Naidoo, The Presets, Miss Kittin, Alan Braxe, Rex the Dog, Felix Da Housecat, DJ Pierre and remixed a spate of top-notch artists such as LCD Soundsystem, Depeche Mode, Metronomy, Röyksopp, Underworld, Moby, Paul Weller, Kylie Minogue and Lana Del Rey.

While the work was satisfying, a relentless schedule began to chip away at his well-being. As he went from project to project, Hoeffel eventually found himself depressed and at a crossroads.

Feeling that he couldn’t continue to work at the pace he had become used to for nearly a decade, Hoeffel decided to hit the pause button in 2014 on a burgeoning music career. He quit producing music altogether in order to heal himself.

After a five-year break from music, Hoeffel has returned true to form with “Rome,” a soulful, uplifting pop-focused collaboration with Gwylo & Millé, released in January via Famouz Records.

We connected with Hoeffel via email to discuss his hiatus, healing process and why the time was right to return to music.

Welcome back. You were quite prolific for many years. How did you know it was time to take a break? How were you feeling at the time?
Kris Menace: I had a lot of self-doubts and pressure. I worked too much. All the traveling at the time, not being home, many labels and production works and all the other stuff I did was just too much for one person. Though I did archive what I was working for, I wasn’t feeling it anymore.

“The pressure to always deliver can cause serious harm. And yes, I’m still fighting with my demons.”

Many people suffering from mental health issues don’t know how to get help. How did you approach getting better?
I basically changed many things. I stopped taking on work and started to digitally detox. Then I started working and building things with my hands. To be honest, I started something completely different that helped me to take distances. I tried medicine, but most of them had the reversed effect on me. So I think that for the digital generation with all those bought likes, views on the one hand and rude commentaries and hate speech on the other hand, the pressure to always deliver can cause serious harm. And yes, I’m still fighting with my demons.

Did you work on music during your hiatus? What did you do to nurture yourself?
Not really. I started to play piano again and wrote some piano sheets, but I wasn’t proactively producing music. A good friend of mine is the reason I started again. He was not accepting my decision that I stopped making music. He is responsible for the new release.

How did you meet Millé and Gwylo, and how did “Rome” come together?
Mille, Gwylo and myself met through our managements. Gwylo and Mille wrote and recorded the soulful vocals while I was responsible for the instrumental and production. I’m so happy with the song as it has a very special and unique feel.

After everything you’ve been through, you’ve made an impressive return. What’s next for you in 2020 and beyond?
I’m already working on the next single, but nothing more, without any expectation.

image by Thommy Mardo

No paywalls, free to all. Help us remain 100% independent and unbiased. Please give to Big Shot by making a secure one-time donation to help us continue covering DJ culture and electronic music like we’ve done since 2003.

2019 Rewind: Red Nailmaker

Red Nailmaker

How was 2019 for you?
Red Nailmaker: It was the year the Red Nailmaker project started. I’m happy to see how warm these noises were met by the industrial-techno scene.

The first vinyl single by Red Nailmaker was released in April on Folgsamkeitfaktor, a new industrial sub-label by Wunderblock Records. Also, Red Nailmaker was featured on the WR label showcases in Berlin, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Sad to see a further commercialization of the techno scene.

Song of the year?
Not just a track, but a whole new album, Ostalgia, by the one of the godfathers of EBM and industrial, Rhys Fulber, on Sonic Groove. It’s totally over everything else that was released last year. Fresh sounding and epic work.

What’s your New Year’s resolution?
A lot of work on new music, new single on Folgsamkeitfaktor and then an album are in near plans.

No paywalls, free to all. Help us remain 100% independent and unbiased. Please give to Big Shot by making a secure one-time donation to help us continue covering DJ culture and electronic music like we’ve done since 2003.

Piem 5 Tracks of the Moment


Damian Lazurus‘ Crosstown Rebels welcomes in the new decade with the third installment of the label’s much-loved Spirits compilation.

Set for worldwide release on January 24, Spirits III is an all-star 12-track compendium of exclusives forged by dance floor titans such as Martin Buttrich, Denney & James Dexter, Harry Romero and Eli & Fur. Their offerings have been in heavy rotation in Mr. Lazurus’ sets for the better part of the past year.

Prolific Barcelona-based DJ/producer Piem appears prominently, contributing the fiery “Freak Out” – a kinetic, tribal-infused tech-house soaker – to the Spirits III collection.

Ahead of the comp’s release, we connected with the Spanish sensation, who has released on labels such as Relief, Mother Recordings and Superfett, and asked him to share his five tracks of the moment. Continue Reading