SLT FEB24 Evian)Christ

The resurrection of Evian Christ

Tom Peeters

Kanye West drummed him up for Yeezus, he collaborated with Travis Scott and Danny Brown, but meanwhile producer, DJ and composer Evian Christ is also building a career for himself. The prodigy of the British electronic underground is finally presenting his debut.

Trance sensation Evian Christ doesn't mince his words: “Flying straight towards the sun at the speed of light is instinctive for me. I'm not building castles in the sky, that is the apocalypse.” In the specialist DJ magazine Mixmag, he wanted to help explain why he would be satisfied with nothing less than the biggest smoke machine, the brightest light, the loudest kick drum, and the most intense bass line.

The euphoric state he aspires to along with a full dance floor is the bright spot of his existence, but at the same time his worst nightmare. “I like watching helicopter crashes and I love trance music,” he says. That paradox is also the foundation of Revanchist, the DJ and producer's long-awaited debut released last autumn.

Just over a decade ago, Christ's career shot off like a rocket. Kings and Them, the mixtape he had cobbled together in his garage with the software programme Cubase still as a student in 2012, immediately impressed the hip Tri Angle Records, who offered him his first record deal. After his studies, he left to tour the United States. Kanye West had him co-produce “I'm In It”, one of the tracks on Yeezus.

After Waterfall, his 2014 debut EP, he signed with leading electronica label Warp. His first release was the temporary art installation and performance The Trance War, but the first proper single only followed in 2020 with “Ultra”. In between, he scored with productions for artists like Danny Brown and Travis Scott, adding electronic ammunition and credibility to their mainstream hip hop. But it was the Trance Party club nights he hosted as far back as November 2013 in London and Manchester, that made his reputation and helped spark the trance revival.

Christ himself describes his euphoric debut as “the fucking greatest hits nobody ever heard.” He thinks the reason it took so long to materialise was unrealistic expectations. Suddenly, everyone thought he would only work on No 1 records, but he lacked the experience and know-how to do that. Reflection dawned on the producer-DJ, born as Joshua Leary from Ellesmere Port near Liverpool where his career began by poking around in the stacks of records of his stepfather, another trance DJ.

The spirit of the times proved merciful to him: “Saying you liked trance was still a guilty pleasure in 2014. We are so far past that now.” It seems like trance music has stood the test of time precisely because it dares to be unabashedly emotional. Christ opening the gates of both heaven and hell amid the unrelenting bass, pumping synths, as well as endless romantic and nostalgic vibes takes advantage of it.

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