Chris Stussy Brings the ‘Mysteries of the Universe’ to the Dance Floor
Chris Stussy Brings the ‘Mysteries of the Universe’ to the Dance FloorJune 22, 2022
When it comes to deep house, few and far between have routed the scene quite like Chris Stussy. The Dutch artist’s smart, sinuous, and tripped-out tracks have gained an unquestionable reputation as some of house music’s best-selling and most reliable dance floor weapons over the past few years. He started his production journey in 2015 with releases on Nervous, Large Music, Inner City Records, and PIV Records, where he previously worked as the label’s A&R — a smashing success of an imprint that first signaled Stussy’s keen ear to influential house purveyors worldwide.
Since then, he’s upped his game significantly with an onslaught of sleepless tours and exceptional festival performances that have brought him to over 20 countries. With 30 various singles and EPs under his belt, along with remixes for the likes of Kerri Chandler and Mark Farina, his most recent efforts see him focused on his Up The Stuss imprint, which recently saw the release of his Mysteries of the Universe EP. A follow-up from last year’s wildly successful joint release with S.A.M., Get Together EP, Stussy’s Mysteries of the Universe is his first solo release on his esteemed label, which first launched in late 2020.
Packed with prattling synthscapes, punchy rhythms, intergalactic melodies, vocoded incantations, and more, Mysteries of the Universe is a thriving four-track package of attentive deep house commotion. To mark the release of this latest EP, we caught up with Stussy to learn more about his dance floor origins, the sonic framework behind his Up The Stuss imprint, his plans for the summer, and more.
Hey Chris! Thanks for joining us. How was the first half of your 2022?
I couldn’t have wished for a better start, to be honest. I’ve had so many great shows in the last couple of months. I found and made loads of new music and could test the new tracks out, which felt amazing to do in different continents and on various sound systems.
You’ve had numerous gigs booked worldwide this year, from South America to the US and all over Europe. What have been some of the main highlights from your travels so far?
To be travelling to North and South America numerous times already in the past six months has been nothing but amazing. Club Space in Miami was one of the highlights for me in the USA. Also, LA Sound Nightclub was unreal, and alongside that comes the scenery around those cities (Los Angeles and Miami).
I like to take photos during my travels, and this experience next to my shows made the total experience even better. It made me look at the cities differently, and it’s also an excellent way to discover them. Also, in South America, I have great memories of Chile.
My friends from 5unset events/the klan invited me for two great shows there, and the crowd there is just another level. The energy they have during an entire set is just incredible. There have been too many good moments, to be honest, and I could write many more things about other countries like Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil, but I would need a few pages!
How and when did you first get interested in DJing and producing? Which came first?
I was 15, and a friend of mine had this DJ controller called Hercules with a laptop and a bunch of tunes he was mixing with Virtual DJ on his birthday. Since it was his birthday, he couldn’t be behind the decks all day, so he said “bro, jump on and play some stuff”. I didn’t know how it all worked, but I kept playing for the entire day.
From that moment on, I just knew I loved it. I wanted to learn everything. I bought a little controller myself, and the rest is history. When I was 17 or 18, I started to mess around with Fruity Loops, so definitely DJing came before making music, but it all went very natural, to be honest. I began by using loads of loops and combining stuff together.
There weren’t many tutorials back then, so I had to freestyle it all by myself as none of my friends at the time were producing any music. It was a pretty tricky process for me, but I kept going as I was just so intrigued by the entire process of making music and being different from others. That intrigue is what kept me going every day. I had periods (let’s say the first three or four years) where nothing really worked for me, but I learned the basics, and eventually, some releases came out of it. That’s where things picked up for me a little bit.
How have things been going for your Up The Stuss imprint since it launched in November of 2020? What are your plans for the label moving forward?
Since launching the label, everything has been great. The amount of support everyone has given the label is so good to see. All my friends who have contributed with an EP have meant so much to me, and to see the sound of the label shaped little by little is something very exciting for me personally.
Looking forward, I’m always on the hunt for new artists who I think do something different. I’m looking for music and artists that have their own unique style. Since making music is much more accessible than a few years ago, it’s definitely easier to start, but it’s also harder to stand out with your own sound.
What are three words you would use to describe your label’s sound?
Diverse, Dancefloor, Storytelling.
What is the story behind the label’s overall aesthetic direction (logo, artwork, etc.)?
Up The Stuss was made on the dance floor in Sydney, Australia. I was playing there, and a few people came up and said “up the stuss” to me, meaning they were looking forward to my set. It then turned out to be a hashtag on the Identification of Music group on Facebook, where people search for track IDs, and after a few months I thought “this is the label’s name, done!”
The logo came from the idea of two arrows pointing upwards. We had several ideas, but the designer who we trusted nailed the logo, in my opinion. The artwork for the EPs are photos of buildings or other objects; feel free to use your imagination on how you picture them. It follows the same pointing direction as the logo.
I worked with some photographers on the first batch of releases, and now on the road while traveling. I’m taking and capturing loads of future artwork images myself. For example, I made the image for the upcoming release on the label.
Tell us about your new Mysteries Of The Universe EP. It’s your first solo EP on the label and your first in a while, right?
Yes, it’s my first solo EP, and it features a remix from Giammarco Orsini. There’s also a digital bonus track, so it’s essentially a five-track EP. It felt really natural to do something solo this time after the 2×12” inch release I did in collaboration with S.A.M. last year (exactly one year ago). It’s my second release this year; in January, I had a four-track EP on the Parisian label Yoyaku where I showed a bit deeper side of my music, which I am still playing in my sets now and then.
I had so much fun making the selection of the Mysteries Of The Universe EP. There was a point where I had about 20 tracks finished and had a few studio sessions with my manager where we just sat down and made a selection every time. The tracks we have selected for the final EP are still, to this day, my favourite ones. The freedom I feel right now when making music is just something special.
Who are some up-and-coming deep house producers that have grabbed your attention recently?
I think there are loads of good up-and-coming producers. Some have been doing it for a while, and others are pretty new, but I love stuff from T. Jacques, Mad.Again, Wodda Bee, Picasso, Duowe, and Garrett David — he’s already been smashing it for a few years, but I always play all of his stuff.
What are you most looking forward to this summer?
Being together with friends, not thinking about anything, just having a good time and enjoying good music and food — the things we all love the most.
Of course, I’m looking forward to all my summer shows. I’ve made so much new music for the whole summer, and I’ve signed some incredible music that’s forthcoming on Up The Stuss, so I will definitely all be road testing this the coming months.
Chris Stussy’s latest EP Mysteries of the Universe is out now via Up The Stuss. Check it out on Beatport.