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The Sounds that Shaped Me: Charles D


Electronic Music Producer/ DJ – Charles D is coming off an impressive 2019. The quality of his progressive sound draws on a mix of synths and external sequencers, representing a hybrid of hypnotic arpeggio synth lines with dark saturated techno baselines. The evolution of the signature Charles D sound is gaining momentum with each release and performance.

Charles says “I’m about to be 32 years old, and 10 years ago I was really getting into Electronic music and in 2012 Eric Prydz was making his first trip to the US for the Identity Festival Tour, it was a big deal because he never travelled inside the United States. At the time he had released his ‘Eric Prydz Presents Pryda Compilation’ which featured tracks like Allein, SW4, Shadows just to name a few. I was obsessed with Allein and M83 – Midnight City (Eric Prydz Remix) they were always on satellite radio.

I remember when I went to that concert at Jones Beach Theater 8 years ago, I recall leaving and talking to my friends after the show on how all his tracks were amazing, and I specifically remember mentioning how I loved how they were all long records (7 to 8 mins) in length”

For some reason, I really enjoyed that aspect of it, the long crescendo, the evolving arpeggio grooves for 64 bars, and catchy but aggressive baselines. It was a progressive house, but so much more. Sophisticated and full of depth and contrast. So as I got more interested in his music, I realized at the time he had another alias/moniker under the name of Cirez D, and that’s when EVERYTHING CHANGED.  

At the time techno wasn’t on my radar, and I wouldn’t have even had considered it was techno, I just knew it was darker and I liked it, and it still had that Pryda touch to it, especially with the arrangement style and hypnotic melodies like in his Cirez D tracks ‘Glow’ and ‘On & Off’. Cirez D is what got me into Techno.

From there it was just me going down the Rabbit Hole and expanding my taste and discovering particular styles that were made popular on labels such as Drumcode and Terminal M. In 2017 another artist Cristoph released his EP ‘The Duel’ on Last Night on Earth, and a few months before the release he did a guest mix for Eric Prydz’s Epic Radio and I was blown away by his track ‘The Duel’. It was a progressive house track, but with an edge and the same type of arrangement style that I really enjoyed. As you know Cristoph has released on Eric’s label Pryda Presents numerous times!

Last Night on Earth is a label I hope to one day release on. Eric Prydz and Cristoph’s sound are definitely what has shaped my sound. When my peers ask me, what do I call my style, I always say its Progressive Techno. My music is built up with Melodic leads, Progressive Breaks and Builds, Techno Low End and Dark Stabs.

Ahead of him playing on Tuesday 17th March for Deep Tech Los Angeles and Dock Records at the C-Level Rooftop of the Cleveland South Beach Hotel, we asked him to give us five tracks that shaped his sound.

1. Strobe – Deadmau5 

One of the very first records I heard that got me into Electronic Music, remember hearing it for the first time at Roseland Ballroom in 2011.

2. Eric Prydz – Allein

This record gave me a new and fresh perspective into progressive house at time. It has the qualities and the making of an amazing record.

3. Cirez D – On Off

First time I really got my feet wet into the Techno genre, but still had progressive elements. Just listen to the lead melody it’s always changing and evolving and so dam hypnotic! 

4. Cirez D – Dare U

The entire track is based off this pitched up synth riser that continuously works its way up to the drops, it’s actually quite mind-blowing especially in the club environment. I always love to have long risers that build for 40-48 bars, where it goes on for a bit longer than usual, it really creates a progressive vibe.

5. Cristoph – The Duel

I love the catchy melody but simple enough where it doesn’t feel to proggy or trancey and the snare/clap groove gives it a laid back feel.

On Tuesday 17th March join Deep Tech Los Angeles and Dock Records at the C-Level Rooftop of the Cleveland South Beach Hotel for a showcase for a smörgåsbord of THICC Beats! This year at the Winter Music Conference (WMC) they team up for this massive showcase. Playing on the night will be Redux SaintsDJ IDeaL, Exodus, Deep Tribe, Lady Verse, XENAA, Charles D (US), Umber Bandi-Ville and Kane Music. You can grab tickets from RA.

Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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