IN CONVERSATION WITH CHRIS LUNO
Enter the realm of Chris Luno, where the sun sets and beats rise. Originating from Mainz, Germany, Chris delved into the electronic music scene during a transformative night in a German rave. Dedicated to supporting the scene, he secured residencies in the Netherlands while meticulously studying Media Management. Tube & Berger recognized his talent, leading to a collaboration that elevated his production prowess and DJ skills. Also, Chris’s YouTube mix series accumulated around 50 million views, launching him onto international stages, such as venues from Phonique in Mexico City to Ulu Cliffhouse in Bali. His productions, endorsed by industry giants like Diplo, Nora en Pure, and Claptone, have amassed over 8 million Spotify streams and found homes on labels such as Anjunadeep and This Never Happened.
In this interview, Chris Luno offers insights into his journey through the electronic music scene, the inspiration fueling his vibrant mixes, and the evolution of his signature sound.
Can you share the story of how you got into the world of electronic music and what drew you to the rave scene?
My musical journey started out when I was around 17 years old. Back then, my mum had a car, which I was allowed to use once per week. Her car radio only had CD slots, so I started creating new CDs for each week’s drive. I was also drawing a lot during that time, so I created little artworks for those CDs too. It was a beautiful little hobby and once I noticed that my friends were all secretly shazaming the tracks, I knew I was on to something. Little did I know that my weekly rides in that Opel Astra paved the way for getting me that deep into the matter. When I moved to Leeuwarden, Netherlands, to study Media Management, the CDs were replaced by a DJ controller, turntables and music production software. All in all, getting into music was a very intuitive journey, step by step, going down a rabbit hole.
Could you tell me about your experience working with Tube & Berger and their labels Kittball and ZEHN Records? How did this collaboration come about and shape your music career?
In order to graduate my studies, I needed to do a 7-month internship at a company in the media field. Since I’ve been dragged deep into the world of electronic music already, I figured it might be insightful to get some work experience at a music label, which is why I sent my application to Kittball Records. They immediately responded and said that their label-heads Tube & Berger would be interested to speak to me. I was crazily excited and a few weeks later I was hired as their assistant, tour manager and marketing person. After an exciting 7-month internship, they hired me full time. I joined them on shows all around Europe and later we started working on music together too. I think spending hours in the studio with them and looking over their shoulders helped me improve my tracks and mixes quite a lot!
You’ve achieved success on YouTube with your mix series, accumulating 50 million views. What do you think has contributed to the popularity of your mixes?
I think my recipe is: sticking to the same concept and keep on curating tunes that deliver good vibes. For every set I’m posting, I usually record 3 sets that didn’t make it on the channel. Also, I’m spending hours and hours finding music that I really feel.
Your DJ sets often take place against breathtaking backdrops. How do you balance your music with these environments to create such a unique blend both sonically and visually?
I’m drawing a lot of inspiration from the location that I’m planning to shoot the set.
When I recorded a sunset mix in Ibiza for example, I felt that the mix should have a drizzle of nostalgia, to celebrate the rich and diverse history of the island. Therefore I went through my music and only selected tracks that could represent that mood. In my Berlin club set on the other hand, I looked more at cutting edge house tracks that would be able to move a crowd and make people dance.
Performing at the UEFA Champions League Final in Istanbul, Turkey, this year must have been an incredible experience. Can you describe what it was like to play at such a high-profile event?
Around 4 weeks before we got that booking email, I was playing a show on a rooftop club in Istanbul. Apparently, the UEFA Champions League Festival talent buyer was at that show too! This is how the ball started rolling, literally.
When the inquiry came in, I really thought it was a scam though (laughs). It turned out to be legit and I’m still buzzing from this experience. Playing music on a huge soundsystem like that felt as if I’m djing for the first time for real. Funnily enough, there was an after party planned where some soccer players were hanging out. Next to a handful of other DJs, I was casually invited to spin some tunes there with my mate CEAUS, but somehow we didn’t get into that club as they forgot to put us on the guestlist…
Your music has received support from industry giants like Diplo, Gorgon City, and Claptone. How does it feel to have your work recognized by these influential figures, and how does it motivate you in your creative process?
Seeing legends like Diplo, Claptone and all these guys spinning my music really feels like a movie. With all the different trends in the industry, e.g. TikTok Techno and sped-up remixes, this is a confirmation for me that I’m on the right track and that it is okay to do my own thing, not looking left and right.
Your music is featured on different labels and you play at various stages. How do you strike a balance between creating music for different audiences, such as the club scene and for more laid-back settings?
Sometimes, I go out in Berlin and just listen to the music and observe how people dance. In some of those nights, I learned way more about producing music than by actually producing music. Seeing people move in a club setting and engage with each other is so real, and shows raw emotions, tension and release. It already happened that I went home after a night out, just to open the laptop and produce music for the rest of the night, with the goal to capture that energy. These tracks tend to be more club-focused and danceable than my other productions, that I’m writing e.g. on the couch with a nice cup of coffee. All in all, my music is never really planned out, but more like a reflection of the mood that I’m in.
Can you tell me about new music or other projects we can expect from you soon?
I’m currently touring a lot and trying to deliver my tunes to a dance floor near you! My next shows are in Vancouver, Canada and Nairobi, Kenya. I’m also taking a few weeks off to write new music in Costa Rica in November. My goal here is to write 10 track ideas in 10 days! In case you’d like to see how this is going, I’ll keep you posted on my ‘gram @chrisluno.