Last month we sat down with Manchester DJ, producer, and label founder AJ Christou, to discuss Manchester vs New York – see here.
We invited AJ back to chat with us about all things Beats and Banter to delve a little deeper into what the future holds for him, both as an artist, label boss and UFC fan.
On the collaboration front, you’ve struck up quite the partnership with Puerto Rican producer Caleb Calloway with the news you have a new EP incoming following your recent ’Sweet Senses EP’ on Rawthentic, how did you and Caleb first meet?
Yep that’s correct, we have our next release end of January, Its called “Right Now” and comes with two dope remixes from Heartthrob and Christian Burkhardt. I first met Caleb at the Do Not Sleep pool party in Miami and just kept in touch, Sometimes when you try do collaborations with other artists it doesn’t work but this just flowed!
What do you prefer: producing in the studio, or DJing out at an event or venue, and why?
I’m going to go with DJing on this one, I went from raver to DJ to producer. I love being in a club the whole vibe is mint- everyone just lets go and has it.
Do you think carefully about where you’re going as an artist?
Yes definitely, its something I’m conscious of because I think its important to make sure you place yourself on the right labels/parties for what your trying do, that way you can always be yourself.
You started your label Celesta Recordings back in 2015, what was the inspiration behind creating a label so early on in your career? Was it something that you had prioritised over producing yourself, and did you have a clear idea musically what you wanted to showcase?
I actually never thought about it that way, its something that just happened, Celesta isn’t the first label I’ve run, I used to do Resonance Records with Max Chapman and this lead me to start my own label which was the birth of Celesta. I have always had a clear idea of where I wanted the label to go and I have always been patient with it, I don’t just sign stuff that is for the club and I don’t like to just stick within one genre, if I like it I will sign it.
Within 3 years the label has overseen releases from some of the world’s biggest artists including Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano, wAFF and Davide Squillace – you must be over the moon with the success you’ve had so far?
What can I say, dreams do come true! The level of respect I have for these guys is massive and it’s a huge honour to have their music on my label, really proud and I’m excited for the future of Celesta!
What’s your studio setup like? We understand you’re a keen Native Instruments user.
Yes! I love NI I use all their stuff even for djing. Most my drums are all created on Maschine.
Alongside the NI stuff I have an original SH101 which I use for most my bass, a moog 32 / TR8 and couple other synths, I try to keep it simple… for now!
How do you like to spend your time away from the studio? We’ve heard you’re a big UFC fan?
Well for me not being in the studio means I’m probably digging for new music, playing on my decks or out at a rave somewhere, Other than that I like to spend time with my family/friends and chill.
Haha I am I love MMA ! I have been to a few live events its such a buzz! I have got the game on PS4, me and the boys all get together every so often and do tournaments, it gets super competitive!