Young success can often be a dangerous gauntlet to tread without experience on your side—helping you mitigate unforeseen risks and leverage a balanced approach. One man of late has gone against the grain of expectation, forging an illustrious career as a producer, label owner, fashion designer and touring DJ while juggling this amalgam of skillsets with fluid ease, youthful confidence and assurance.
AJ Christou, the Manchester-based head honcho of Celesta Recordings, has been responsible for some of the most in-demand output in recent music, accruing respect from the likes of Jamie Jones and the Martinez Brothers–Christou in fact signed to Cutting Headz records after relocating to New York after a year of activity, coupled with further releases on Toronto imprint Rawthentic. He asserts himself within the landscape of tech-house as one of its front-runners, with consistent, high-quality releases and well produced tracks immediately leaving a positive impression among some of the scene’s most well-established names.
He is a man who wears many hats, a versatile and rare talent who seems to excel at most things that he tries his hand in. Whether it be fashion, his productions, his record label or his fairly rigorous touring schedule, his accolades and recent achievements speak volumes for a burgeoning talent, who is quickly gaining traction and getting attention in the right places.
In 2014, Christou founded Celesta Recordings—a label focused on underground minimal and progressive techno. After 3 years, the label has managed to accumulate some of the largest names in modern dance music, harnessing the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano and Davide Squillace.
His currency has appreciated over the course of the past year; he has enjoyed an up-spike in popularity throughout the dance music world, propelled by a recent string of high-profile events and a steady stream of strong releases. His fashion label Valour has also seen a surge of popularity, promoted by Darius Sirossian and Loco Dice, while also receiving positive recognition and further plaudits on Instagram.
What separates Christou from his peers is the versatility of his musical output; he runs a fine margin between commercial big-room tech-house and edgy, underground music—possibly drawing influences from his Manchester roots and UK bass culture. His music still keeps true to the underground sound, while at the same time incorporating traditional tech-house influences, bridging the gap between commercial accessibility and underground sensibility.
His music posseses a maturity beyond his years; it plays host to a mixture of styles and rich influences, already catching the attention of some of the world’s most eminent DJ’s and musical talent. It seems as though Christou is one step ahead of the competition, his finger closely on the pulse of dance music and its myriad trends, a forward thinking trendsetter, his ear close to the ground with an industrial work ethic to match.
It is clear that his creative process is closely foregrounded by his formative musical influences; he has indexed soul music as having a strong bearing on his approach to music, as well as neo-soul, hip-hop and R & B. You only have to listen to his rework of Gbona to understand why, a tech-house afro infused roller that has been infiltrated with warm, soulful Fender Rhodes style piano, snappy afrobeat lyrics while silky saxophone licks contrast against a backdrop of raunchy and articulated bass. He claims to have fallen in love with electronic music in 2009, his personal mantra “music is the universal language” reflecting the idea that his music is a communicative project.
Recent gigs have pitted him alongside dance music heavyweights such as Black Coffee, Bradley Zero and Jamie Jones at Hï Ibiza, Loco Dice’s birthday party at Ants Ibiza, while whisperings of virgin North and South American tours have been getting louder and louder. It seems as though Christou has his work cut out for him, an in-demand talent who stands right at the vanguard of modern dance music.
All in all, Christou seems to be a genuine talent, juggling a multifaceted career while impressing big names in the industry to boot. His musical output is bold and bright, adding a welcome sense of variety to tech-house; oftentimes a fairly uniform genre of music. New projects see him collaborating with Joey Daniel and Jean Pierre, among others, a sign of more interesting things to come for the Mancunian jack-of-all trades.
Siberian-come-Neapolitan DJ Anfisa Letyago is about to embark upon her first tour of South America. The Russian born DJ—who has cemented herself as a versatile, rapidly rising DJ and a heavyweight producer in her own right—is set on bringing her signature cutting-edge sound to four different countries across an 11 day period, spanning Uruguay, Peru, Chile and Argentina.
Landing in Uruguay, Anfisa will begin her tour with a late night set at La Farmacia accompanied by local mavericks b2b Producciones, after which a short hop to Peru will see her playing at La Casona de Camana in Lima, a vital location for all music heads north of the Rio Plata.
After this short stint in Lima, Anfisa will be setting her sights on the next leg of her tour in Santiago, where the illustrious Club Eve will be playing host to her talents for an early morning set. Expect low slung grooves and oscillating, swelling basslines.
Two shows in Argentina will round off Anfisa’s maiden tour of South America, stopping off in Buenos Aires to grace Crobarwith her inimitable sound, alongside the multi-talented Violett. The final leg sees Anfisa playing in Cordoba at Peñon del Aguila, a must-visit multi purpose venue in close proximity to the local Cordoba brewery—another practical reason to put on your dancing shoes!