June 19, 2024

‘Click Interview’ with Chris Shape: ‘Living In Lockdown Is Essentially My Way Of Life’

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Cristian Camporesi is an Italian musician/producer/live performer/sound designer who has been involved with an endless list of projects. His latest solo-project CHRIS SHAPE is driven by old-school EBM, Minimal-Electro and Techno vibes. He last year released the debut album “Shaped To Deform” on Unknown Pleasures Records, which sounds a true masterpiece. Thirteen songs driven by power and danceable vibes featuring guest singers  HIV+, ALBERTO FRIGNANI, IV HORSEMEN, DAVE INOX, BLACK ASTEROID, RAFFAELLE VENTURELLI, VELVET KILLS and BLIND DELON. It for sure is one of the best EBM productions from 2020.

(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)

Q: You’ve been involved with an impressive number of projects/bands dealing with very different music styles. What do you consider as your main accomplishments and how did you finally come to set up CHRIS SHAPE?

Chris: This is simple: I’m an old man with a long career: this is why I was involved in lots of projects. My roots are in the 80’s New-Wave, Electronic and Punk music. I started my career in some local New-Wave bands in late 80’s, but in the early 90’s I was hit by Techno music and started to work with the historic Cocorico Club resident DJ in lots of projects from Techno to Psy-Trance to Hardcore to Eurodance. I was involved in lots of projects ‘cause my goal was to raise money, lots of money’.

In the early 2000’s I was very disappointed by the Techno scene and my accomplishment. When I met DJ Franz I realized that my New-Wave origins could mix with Techno giving life to a project without any pretension. A new project made for the pleasure of writing music and not to earn money: FRANZ & SHAPE became one of my greatest success. We started a tour that lasted 10 years and that took us to play all over the world. After the split in 2011 it took me years to start again; I had to understand who I was and what I wanted to convey with my music. In 2017 I decided to start again on my own, continuing what I had done with FRANZ & SHAPE, but also emphasizing leaving messages to try to sensitize people on introspective ‘difficult’ issues and denounce a capitalism that has made us unaware slaves. The first message was ‘Eat the bankers’!

Q: What does this project brings you in comparison with all others you’ve been involved with? Did you’d a specific idea and sound in mind how CHRIS SHAPE had to sound?

Chris: Now I’m naked! I’m myself, without shame, no masks. I understood that art ends where the money goes and I do simply what I feel. Nothing is left to chance, from music production and the use of sounds from vintage analog gear to the production of contents, images, videos everything must follow a logical thread. It took me a long time to find my way, but now I see it well!

Q: You last year released the debut album “Shaped to Deform”, which is featuring an impressive number of guests/friends. Tell us a bit more about how this work took shape and how did the collaborations with the other artists happened? What have been their input?

Chris: During the years in which I was looking for my own way I produced a lot of music, but I left all these songs unreleased because I had to find a wire that could connect all or at least a lot of them. Once I ‘had enlightenment’ it was easy to adapt everything to fit into an album. I have always enjoyed working with singers despite having produced Techno music without vocals for years. I had lots of demos written on purpose to be sung so I started sending them to several friends put together with a long work on social media and it was easy to target the right demo to the right singer. Usually my collaborators send me a vocal part which I then readapted on the song. Except for the song “Mind” where BLIND DELON besides singing have also brought a notable sound contribution.

I have to thank very much Pedro Penas Robles who believed in me and gave me the opportunity to print my album on Unknown Pleasures Records helping me in all aspects of production and endure all my mistakes!

Q:Like you’ve said, the songs are clearly driven by 80s elements like EBM, but still by some Minimal-Electro approach and Techno influences. What does it say about your personal sources of inspiration, the love for analogue equipment and the connection with the 80s vs. the cover version of DEATH IN JUNE’s “Heaven Street”?

Chris: DEATH IN JUNE together with THE SISTERS OF MERCY, THE CURE, BAUHAUS, CHRISTIAN DEATH, DEPECHE MODE and many more… were one of my favorite bands during my New-Wave period. Then during the Techno years I put all these records of mine in a closet. Only recently I discovered that all these records have continued to play in my head and have always influenced my productions. There is no escape from the rule: black is forever! I often found in my productions parts of ideas that I unconsciously ‘stole’ from DEATH IN JUNE or those 80s New-Wave records. When Pedro from Unknown Pleasures Records asked to do a cover for a DEATH IN JUNE-tribute I was very happy because I was finally able to pay homage to one of the groups that influenced me the most. In 2 days I had the instrumental version ready, everything magically built itself.

About my love for vintage analog gear there isn’t much to say: I’ve worked years with digital synths, but when I went back turning on my old synths I discovered the warmth they give off that I wasn’t ready to perceive before. What I love is what drove so many musicians to digital: imperfection. For about 10 years I have forced myself not to use the computer anymore and I have begun to travel to the studios of friends who have mythical synths that I can’t afford or incredible self-built modular systems. I have recorded hours of sessions, a lot of my past and future music comes from these sessions.

Q: Can you give us an idea about your way of working? Do you follow a precise pattern and do you need to be in a specific mood to compose music? And when do you know a song/album is finished?

Chris: The first rule is: there are no rules. The second is: there are never rules. The third rule is: error is human, perfection is for robots. ‘Mr. Mistake’ and I have finally become good friends and have a great time in our studio.

HAHAH Inspiration is not something linear, it is a large sine wave with a variable wavelength. I write music only when it reaches its highest peaks, I have also spent dark years in which I did not see it return, then I realized that if you call it sooner or later it arrives. I have developed a quite effective recall system and now I can get it to arrive with a few days’ notice: I am a sponge and absorb everything I like until the moment when I am full and everything is downloaded in one or more songs.

Knowing when a song is over is like looking at a painting, seeing that every brushstroke and every nuance are put at the right place and the whole vibrates something inside you. It is something absolutely individual, but when someone who has listened to one of my songs writes to me telling me that he has felt the vibration, I have reached my goal and that pays for every effort of mine, much more than money.

Q: In which way have you been affected as artist and simple citizen by the ongoing pandemic? How did you try to keep yourself busy during the lockdown and what are your further artistic plans?

Chris: I have been living with my daughter and my wife in the countryside for almost 20 years, surrounded by nature between river and hills, I have no neighbors, I have no television, I have not been ill for decades, I cut wood in the woods for heating, I cultivate my vegetable garden. The only information that reaches me is what I decide to come from books or the internet. Living in lockdown is essentially my way of life. Only on weekends I go out to work in clubs. Thanks to all of this I can see this pandemic situation for what it is: a huge propaganda work to promote the globalist agenda. The virus exists, but it is only an excuse, it is not strong enough to justify what they are imposing on us. Democracy is dead; we are in full dictatorship, big pharma is more powerful than any state and can afford to corrupt everyone. I am very sad to see so many people plagiarized by propaganda, but also very pissed off: they have destroyed the art world and left millions of people unemployed. I had to look for a new job out of the club world and now I have a lot less time to devote to my music than before. We will never go back; we are in a new Middle Ages: social networks have replaced our constitutions and allow themselves to censor what they do not like. In any case, history teaches: truth always finds a way to come out and whoever seeks it will find it. I can’t live without music so I’m always working for new stuff, new album, new collaborations, new remix 😉

author avatar
Inferno Sound Diaries
I have been working for over 30 years with Side-line as the main reviewer. My taste is eclectic, uncoventional and I prefer to look for the pearls, even if the bands are completely unknown, thus staying loyal to the Side-Line philosophy of nurturing new talents.

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