By Barry de SilvaNational Communications Manager
Where it began
“Music is everything to me – it’s part of my job at SAE to teach people how to create music, and when I’m not doing that, I’m making music at home, or with friends who are also in the industry,” Chris enthused.
At the age of 13 and still at high school, Chris started making music, jamming with friends and playing at parties. After leaving school in 1990, he went over to the US.
“The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival fired up my creative energy”. Inspired by acts like The Meters and Manny Fresh he started a funk band called Capital F and a hip-hop crew called 9th Circle.
“Capital F, had the good fortune to be included on a Warner Music compilation album and got the opportunity to record music with Eddie Piller, the Head of Acid Jazz Records.”
Away from hip-hop music, Chris has been exploring new music and new sounds through his masters degree.
“I’m making space music. In my masters project I’m exploring how it has manifested in different genres of popular music and so I’ve been creating cosmic jazz, flying saucer rockabilly, space lounge, and psychedelic space rock.
“My research lens reaches back to the 1950s, because that’s when electronic music really started to manifest, so you have all these possibilities for sonic representations of outer space, and that’s the focus of my study. It’s not about space imagery or even the lyrics, it’s actually about the sonic aspects of audio and music.”
Sharing his knowledge
With over 50 releases as a musician, producer and lyricist during the course of his career, Chris said that his greatest achievement to date is in the impact he’s had by sharing his knowledge at SAE Adelaide.
“In terms of industry impact, training two decades of audio engineers is a major contribution that I’m immensely proud of.
“It’s really satisfying watching a light bulb moment where you can see a student thinking about the endless musical possibilities available to them from a new idea or skill you’ve provided.”
“Students really appreciate the experience I’ve had in the industry. It generates a new level of interest and respect, and until students respect what you do, learning can’t take place.”
Over the years Chris has taught many students who have gone on to great things including Emma Sainsbury (Eluize), who’s based in Berlin and produces house and techno music – receiving over ten thousand monthly listeners on Spotify.
“With Emma, I could tell from the start that she was going to go far because she had everything going for her. She was really attentive in class, and I could see her taking in every idea and formulating them in her own way.”
“I’ve also had students that have gone off into different fields like Anthony Frith – who directed Lessons from a Middle Class Artist, which was featured on ABC.
“When it comes down to it, anybody that improves their skill level by the end of their time with me is a success in my eyes.”
For those who are just starting out and want to learn how to make music, Chris shared some valuable tips from his lifetime of experiences in the industry.
“Don’t mimic your inspirations – be confident in using your own voice and ideas. Listen to different styles of music, because sometimes an artist’s music will take you on a journey and show you something totally new you hadn’t even thought of. Music is like the universe – it’s infinite.”