This past week I had a chance to sit down with one of Denver’ hottest up-and-coming DJ’s, Chris Cornell, to get an exclusive inside look at this hunky rising star.
MJ: So tell us a little about how you got started in the DJ world.
Chris: Well, I’d say it wasn't the normal route you would expect for a DJ. Music has always been part of my life! I was raised in the club scene once I was able to go out and dance, but before the DJ in me came out, I actually graduated from the Colorado School of Mines but decided I didn’t want to be an engineer. I went to DU and got my MBA but realized accounting was pretty boring. (laughs) Then once I got the serious life “stuff” done I said to my husband, Scott, one night, “I really wanna make my DJ career happen.” It had always been a dream of mine. My husband’s answer was, “Let’s do it. What do we need to do?” And from there, I’m now sitting here talking to you about what’s happened in little over a year from then!
MJ: How did you get your first break?
Chris: Man, talk about the hardest part of getting known in this industry. Finding a club, bar or venue to take a chance on a no-name DJ who’s looking to break into the scene is just about as emotionally challenging as anything you can imagine. I will tell you most places we approached were just unsure about taking a chance on someone who wasn’t established. So, it was a polite no to most places. But luckily, my manager kept banging down the doors and I got an audition at Tracks Denver. After the audition, it was a “thumbs up” and they scheduled me for my first night. It was essentially up to us to promote the hell out of this and make it as successful as we wanted it. I’d say looking at how things are now; we did a pretty good job! (laughs)
MJ: It’s hard to believe that in one year you’ve managed to land a solid residency at the biggest gay club in Denver that boasts some amazing talent that already works there, grow you fan base, and now I hear you will be playing at Global Dance Festival at Red Rocks this coming Saturday (July 19th). You’ve had quite the amazing year huh?
Chris: Wow, when you put it all out there like that, it does seem pretty amazing huh? (Laughs) I believe I’ve been very fortunate in how things have played out for me and I’m super honored and blessed to be one of the Resident DJ’s at Tracks and to even be considered and asked to play at Global this weekend, and of all nights, Saturday night. It’s something that I never thought would even happen. Not only is spinning at Global such an amazing opportunity, but the fact that I also get to play in a national recognized venue like Red Rocks is just still an overwhelming feeling to me. So grab your tickets from globaldancefestival.com STAT!! (laughs)
MJ: So what other big parties or festival’s do you have in the near future…or can you tell us?
Chris: Well, I know we are working on a few parties, but we can’t say much now. But as my manager Ramon says, “It all looks promising!”
MJ: What parties would you consider to be up there with Global as far as the dream parties you would like to spin?
Chris: I would definitely say White Party and a Matinee Party would be my next goals in the future! It would be amazing to play for any of those parties!
MJ: What advice would you give to up-and-coming artists, such as yourself, who are looking to get into the scene?
Chris: Practice, practice, practice and don’t give up. Put yourself out there and know that things won’t just happen for you. You have to put in the time, the effort, and the money to start something like this. If I’ve learned anything it’s that people won’t hand you anything…You have to work for everything you get. But it’s totally worth it!
MJ: What do you do usually start with when preparing for a set?
Chris: I usually start a week or two out and start going through new and old music and start building a basic set; like a framework for the flow of music for the night. Inspiration for sets comes from everywhere. I might hear an old Thunderpuss Mix when my iPod is shuffling and I’ll say, “That’s going in this weekend!” Then I start practicing the set, the transitions, making sure the transitions mix well in key and that the flow from one to another make sense and sounds good!
MJ: How important is building a relationship with the music you’re playing for your own approach; there’s so much music out there, so how do you make something “your own” when you spin?
Chris: Well, that’s the tough part. Making “your own sound” is something that comes as you learn more about yourself and what you like to play. I believe it’s hard to express myself in my music without vocals. So if you’ve ever heard my sets or my podcasts, there are always vocals and amazing melodies. I believe that the vocals in any song help take you on the highs and lows of the song that make them so memorable and keep your ass shaking through the night!
MJ: Is there anyone you’d like to give a special shout out to in this interview?
Chris: I think I would just like to say thank you to some special people. First, to my amazing manager, Ramon Corro, who pretty much made all this happen. To Erik and all my Tracks Family because you guys are the most amazing people to work with. To all my friends, family, and supporters…You all make what I do worth it. Coming out and supporting me every time I play is the most amazing feeling you can ever experience. And lastly, but not least, my amazing husband Scott. He has been by my side and is my biggest supporter. He calms my nerves before I play and is my rock. I love you babe!
MJ: Where can people go to find your music online or in general around town?
Chris: Well, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at DJ Chris Cornell. You can also find my music on SoundCloud and Podomatic at DJ Chris Cornell as well. I have my monthly residency’s at Tracks, so you check out my website at www.djchriscornell.com or my social media for those dates!