Chich: “No Time for Hands in the Air”

Marceline and Chich 2019
This week in the series MY FIRST GIG, the Luxembourgish DJ/producer Carlos Fernandes a.k.a. Chich. “I struggled with stage fright.”

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We had known each other for several years before we finally got around to an interview. This week in the series MY FIRST GIG, the Luxembourgish DJ/producer Carlos Fernandes a.k.a. Chich. “I struggled with stage fright.”

“I was born in Mozambique, but we moved to Portugal when I was just one year old. That was short-lived, as we only stayed in Lisbon for a year. Then we settled in Luxembourg. This has been my home country for 48 years now.”

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Alternative Music

“My parents loved music and mostly listened to Portuguese songs. In my early youth, I had more of a preference for disco. I also did theater. Later, I delved into rap, EBM, and alternative music from bands like Bauhaus, Depeche Mode, Front 242, and U2. I discovered electronic music in Belgium.”

Electronic Music

“It happened like this. After high school, I went to boarding school in Bouillon, Belgium. I studied electromechanics there. At this boarding school, there were also some guys from Brussels. We quickly became friends. They listened to a lot of electronic music, which they of course brought to school. Think Chicago house, new beat, and EBM. ‘You have to listen to this!’ they said.”

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“Together with them, I went to my first dance party. That must have been around 1993/’94. It was an Amnesia event in Brussels. I didn’t know what hit me! ‘Wow, what is this fucking music?!’ I found it super special and was deeply impressed. I immediately felt a connection with this genre.”

The Finer Points

“In 1994/’95 I returned to Luxembourg. That’s where I learned to mix. I already had two Technics turntables and a simple Numark mixer since I was eighteen. It didn’t even have a crossfader.” (laughs) “A friend named Flowers – yes, really! – eventually taught me the finer points of mixing. A year later, I bought a Rodec mixer.”

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Techno DJs

“During that period, I organized various parties with three friends, Claude Kass, Gianfranco Miris, and Flower. We booked various techno DJs from the Netherlands and Belgium. For instance, in 1997, Danny Casseau a.k.a. DJ TRAX-X a.k.a. Atom-X was on the agenda, known for the track Molecule 66. I also learned a lot from Danny.”

A Night of Partying

“And so we come to my first gig for an audience, which naturally took place at our own first event. The event was held at Café Interview in Esch-sur-Alzette (LUX). Of course, I was extremely nervous. After all, it was my first time performing for an audience. However, I hadn’t prepared anything. I couldn’t have anyway. On Friday, we first went to school, then got in the car and drove to Brussels. There, we picked up the latest music from a few record stores and continued our journey to our regular Brussels clubs Extrema, Montini, and Boccaccio. The next morning, after a night of partying, we drove back to Luxembourg, where I had to perform on Saturday. No, we didn’t sleep much in those years.” (laughs) “And you understand that I certainly didn’t have time to listen to that new music first. I had to use it right away that evening.”

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Stage Fright

“My nervousness was clearly visible during that debut. My hands were shaking. Additionally, I struggled with stage fright. ‘I hope they come.’ ‘I hope they stay.’ And: ‘I hope it goes well.’ I still experience stage fright at every performance. I believe it’s part of the process. If you no longer feel it, you’re lost. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing at Awakenings or for just twenty people, you should never perform on autopilot. You are not a machine.”

Music for the Girls

“Luckily, many friends were there that first time. They were incredibly enthusiastic and later came up to me, showering me with compliments. ‘You played an awesome set!’ That motivated me enormously to continue as a DJ. I didn’t have a girlfriend at that time. For me, it was all about the music. For most people, music came before girls. That’s different nowadays. Now it often seems more about the girls than the music.”

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No Autocue

“This doesn’t mean I didn’t make mistakes. Of course, I did! My friends corrected me here and there. We didn’t have autocue back then, so sometimes it was impossible to maintain harmony between two consecutive tracks.”

Jeff Mills

“My biggest inspiration is undoubtedly Jeff Mills. I first saw him perform in 1995. It was also the first time I heard real techno. I immediately knew: ‘This is the music I want to play.’ Jeff played like a madman. I really thought: ‘This man comes from another planet!'”

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“Not long after that first gig, I became a resident at a big club in Luxembourg, Café de la Gare. That was in 1997/1998. Here, in collaboration with Tresor from Berlin, I booked many Tresor artists, including Eva Cazal and Pacou. On the night they performed, I also booked my good techno DJ and producer friend Paulo Perreira a.k.a. A.Paul. It was his first performance in Luxembourg.”

No Hands in the Air

“Have I learned anything from that first time? Absolutely! When you mix with vinyl, you always have to pay attention to what you’re doing. You don’t have time to put your hands in the air because, before you know it, things go wrong. If you want to play perfectly, you need to keep your focus while mixing. I also have some tips for upcoming DJs. Number 1: Stay true to yourself. Number 2: Create your own style and don’t copy others. Third: Create your own universe. And last but not least: regardless of the equipment you use, whether it’s CDJs, vinyl, or Traktor, engage the audience with your music. Tell your story.”

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“In 1996/1997, I released my first own production together with Danny Casseau on Subsound Records. Many years and releases have since passed. Since 2015, my friend Tuttle and I have had our own techno label, Modulhertz Recordings. Soon, I will be heading back into the studio to create new music.”

“Of course, the dance scene was on hold in recent years. However, I still played online at In 2019, I also bought my own club, Ground Luxembourg. During the corona period, I completely renovated it. We’ve been open again for a while now. I’m also getting booked more often again. For instance, I’ll be heading to Amsterdam (Submerge) soon, and I have a booking in Strasbourg coming up. Additionally, I rent out large sound systems to festivals and big events. So, I have plenty to keep me busy.”

This interview with Chich is originally published on This Is Our House in April 2022.

Who is Chich?

Born in Mozambique, raised in Luxembourg, Carlos Fernandes aka Chich ispart of the electronic music scene for over 20 years now, either by DJing worldwide, by his studio productions or even, for being, over the years, one of the main techno faces in Luxembourg, promoting events and the scene in general since 1989.

In the studio Chich has produced solo, and also with some great friends like Danny Casseau, Vic Miranda, Tuttle or A.Paul, releasing tracks on labels such as Naked Lunch, Ekho Port, TK Records, Subsounds, and on his own Black Pitch Music (with Danny Casseau) and more recently Modulhertz (with DJ Tuttle).

Chich’s experience and his lifetime friendship with Naked Lunch’s founder A.Paul, led him to become part of the Naked Lunch project, after an invitation in 2013.

Besides being a resident DJ at the Naked Lunch label nights, Chich also plays a key role in the artist management of the events. As far as he’s concerned, Chich will carry on with his mission, keeping the underground alive!

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