CHRISTIAN RICH are twin brothers out of Chicago carving out their own path in modern music. With props from Pharell (below), Kanye and Diddy, they’ve produced for Lil’ Kim, The Clipse, Young Gunz, Foxy Brown, GLC and Armand Van Helden. Groovement caught up with them for some chit chat from a UK perspective.
Hello Christian Rich. What’s been the secret formula to bringing your work to everyone’s attention?
Understanding how to brand one’s self and the power that holds.
Please describe the elements of your music that make you stand out.
We tap into worldy music from folk music to bossa nova to hip hop to Afro beat, high life music. We are kids that were blessed to live overseas, so we were able to experience an array of sounds and life.
You’re working with clothing labels in tandem to making music: how important are these partnerships to you? Have you found them a good way to get people to know who you are?
Oh yeah, there is no line drawn between music and fashion. The worlds are one and the same. We are blessed with great people from BBC/Ice Cream, DC, and other great brands.
Caught Diddy’s new sound on UK television the other night: have you had a hand in that?
Well, he loves our sound and I think he gets inspired by all the producers who’ve been working on that album with him.
How have your studies in advertising and design helped you out in the past couple years? Do you see CR as a brand and concept rather than two individuals, or how do you balance this out? Will you be looking after your sleeve designs personally?
Our studies directly shaped our understanding of branding and marketing through consistent advertising. The passion for design comes from just being visually stimulated by life and art and modern design as well as classic European and classic American furniture/culture. CR is one big ass Brand but we don’t anticipate creating any clothing lines; maybe accessories but not a clothing line.
Would you say that Neptunes production in particular has been a big influence? Which parts? What are your other big influences?
Of course! We couldn’t believe there were other producers who love the same types of chords and harmonies that we did. We love Henry Mancini, Birds And the Bee, Timbaland, Dilla, Premier, Quincy Jones, the list goes on…
Pharell seems to be associated with the Decadence – how’s he helped you guys out?
He and Shae see our vision and help to continually cultivate that vision for us.
What are the pros and cons of working as a duo? Is one of you bossier/more stubborn than the other?
We are both very bossy and stubborn, so sometimes one of us has to back down and let the other take the lead.
What new releases are doing it for you?
Anything from Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane, Black Keys, Calvin Harris, Swedish House Mafia or Armand Van Helden.
Have you heard much of the emerging UK electronic wave of new music? Artists like James Blake, Pariah, Paul White, Bullion to name a few.
No, but I’m gonna check them out now.
Is hip hop tired? Is yes, what are the ways forward for it? If no, what/who makes it fresh?
Hip Hop is well and alive through Soulja Boy, Drake, Nicki Minaj. People forget that hip hop is creating your own lane and having your one fan base, movement. The people I just mentioned have created their own worlds and are doing excellent things in representing their music.
I believe we’ve yet to see your live incarnation in the UK – what makes it a little different?
It’s coming from us, we are the difference.
What are your release plans? More downloadable mixtapes or a full LP?
New album coming out last quarter or first quarter. More collabaration and like always, many surprises.