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Get to know Chrissy, the living embodiment of a ‘DJ’s DJ’

The Midwesterner in California specialises in lost rave classics you heard in a dream

  • Words: Joe Muggs | Photo: Bailey Greenwood
  • 7 December 2018

“’Resilience’ does feel like the culmination,” says Chrissy Shively, “of... years of records and gigs.” He’s not joking. As Chrissy Murderbot, Chris, E Pants, Chrissy & Hawley, and through his and Alex Burkat’s Nite Owl Diner label, he’s built up an impressive discography over 15-odd years, covering jungle, footwork, house and all points in between. And his DJ career goes back even further, and has perhaps been even more impressive. This is, after all, the man who The Black Madonna once called “one of the best DJs to ever walk the earth”. And if you don’t believe her, check out his ‘Year Of Mixtapes’ series where he showcases his preposterous knowledge and maniacal mixing ability with just about every genre ever invented in dance history.

Now he’s just plain Chrissy, and is releasing his debut album under that name. A gloriously unadorned party beast of a record beamed straight from 1990, it’s packed full of echoes of UK and Belgian rave intensity and US house and garage staples with just a few modern tweaks. “Those early European rave records,” he says, “they just seemed impossibly exotic to a kid who had never been outside of Kansas and Missouri.” His Midwest upbringing was far from conventional, though. His mum and older sisters exposed him to post-punk, electro and house when he was “still way too young to realise that wasn’t what everybody listened to”, and by 13 he was attending raves. At 15 he was DJing, and has been “plugging away ever since.”

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