Article | Chrissy Murderbot | Low End Theory

Low End Theory

Chrissy Murderbot takes juke to an International audience.

Interview by Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 05.11.11

TOC | Chrissy Murderbot

Except for a few noteworthy car and cell-phone branding campaigns and the loveable Kid Sister, juke has remained a predominantly Chicago phenomenon. Lifelong lover of booty beats, Windy City resident Chris Shively is setting out to change that—and then some. Not satisfied with merely bringing the hyperactive footwork beats to new audiences, he’s evolving the sound through his productions as Chrissy Murderbot, most notably on Women’s Studies, his new LP. We reached the 28-year-old on tour in the U.K. to find out more about where he’s taking juke and what his European audience thinks.

Have you focused exclusively on juke and footwork on this tour?

Not at all. I’m trying to make it clear that there are the true-school footwork artists—I’m outside that scene, even though I’m tied to it—and I’m more about playing all sorts of stuff. I’ve been playing juke and footwork, but also booty bass and post-dubstep and even a lot of house. I’ve been all over the place.

In ’09, I described you by saying, “in Chrissy Murderbot’s world, all music is created equal.” I was going to go back on that, but it sounds like I shouldn’t.

If you tie yourself to just one genre, even if you’re amazing at it, there is going to come a time when people’s tastes change. It’s going to make it harder for you to make a living. I’ve really made an effort to make people associate my name with being able to expect any kind of music.

Yet in press for your new album you call it a “juke and booty music game changer.”

I think it is. I think it’s going to open up a dialogue in terms of, “Who says you can’t mix juke and grime and booty bass and dancehall?” That’s really what I’m trying to do, is mix things up a little bit.

Your presence in Chicago has become very intertwined with the South Side juke scene. What attracts you to it?

Incorporating juke and footwork into my sets on European tours, I saw that it was helping building a response and I found a synergy with people there. I started wanting to take Chicago artists out into Europe and promote things. That’s what we’re doing now. This is the first time we’ve had footwork dancers come with us overseas and perform.

For the uninitiated, can you describe some of the nuances of juke versus footwork?

There’s a lot of overlap. It’s like asking what the difference between rap and hip-hop is. Generally, juke is more four on the floor. It’s the stuff you play at parties. Footwork is the stuff with the more sideways rhythms that are a little more varied. You’d play it at a battle and instead of having a dance floor, you’d have two dancers or four dancers squaring off in a circle.

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Chrissy represents for the scene this weekend at Pithfork music fest. He plays the Blue Stage at 1pm on Saturday.

Give Chrissy Murderbot's Women's Studies a listen in full:

 Chrissy Murderbot - "Women's Studies" (ZIQ294) by chrissymurderbot


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