Category Archives: Retrobyte

Interview: Christopher Norman (Retrobyte) on life, success and Gareth Emery remix

Christopher Norman has spent the last three years under the pseudo name “Retrobyte”, offering roles as singer, songwriter and producer. 

During that time, Chris has had the rare opportunity of being protégé to Gabriel and Dresden and working with many other well established artists and labels.

This interview with the esteemed musician on music, life, and his recipe for success, marks the latest release on Curvve Recordings with his remix of Gareth Emery’s ‘More Than Anything.’

How did you come up with the name “Retrobyte”?
I hate to disappoint, but there’s really not a cool story to go along with it—it just popped in my head back when I was in high school and I let it stick. 

I’m making the slow (and painful) transition back to my real name and I’m starting to wish I didn’t have an alias in the first place!

Were you involved in any music classes in high school?
I started doing piano when I was 6 or 7, and that led to playing in band in school. 

I also went to an arts high school for two years and did piano there as well.

Who were your biggest musical influences?
Growing up I listened to a lot of Michael Jackson and Queen, and my parents both loved folkier stuff too. 

In recent history some big influences have been Jamie Lidell, Basement Jaxx, Ozgur Can, Feist, Gabriel & Dresden (of course), Robyn’s new record is fantastic…just too many to list!

What was it like working with Gabriel and Dresden? Was there any one thing that you learned from them that you feel is most important?

Working with them was a dream come true. 

I guess the most invaluable thing I’ve gotten from them is direction and knowledge in the industry—it’s really difficult to know if you’re going in the right direction, and they remain a great compass to this day. 

What advice would you give someone who is starting out at producing?

As trite as it sounds, keep at it and don’t get frustrated if your productions don’t immediately sound like hits—it takes a while to get up to snuff. 

And don’t let anybody tell you that you need a specific piece of kit or software—try things out and see what works for YOU, then go from there.

Do you experiment with different sounds?
A lot of people don’t know that dance music is actually a small part of what I do musically. 

I play guitar, I sing, I write.  I’ve been working on loads of non-dance stuff—now it’s just a matter of what I’m going to do with it! 

I’ve actually been really getting into dubstep lately and have been trying my hand at that—it’s proven to be a pretty interesting learning experience.

I do use an 808 tom at LEAST once in every track though.  See if you can find ‘em!

When you first heard “more than anything” was there anything in particular that excited you about the song?

When Gareth first came to me and asked me to take a listen, the very first thing I noticed was the vocal—I’m a sucker for a good, catchy male vocal. 

His material is also always incredibly well-produced, so that got my attention off the bat as well.

How did you originally envision yourself remixing it? Did you have a particular sound in mind? Or does it just come as go?

As anyone who has been in my studio in the past year knows, this song took me AGES to remix. 

I tried every single genre and went through my entire bag of tricks and nothing clicked. 

I must have gone through at least 10 different versions before I got to one that actually worked. 

This is probably the longest I’ve ever spent on a remix. 

From when I got the remix pack to when I turned it in, it was probably about eight months.

Is there anything that you feel sets this remix apart from your other productions?

This is definitely on the progressive / trance side of the tracks on my resume—usually I try to avoid that word and style like the plague but this one needed to be a bit more anthem-ish. 

It kind of brought that out in me.

Which of your songs or remixes have given you the greatest satisfaction and why?

I did a remix of Jose Amnesia & Jennifer Rene’s song ‘Wouldn’t Change a Thing’ last year, that’s probably one of my favorite ones to date. 

I put a lot of love into that mix—did backup vocals and played guitar and everything—and it’s one of the few productions I’ve done that I (for lack of a better term) just wouldn’t change a thing on.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Aside from music making, schooling, and the day job, I do a lot of cooking and baking. 

I’d eventually like to start a home mail order business for my baked goods and write a cookbook.

What are you currently working on now? Any upcoming gigs or projects?

I’m actually finishing my degree in the fall, so until I graduate I’m just focusing on production and songwriting. 

I’ll play a gig here and there, but no traveling or intense schedules. 

I’m doing a lot of production work with my good friend and fellow DJ Anthony Attalla, and we have a lot of stuff filtering out in the next couple of months. 

I have a few tricks up my sleeve, too, so stay tuned!

Is there anything else that you would like to mention?
My first original track (in over a year), ‘Otherside’ with Topher Jones, comes out July 14th on Black Hole. 

We’ve got some great remixes on the project (Patrik Bjorkman’s beats the original, I think) so check them out when they come out. 

I also just finished a cover of Martin Gore’s ‘Compulsion’ and posted it up for free download on my MySpace page: myspace.com/retrobyte

Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl (Norman & Attalla Remix)

Check out Christopher Norman’s MySpace for more cool remixes including Compulsion, Otherside, More Than Anything, Wouldn’t Change A Thing & Light The Skies.

Katy’s “I Kissed A Girl” lyrics:-

This was never the way I planned
Not my intention
I got so brave, drink in hand
Lost my discretion
It’s not what, I’m used to
Just wanna try you on
I’m curious for you
Caught my attention

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
I liked it

No, I don’t even know your name
It doesn’t matter
You’re my experimental game
Just human nature
It’s not what, good girls do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Hard to obey

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
I liked it

Us girls we are so magical
Soft skin, red lips, so kissable
Hard to resist so touchable
Too good to deny it
Ain’t no big deal, it’s innocent

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
I liked it

I Kissed A Girl

Price: $0.89
  • Original Release Date: June 17, 2008
  • Format: MP3, 256 kbps

Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl (Norman & Attalla Vocal Mix Preview)

Christopher Norman AKA Retrobyte AKA Chris (I still don’t like the new long name; BTW, he mentioned on his MySpace he’ll be using this name from now on.) has just informed me that he put up his latest remix of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl (Norman & Attalla Vocal Mix)” on his MySpace. And, of course, I’m flattered by the whole thing. Imagine getting the email from your favorite DJ. It was like having a cyber-orgasm.

Katy’s lesbian-experimental “I Kissed A Girl” is now topping the BILLBOARD HOT DIGITAL SONGS – TOP 50 for the second week. I bet it came out at the right time where every big city had Pride Parade. I was in Toronto this year, and it was awesome. All the big DJs from NYC such as Hector Fonseca, Tony Moran and Peter Rauhofer were there including Tiesto promoting his new release album “In Search Of Sunrise 7: Asia.” It was the best Pride ever!

Here’s a 4:46 preview (Should I really call it preview? Ah, what the hell.) of this remix. Take a listen.

Katy’s “I Kissed A Girl” lyrics:-

This was never the way I planned
Not my intention
I got so brave, drink in hand
Lost my discretion
It’s not what, I’m used to
Just wanna try you on
I’m curious for you
Caught my attention

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
I liked it

No, I don’t even know your name
It doesn’t matter
You’re my experimental game
Just human nature
It’s not what, good girls do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Hard to obey

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
I liked it

Us girls we are so magical
Soft skin, red lips, so kissable
Hard to resist so touchable
Too good to deny it
Ain’t no big deal, it’s innocent

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
I liked it

Soon I’ll be able to write my own song. I’ll go “I sucked a cock, and I swallowed it. The taste of urine and fructose. I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it.” Oh girl, it’s been confirmed you will never get HIV from swallowing, so keep sucking it dry. Shite, I’m off topic again. Check out his remix. I love the drum. It’s cool and catchy. Chris rules again!

I Kissed A Girl

Price: $0.89
  • Original Release Date: June 17, 2008
  • Format: MP3, 256 kbps

Christopher Norman Feat. 3pm – Turn On The Lights (Acappella) + Gabriel & Dresden with Scarlett Etienne – Eleven

Toolroom Knights Vol. 2 Mixed By Gabriel & Dresden CD2
01 – Christopher Norman Feat. 3pm – Turn On The Lights (Acappella)
02 – Gabriel & Dresden with Scarlett Etienne – Eleven

Gabriel & Dresden’s Toolroom Knights released on October 23, 2007. Order now!

Josh Gabriel “Summit”

Retrobyte featured tune of the month in the July 2007 Mixmag

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Yeah, read it!

Album Update from Retrobyte

Hey hey everybody!

Christopher here. The past few months have FLOWN by! So let’s get to the nitty gritty. For those of you who don’t know yet, right now I’m doing work on my debut album to be released on Gabriel & Dresden’s label Organized Nature. It’s definitely a lot of work, but it’s been a ton of fun putting stuff together as well. Last month I spent a couple weeks in San Francisco with Gabriel & Dresden writing some songs, and it was an incredible experience.

It’s going to be a dance record, for sure, but we all really are aiming for it to be a lot more organic – we’re doing a lot of guitar and a lot of electric bass, and definitely a lot of my own vocals. I have some great songs already down: “Turn On The Lights” is a song featuring the awesome vocal talents of my friend Casey Clark – some of you probably know him better as 3PM. G&D and myself have been playing this track out and it’s been getting a GREAT response! “I Can Remember” has my own vocal and is acoustically driven. “Known” is another one of my vocal tracks, and is probably my favorite thusfar.

I hope to be giving you guys some previews sooner or later as I’m really excited how this is all sounding! Hope to hear from you all soon 🙂

~ Chris

Jose Amnesia feat. Jennifer Rene – Wouldn’t Change A Thing (Retrobyte’s Bounce Back Mix)

Newly added remix to Chris’ MySpace, Jose Amnesia feat. Jennifer Rene – Wouldn’t Change A Thing (Retrobyte’s Bounce Back Mix). Another bounce series after his Electrobounce of Light the Skies. I haven’t heard the original of this song yet, but I think the piano part is very pretty. Check out his guestmix show on Globalbeats.FM

You can also pick it up on Armin van Buuren’s “A State of Trance 2007” compilation which was just released this past Tuesday in the states. Available at most music/book stores like Borders, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, etc. Also available for digital download via iTunes, Beatport, and of course at http://www.armadamusic.nl

Lyrics:

Close the door
Turn the light off
And before you drop come to me
I’ll be here when you wake up
Please don’t ever stop
Stay with me

If I could do it all over
I wouldn’t change a thing
Wouldn’t change a thing

I will spend my life trying to make you love me
Whenever you breathe
Whatever you need

Order Armin van Buuren’s A State of Trance 2007 from Amazon.com for $14.99 today!

CD 1: On the Beach

1. Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren – Light The Skies (Retrobyte’s Classic Electrobounce Mix)
2. Chris Lake feat. Emma Hewitt – Carry me Away
3. Sultan & Ned – Together we Rise
4. DJ Shah feat. Adrina Thorpe – Who Will Find Me
5. Kirsty Hawkshaw meets Tenishia – Reasons to Forgive
6. Rio Addicts – The Distance
7. Jose Amnesia feat. Jennifer Rene – Wouldn’t Change A Thing
8. Sunlounger – In & Out (DJ Shah Rework)
9. Alex Bartlett – Touch The Sun (Rank 1 remix)
10. The Blizzard – Kalopsia
11. Kyau & Albert – Always A Fool
12. Global Illumination – Tremble

CD 2: In the Club

1. Armin van Buuren – Miserere
2. Armin van Buuren – Rush Hour
3. Terry Ferminal Vs Mark Sherry – Walk Away (Terry Ferminal Mix)
4. Albert Vorne – Formentera What (Gareth Emery remix)
5. Michael Dow – Ascent
6. Rex Mundi – Perspective
7. Ronski Speed – The Space we Are (accapella)
8. Markus Schulz vs. Chakra – I Am
9. First State – Evergreen
10. Mike Foyle – Firefly
11. Nic Chagall – What You Need (Hard dub)
12. Filo and Peri feat Eric Lumiere – Anthem
13. Lost Witness vs Sassot – Whatever (Aly & Fila remix)
14. FKN feat. Jahala – Why (Aly & Fila remix)
15. Sophie Sugar – Day Seven
16. Sean Tyas present: Logistic – One More Night Out

Order Armin van Buuren’s A State of Trance 2007 from Amazon.com for $14.99 today!

Pre-Order Armin van Buuren – A State of Trance 2007 Today!

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Pre-Order Armin van Buuren’s A State of Trance 2007 fromAmazon.com Today!

CD 1: On the Beach

1. Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren – Light The Skies (Retrobyte’s Classic Electrobounce Mix)
2. Chris Lake feat. Emma Hewitt – Carry me Away
3. Sultan & Ned – Together we Rise
4. DJ Shah feat. Adrina Thorpe – Who Will Find Me
5. Kirsty Hawkshaw meets Tenishia – Reasons to Forgive
6. Rio Addicts – The Distance
7. Jose Amnesia feat. Jennifer Rene – Wouldn’t Change A Thing
8. Sunlounger – In & Out (DJ Shah Rework)
9. Alex Bartlett – Touch The Sun (Rank 1 remix)
10. The Blizzard – Kalopsia
11. Kyau & Albert – Always A Fool
12. Global Illumination – Tremble

CD 2: In the Club

1. Armin van Buuren – Miserere
2. Armin van Buuren – Rush Hour
3. Terry Ferminal Vs Mark Sherry – Walk Away (Terry Ferminal Mix)
4. Albert Vorne – Formentera What (Gareth Emery remix)
5. Michael Dow – Ascent
6. Rex Mundi – Perspective
7. Ronski Speed – The Space we Are (accapella)
8. Markus Schulz vs. Chakra – I Am
9. First State – Evergreen
10. Mike Foyle – Firefly
11. Nic Chagall – What You Need (Hard dub)
12. Filo and Peri feat Eric Lumiere – Anthem
13. Lost Witness vs Sassot – Whatever (Aly & Fila remix)
14. FKN feat. Jahala – Why (Aly & Fila remix)
15. Sophie Sugar – Day Seven
16. Sean Tyas present: Logistic – One More Night Out

 Pre-Order Armin van Buuren’s A State of Trance 2007 from Amazon.com Today!

Remixes of Light The Skies has been released

new releases, new shows, and everything else under the sun

hey hey everybody!

another late night post from the studio le byte. lots of stuff going on (as always), but it wouldn’t quite be me if I wasn’t up to my neck in work, right?

first and foremost, as most of you already know, my remixes of Light The Skies has been released on the Armada imprint Armind, and are available pretty much everywhere (yep, Beatport as well). This release has my superduper trancey “Light The Sidechain” mix that wasn’t available on the Baroque release.

Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren – Light The Skies (Retrobyte Remixes)

01. Light The Skies (Retrobyte Classic Electrobounce Mix)

02. Light The Skies (Retrobyte Light The Sidechain Mix)

The other news that I’m sure you guys have heard already is that my Classic Electrobounce Mix of Light The Skies is opening the State of Trance 2007 CD mixed by none other than the superfantastic Armin Van Buuren. This is really huge for me and Shawn Mitiska, Matt Cerf, and Jaren both, so we’re all over the moon about it! It’s already out now in the Netherlands and most of europe, but I hear it’ll be available in the US on Ultra June 3rd. I’m going to go buy myself at Border’s when it comes out 😀

Also just released is a track I did late last year called “Reconstruction” that’s out now on Dumb Recordings. I did a reinterpretation of it called “Deconstruction,” and there some fantastic remixes from my good buddies Micah, Dumb Dan, and Rowe. You can check it out over on Beatport here:

http://www.beatport.com/labels/Dumb+Recordings

In production news I’m keeping busy by working on remixes for Jay Lumen, Jonas Steur, Jennifer Rene, and Gabriel & Dresden, and of always there are more Cerf/Mitiska/Jaren ones to come as well. For originals I’m working on a ton of secret stuff that I’m going to be unloading one by one at my upcoming shows. Be on the lookout!

Speaking of shows, I’m opening for Gabriel & Dresden on Saturday night in Detroit at Club Bleu, and it’s bound to be a fantastic show. Elevation’s closing out the night and there are some fantastic people down in UnderBleu. If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out – i’ll be mingling all night afterward too. And for all you lone star staters, I’ve also just solidified my return to Texas! I’m playing Austin on June 8th, and Laredo on June 9th.

As always, I gotta jet and get myself in bed, but I’ll be back! Love, peace, and grease!

~ CN