In a busy bar in Hell’s Kitchen, I meet Christian Voldstad for the first time. After brief introductions and drinks, we get down to business.
The Bespoke Musik Label resident is no newcomer to the scene. After signing on with Bespoke in 2015, the London-born, New York-based DJ has since become a regular not only in the local New York scene, but also at a desert-based festival known as Burning Man, that annually draws thousands of people. Voldstad has also performed abroad in places like Russia, Belgium and even Norway.
Voldstad’s sound is sometimes ambient, other times more dancefloor-oriented, but always melodic. After a lot of practice, thanks to countless opening sets, Voldstad is able to pick up on the mood of a crowd and adjust his style accordingly.
“That’s just part of being a DJ: being versatile enough to deal with different situations,” Voldstad says.
Voldstad plays for Bespoke parties almost every month, contributing his instrumental-based work to the label’s collective sound. Bespoke’s specialty is deep house.
How well does the New York scene accommodate deep house?
It all depends on the party, according to Voldstad. When Output in Williamsburg opens its rooftop for the summer, music switches from the typically hard-hitting techno to softer terrace vibes. Other venues, like The Brooklyn Mirage, host a diverse roster of labels, such as All Day I Dream and Afterlife, out in the open as well. And places like Louie and Chan in Manhattan and party series “Ebb + Flow” are breeding grounds for deep house artists in NYC.
What does Voldstad love most about DJing?
“I just enjoy the actual technique of mixing tracks together. When you’re mixing two tracks together and you get it right, it’s kind of like a jigsaw puzzle…and a lot of the time they’re not made to fit together, so you kind of click it in. On a macro scale, that happens the entire set…I enjoy the challenge. The object is to try to get the crowd to react.”
The musician also dabbles in non-profit work. He hosted a party in LA that raised over $1,000 for an organization, called Education Through Music, which provides schools without a music program with music teachers and instruments.
Voldstad holds several degrees in marketing and has worked in that field before becoming a full-time DJ. Even now, he still continues doing some freelance marketing for event production companies and record labels.
“It was pretty much the Bespoke thing that really pushed things forward, ‘cause it provided consistent bookings, and once you start playing consistently, people are like, ‘Oh, I like his music,’ and ‘I wanna book him for this’,” Voldstad explains.
An effective way of distributing sound is recording sets and uploading them to online platforms like SoundCloud. Voldstad’s commitment to uploading sets has helped circulate his work and his background in analytics helps him track viewership and target his goals accordingly–scoring more bookings as a result. “There are some DJS that are really, really good, but you never see any of their music online,” he says.
Voldstad’s recent projects include a newly-launched monthly radio show called Elysium, featured on the “Deep” channel of online electronic music-based Frisky Radio. Elysium features 2-hour sets every other month.
Listen to Voldstad’s tunes on SoundCloud.