Exclusive Interview: Kris Menace

Kris Menace is one of the most respected producers and DJs in electronic music today and his remixes for Depeche Mode’s “Fragile Tension” have been some of the most well received remixes in a long time. Here Kris talks to HOME not only about his remixes, but you get his insight about much, much more.

The last few years have been very busy for you, what brought you to electronic music and how did you get interested in making it?

I grew up surrounded by a very music interested family. My father was a record collector mostly into Chicago and New York disco and my sister was into new/dark wave. Thruogh her I later discovered electronic music.

With your record label Work It Baby being so well respected, why did you start the label Compuphonic?

Work It Baby was always more for friends rather than a playground for myself. It also does not reflect the music I personally do. Work It Baby is known to be a French house label and I felt that I need something where I can really do what I want without limitations or people telling me what to do. That’s why Compuphonic was born.

As an artist and label owner, how do you feel about music and Blog culture? Other then exposure, do you really see any positives with so much music being made available for free?

For newcomers it’s very hard to get attention with so much music out there. Through the “non physical” and so, non-touchable format I think a lot of respect and value for music in general is gone. Back in the days you saved your money and bought a vinyl record or cd. Youu read the artwork on and on and listened to the tracks over and over. These days you get mp3s for free everywhere, a mass of music releases are coming out every week and we all have thousands of mp3s on our computer totally loosing the value of the work from the artists, producers, makers and creative. Otherwise I think that through blogs talented people from all over the world have a chance to spread their music. But for sure the internet is and was responsible for a big change of the music market, as we know it.

With music production software becoming so accessible, do you think the quality bar has been lowered? Also, do you think the online retailers are doing enough to keep themselves from being cluttered up so proper releases are not being lost?

For myself, I feel that the music quality has been totally lost over the last few years. There was once a guy who was a specialist in mix downs, another one was only into arrangements, than there were the real musicians, the vocalist… all these people nowadays are mostly just one person. When you hear an old record you know what I mean. There was another spirit then than nowadays. Another problem is that everything that is released was already there and people do copy and rip more and more. Its hard to try new things, as everybody wants to have a big release or hit rather than doing creative things. And if you do those creative things, most of the time, nobody respects that.

I have seen your music labeled as everything from Electro House to Techno, are you comfortable with what genres your music has been labeled?

To be honest, I was never a friend of this shoe-box-thinking genre stuff. Music is about feelings and not about categories. The good thing about these days is that everything is allowed. Lady Gaga mixes house beats with dance and R & B lyrics, Black Eyed Peas are doing electro Kraftwerk sounds with hip hop… so I think all this genre stuff is only interesting for specific djs playing specific music rather than to the audience. I always try to be focused on people who listen to music at home, but still try to keep the expected sound so that people can also dance to my music in a club.

Do you enjoy remixing as much as making your own productions?

With remixing, you’re always very limited to the parts you get and to the band and the A&R’s who have to agree to your work. The A&R and bands except a certain sound from you and a certain schema. I always try to escape from that, but it’s hard. So when you already have vocals and other parts you have to work around them. That can be very creative, but also very intense and hard sometimes. My own productions are easier to do for me, as I can do whatever the fuck I wanna do. But in the end, I do really enjoy both sides.

How did the Depeche Mode remix come about? What were you thinking when you were approached to remix such a legendary band?

I was very honoured of course. Depeche Mode have been a big influences for me over the last few decades. It’s not happening a lot that I put myself under pressure, but when you remix somebody like Depeche Mode all the eyes are on you and everybody expects it to be great. People are mostly disappointed by the remixes made from Depeche Mode songs, as they are never as good as the originals. On the other hand, I understand that the “remixers” want to deliver something innovative to get respect. Tough thing…

Are you a fan of theirs and if so, how long have you been interested in their music?

My sister has all the Depeche Mode records and so I had a big influence coming from her. I was asked once in an interview a year ago what would be some acts I would love to remix and I named “Depeche Mode”! I really love the band and their characters. They are legends!

Were you asked to make two remixes or did you just offer them two and they approved them both?

I originally started the remix with a friend and gave up on it. So I started something new. I was really happy with the new remix and wanted to record the proper version. By mistake I opened the arrangement of the first draft I had done with my friend and thought that it’s not too bad as well. Than I played around and the second remix was done quite fast. I was very surprised that they took both versions.

One of your side projects is called Love On Laserdisc and I noticed you named one of the Fragile Tension mixes that, why not just put it out as a Love On Laserdisc remix?

Love On Laserdisc is the project I do with a friend of mine and it wasn’t known at that time. Originally I just named it “Love On Laserdisc”, but the contracts with Mute said that my remixes have to be named under the “Kris Menace” name. So my manager and Mute agreed that it could be called “Kris Menace’s Love On Laserdisc Remix”.

The Universe mix and the Love On Laserdisc mix are pretty different from one another, do you prefer one over the other?

I personally love both remixes. If I would have had more time I would have reworked the Love On Laserdisc remix production wise. I think the Universe remix is maybe one of my favorite remixes I’ve done. In the end, I’m only happy when the Depeche Mode fans and audience do like it, as it’s all about them!

Fragile Tension has had such a mixed reaction from the Depeche fans, but your remixes have been extremely well received. How does it feel to get a comment like, “Kris Menace made that song listenable!”?

Wow, now I get a little bit red in my face! To be honest, I’m very happy when people enjoy my work, as it’s my art and my possibility to express myself! I always try to keep my shit together, but not to forget the audience, as it’s about delivering great music to them and not about stupid ego shit.

Is their much of an intimidation factor when you remix for bands like Depeche Mode, Air, or Roysopp knowing your remix is going to be critiqued by a massive built in fan base?

Yes, if big bands are requesting a remix you put yourself under a lot pressure. Sometimes you don’t have as much time to work on the remix in regards to time schedules of the labels. And than you should be well awarded that, if you don’t deliver some good remixes, your career as a remixer can be over tomorrow. All that pressure is poison for your creativity.

After hearing the original, was it difficult to decide what direction to take the remix in?

Can I be honest with you? I haven’t heard the original before I finished the remixes! When I received the parts, I only kept the vocals and deleted everything else. Than I started to build the backing and sounds around them. I thought that one of the most important things for Depeche Mode fans would be to keep Dave’s vocals on it. Unfortunately the vocals already had effects on them (so called “wet” mix down) and it was hard to work them in the mix.

Have you gotten any feedback from the band on your remixes?

I heard that they were really happy with the remixes and sent me thanks through their management. I was very happy when I read the email. Most of the time you don’t hear too much feedback after you delivered your remixes. But sometimes it happens that bands even called me. Like LCD Soundsystem and we become friends.

I think the Depeche Mode fans will really like the Love On Laserdisc sound, are we ever gonna see a full length release under that moniker?

Yes! We are working on a long player, but I have so many other things coming up this year that I can’t say when we’re gonna finish it. I really want to let the time decide when it’s ready rather than rushing something out.

You released your debut album Idiosyncrasies this year and have done some big remixes, what can we look forward to from Kris Menace?

I really enjoy DJing these days and tour all over. I will start doing some live-gigs mid of the year. I also have a new project with a friend of mine called “Black Van” and the first release called “Yearning” will be out on the New York label DFA, home of LCD Soundsystem in February. I’m also about to finish my next album in the coming months, which will be a really big, big surprise for everybody! I’m sure that Depeche Mode fans will be really into it! But the very next release I’m involved is the release of my “Work It Baby” label’s 2 cd anniversary release with a lot of exclusive tracks out in February.

For More information on Kris Menace, please visit:

Interview by Glen. (C) HOME. Do not steal this article without giving full credit and a link! Photos appear courtesy of Kris Menace. Photos taken by Thommy Mardo.


  • Painful


    Cool job, Home people! Nice interview.

  • Julian


    I enjoyed reading it! Kris is the MAN! :)

  • Sean


    Good stuff.

  • Inch


    Universe mix - in which official mute format it is available? Not on 12" and not on remix cd single...

  • Monica


    I love electronic music! I also listen to some Kris remixes and he is awesome. This interview made me like him more. thank you for this post.

  • Donna


    Kris <3