How Chris Luno Successfully Built a Touring Career From Youtube DJ Mixes [Interview]
Within the span of just a few years, Chris Luno has carved his path from recording a viral YouTube mix series to becoming an international touring sensation.
Having found his calling by attending a rave in Germany, Chris Luno embraced the scene and started solidifying his presence with DJ residencies in the Netherlands. Back in 2019, Chris embarked on a captivating YouTube mix series, with infectious sets in locations that range from awe-inspiring to cozy. This venture, which has now amassed an impressive 50 million collective views, not only showcased his mixing prowess but also catapulted him onto the global stage, earning him a collaboration with deep house mainstays Tube & Berger.
Chris Luno's latest recorded mix is a 1-hour sonic journey from the Dolomites, a mountain range in northeastern Italy.[embed]https://youtube.com/watch?v=AXbyzRa65uc[/embed]
Now a full-time touring artist, Chris Luno's influence extends well beyond his mixes. His productions, championed by industry giants like Diplo, Gorgon City, and Claptone, have garnered over 10 million streams on Spotify, while his diverse discography, found on labels such as Anjunadeep, This Never Happened, and Purified Records, underscores his versatility.
With his latest single, "See You Again," released via Sekora, Chris weaves emotive vocals into an organic and deep house arrangement. This track is a testament to his signature style, characterized by emotive melodies and soothing production. As Chris Luno continues to ascend, "See You Again" marks another milestone in his journey from YouTube sensation to global dance music force.
Take a listen to “See You Again” below.
We caught up with Luno for a interview to discuss "See You Again," his mixes on YouTube, touring life and more.
EDM.com: You just released your new single “See You Again.” Can you share the inspiration behind the track and how it came to be?
Chris Luno: The record came together a few years ago, in Berlin Kreuzberg.
I wrote it on my last day at work, before becoming a full-time musician. I finished my last day in the office and went straight to the studio, where I started to play around with the marimba. I’ve added some synths and a beat, some ear candy and then I took the mic to sing on the track. I actually never sing on my tracks, but at that time it felt like it made sense.
The lyrics that I chose were a bit different than in the final version though, more playful and, to be honest, quite random. It went like, "You know the feeling, when you come home, you turn the screen on, and watch some Pokemon." I liked the idea but felt like a proper vocal could elevate the tune. A few weeks later I sent the track to a singer friend of mine, Azhar, he wrote some lyrics and recorded the vocals that can now be heard on the track. I’m really happy how it turned out and I love to see the reactions it got so far.
EDM.com: Your music career was elevated by YouTube; how did creating these mixes and how did the platform contribute to your success as an artist?
Chris Luno: Haha, that first mix was such a lucky accident. At the end of 2019 I bought a GoPro camera to film some underwater videos on a planned trip to Bali. To test the camera, I first clamped it onto our vacuum cleaner robot, which resulted in a funny time-lapse video, where the robot rushes through my apartment in the most random way. Next, I attached the GoPro over my turntables in the freshly vacuumed living room.
Then, I played a laid-back house set and uploaded the recording to YouTube, not knowing that this video would be viewed by millions of people a few months later. In fact, not much happened immediately after the upload. It took half a year for the algorithm to show the video to a lot of people from all over the world. Shortly afterwards, I received fan mail for the first time and was asked for an autograph card haha. That was really wild. Since then, the touring got more and more and at the same time, I continued to produce and release music on labels such as Anjunadeep, This Never Happened and Purified Records.
So yes, I’m super thankful that the YouTube gods helped me put my tunes in front of people’s screens. And I think that GoPro was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.[embed]https://youtube.com/watch?v=zA0oeoXNM0c[/embed]
EDM.com: Transitioning from the realm of YouTube and the studio to the live energy of touring can be a significant shift. How did you adjust to the demands of touring life?
Chris Luno: Before working on my own project, I already got a taste of how touring as an artist looks like. Right after graduating my studies, I interned for German Deep House act Tube & Berger, where one of my roles was to handle their tour management. So already before my touring started, I knew what I was getting myself into.
When the touring got more I decided to only drink water during my shows, which really helps me stay productive. What also helps me to deal with jet lags and tour stress is taking some me-time before the show, doing cold showers, disco naps, morning saunas and also the occasional meditation. Also, if you’re traveling a lot, these hacks might help you too:
– When boarding the plane, wait outside until everyone else enters. This way you might find an empty row of seats where you could nap.
– Sign up for airline memberships and collect miles, it’s free and worth it.
– Bring your own bottle to the plane and get it refilled. It’s more sustainable and you can stay better hydrated than with tiny plastic cups.
– Download music production tutorials and watch them while traveling.
– Bring slippers on tour. This way every hotel room feels more homely.
EDM.com: What have been some of your most memorable moments on the road?
Chris Luno: Playing at the UEFA Champions League final festival in Istanbul was an absolute highlight this year. The experience really felt like a movie and I love how this gig came together: It turned out that there was a talent scout present at a previous performance I had in Istanbul. This scout apparently had a good time and then decided to book me a few weeks later.
EDM.com: At this point in your career, you've traveled the world and played at various iconic venues. How does your global exposure influence your current music, and do you draw inspiration from specific cultures or places?
Chris Luno: I love to immerse myself in the places that I’m staying. The longer I stay, the more it affects my creative output.
For example after moving to Berlin a few years ago, I sometimes went out just to listen to what music makes people dance. Just by putting myself into the perspective of a dancer, I’ve learned more about kick drums, basslines and arrangements, than by spending hours on music tutorials. I’ve produced quite a few tracks fueled from those lessons on the dancefloor. My recent release “Sterny” is one of them.
Also, when I spent some time in Bali last year, I got captivated by the traditional instruments that can be heard all over the island. The rhythms that are played, for example on a Gamelan, are really out of this world and don’t follow classic scales and structures. I didn’t use any of the actual sounds in my tracks but still learned a ton about grooves from this peculiar instrument.
EDM.com: Your productions have already received praise from a number of industry heavyweights. Are there any artists on your bucket list for future collaborations?
Chris Luno: Yes, there’s a long list at the back of my mind! I’d immediately jump on a collab with the following, that I’ve spent hours listening to, according to my Spotify Wrapped 2023 report: Marsh, Monkey Safari, Rezident, Stephan Jolk, DJ Koze, Jody Wisternoff, Nils Hoffman, Adam Port and Hot Since 82.
If one of you is reading this… slide in my DMs.
EDM.com: Looking ahead to 2024, what are your plans and aspirations? Any upcoming projects, collaborations, or milestones that you're excited to share with your fans?
Chris Luno: Looking at next year, I’m looking forward to a nice blend between music writing, gigs and time spent with my wifey, friends and family.
When it comes to touring, I’m going to be in Cape Town, South Africa, early next year. From there, I’ll be playing a large-scale North & South America tour in spring, which is followed by a festival summer in Europe. In Autumn I’d love to be around Asia/Australia.