Few artists who identify as a producer and DJ have as impressive a resume as Chris Karns. Trusted by some of the biggest names in music to set the stage with his blazing turntablism skills, Karns is following up his World DMC Championship title with a packed schedule of party rocking. Having wrapped a highly praised tour with hip-hop superstar Yelawolf in late 2012, Karns has enjoyed an undeniable reputation long-sealed by his live and studio work with some of music’s most popular names: Bun B., Kid Rock, Paul Wall, Bassnectar and Travis Barker. This is not a man who burns a few CDs, fades tracks in and out and calls it a day, but rather an accomplished master of his craft.
At a time when the word “DJ” no longer carries with it the weight of a once vibrant vinyl culture, it’s a relief there are passionate and talented artists like Chris. Since his early days inspired by his musician father and spinning on a $20 turntable, he’s rocked more than a dozen overseas tours and played everywhere from Singapore to London to Japan. Honored with the highest possible DJ title in 2011 at the DMC World Championships, Karns is known as one of the fastest scratchers and beat jugglers in the game, incorporating drum machines and other components into sets stacked with raw energy. Whether he’s at home producing beats for renowned rappers (see 2010?s Required Taste album with Othello) or in front of insatiable crowds weaving together a versatile set of hip-hop, dubstep, house or trap, Karns is an obvious natural who’s set the bar high for himself and, by proxy, his contemporaries.
Called a “gifted turntablist” by Rapzilla and a man with a “constant, keen ear for musicality” by Amoeba Records, you can immediately hear Chris’ taste making skill for sleuthing out new sounds. But you might also hear the vintage serrated guitar riffs of Hendrix, soulful vocal samples by Stevie Wonder, or the unmistakeable funk of Sly and The Family Stone. It’s a unique juxtaposition that presents itself as the true stamp of a music lover, compounded by years of passion, commitment and experience, and it’s this kind of artist who will undoubtedly take DJing to it’s natural next level.
“I’m proud that I’ve been able to envision myself doing things and achieve them, whether it be at the DMC or playing huge festivals,” Karns surmises. “I know good things will continue to happen if I work hard and do my music for the right reasons — the love of music itself.”