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Forty Cats [Interview]

23 min read

Forty Cats has made a significant mark in the global progressive house scene. Her first milestone came with the "Highway" debut EP on Lane 8's This Never Happened label in 2019. Two years later Forty Cats made a dramatic shift in the sound direction, releasing on esteemed progressive house labels like Sudbeat, Mango Alley, Soundgarden, PlattenBank etc., gaining support from industry legends such as Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren, Guy J, D-Nox, Lane 8, Above & Beyond and more.

Later on, Forty Cats expanded her reach with international performances in Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and Armenia, and a debut tour in Argentina in 2023. As of today, Christina continues to captivate her audience with new releases, compilations, and DJ sets, maintaining a strong presence in the progressive house scene and touring globally. Coming off a prolific 2023, Forty Cats introduces her new label PURRFECTION Records with the debut 'Nocturne' single alongside a remix by Kyotto.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Christina to learn more about the release of 'Nocturne’, her new PURRFECTION imprint, DJing and more. Enjoy.

Hi Christina, thanks for talking to us today. How has your start to the year been so far and please tell us something interesting about your day today?

Hello guys! Thanks for having me on the interview again! The start of the year on my end is full of high hopes and big plans: I plan to move out from Armenia where I’m currently residing to Portugal, the country of my dreams for the last few years. Fingers crossed - I’m going to be a European resident soon which will make my touring routine so much easier.

Looking back on 2023 what gigs of yours have stood out and why?

I don’t even need a minute to think of the right answer - it was definitely my debut tour in Argentina! This country is famous for its fantastic club culture and loyal fans, and it was all true when I arrived there. These were some of the greatest shows I’ve ever headlined for sure!

What’s a piece of music (not your own) from 2023 that had the biggest impact on you, and what makes it outstanding for you?

If we’re talking about progressive house tunes, I’d say Julian Wassermann - “My Side”. This track was probably the most frequently-played track in my sets last year. Speaking of the other genres, Max Cooper, Leftfiled & Jon Hopkins caught my attention last year and were on repeat for many weeks.

Take us through a typical day when you’re not travelling, what does a day in your life look like?

My normal day is quite a simple one: I wake up late being an ‘owl’ all my life, have a breakfast watching YouTube videos, then do some domestic duties, spend some time with my family and friends, go out in the city if I have business to take care of there, then go back home and spend the second half of my day in front of the laptop — working on the new music, guest mixes, and now on my upcoming label routine too! When I’m not in the mood to work - I play video games or watch Netflix.

You have a new single ‘Nocturne’ out now as the first release via your Purrfection imprint. Tell us a bit about the release and how it showcases your current sound.

‘Nocturne’ can be described as melodic progressive house with a bit of old-school vibes implemented. I’ve been looking back to the golden era of our scene (early 2000s) lately — this kind of sound inspires me a lot.

The release also includes an amazing remix by Sri Lankan artist Kyotto. What is your thought process behind remixer selection and why was he such a good fit for this project?

The majority of the remixers I pick are my close friends from the scene who I have built great relationships with, as well as true professionals. I can always be sure of the high-level results of their work. I met Kyotto during my first show in Sri Lanka. He's one of the leaders of the local scene and a very kind person.

Let’s talk a bit more about your new label ‘Purrfection’. You’ve released on a lot of high quality labels over the years, Mango Alley, Sudbeat, This Never Happened and more. Why did now feel like the right time to start your own imprint?

Over the course of my musical career it became more of a struggle for me to find a good home for my new records. Top labels’ schedules are usually full for a year ahead, the others could hold me in a waiting line before giving their feedback for months and months… I got tired of that and decided to build my own ‘home’ for my music, as well as other artists who faced the same problem as me.

What advice do you have for artists hoping to get signed to Purrfection?

Check the previous releases launched on the label first before sending your demos for consideration to make sure they fit well and don’t be afraid to give it a try!

Is big DJ play a factor in signing something? From someone like Hernan Cattaneo or Nick Warren for example.

I don’t rely on any big support of a demo when I sign it: it’s all about the quality of the material I receive. Of course, a big play would be a great promotional bonus but it doesn’t essentially affect my A&R decision-making.

Now that you are a label owner, how do you decide which of your tracks you want to release there as opposed to shopping them to other labels?

By the end of 2023 I was sitting on a bunch of finished demos that I couldn’t sign. In the beginning of 2024 there were 11 unsigned ones: 6 I decided to release on PURRFECTION, 5 more are under consideration on a big label but it seems to me all of these are also gonna end up on my label. I think going forward I’ll just focus on releasing with the labels who are proactively interested in working with me - not going to chase them anymore. The rest of the demos will just be released on PURRFECTION. That’s the plan!

You’ve had quite a lot of high profile gigs over the years, travelling to Argentina, Armenia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and more, so please tell us your approach to DJing, and what your philosophy is to programing a set.

I always prepare a lot of material for my sets in advance, taking this process really serious. My aim is to get the maximum compatibility of the tracks in my sets while creating a perfect vibe on the dancefloor and keeping the high dynamics of the sound. I prefer to play from four decks at the same time to provide the intensive atmosphere of the set.

How much prep do you put into the sets you play, or are they spontaneous for the most part?

My shows for bigger crowds (especially my Argentinian tour) affected me dramatically: now I try to see the perspectives of a new demo on big sound systems of clubs while I’m writing it and always keep in mind that a new track should fit in my sets well. As for my sets, the tracklists are usually compiled of the tracks that would work well on all of the gigs of an upcoming tour. A time slot of my set can also affect my choice of tracks: I’d play less dynamic tracks in the beginning of the night and drop dancefloor bombs one after another in the peak hour of the event. All in all, having 15 years of experience behind my shoulders, it’s a smooth process for me to pick the right tracks in the middle of my set to build a perfect mood.

Where do you source the majority of music for your gigs? Is it primarily from producer friends or promo mailouts at this point?

Yes, it’s actually both: friendly producer’s promos and tons of mailouts. I think I receive nearly all of the biggest progressive house labels’ promos, so my routine usually lies in picking the right tunes for a DJ set.

Current top five tracks in your sets?

  1. Max Cooper - Swapped
  2. Danny Bonnici, Sanoi - Infinite Horizons
  3. Forty Cats - WDYM (Dowden Remix)
  4. Kasper Koman - Biome
  5. Julian Wassermann - My Side

Also, my sets always contain tracks by such talented guys like Maze 28, Freedo Mosho, Digital Mess, Second Sine, Alan Cerra, Simos Tagias, The Wash etc.

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life? (Something not music related.)

I’m a big fan of art in all shapes and forms — I’d probably be a digital artist drawing comic books or pixel art. :)

What’s something people do not know about you?

Despite my artist name, I only have one cat, sadly. :)

If you are not DJing, producing in the studio or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

I’m quite an introvert type of person in my private life: I prefer just to chill on a sofa with my husband watching Netflix or going out for a walk in the city.

What are some of your favourite TV series? Both all time and recently, what have you been enjoying lately?

My all-time favorites are the comedy series “Scrubs'' and “The Office”. Right now I’m fully into “Yellowstone”, watching all seasons one by one.

What does the remainder of 2024 hold for you and Purrfection? Anything you can share with us?

I keep on writing a lot of music that I hope you all enjoy. This whole year is almost full with releases scheduled on Purrfection bi-weekly, to start things off with no fire drills. I might have to switch to a more regular release schedule, based on the amount of good demos I receive and my own music. On the DJ side of things I have a lot of gigs in discussions right now for the Summer and Fall seasons: Argentina, Sri Lanka, Qatar, to name just a few.

'Nocturne' is available now via Purrfection: https://tinyurl.com/ms8dkekx

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