Chris “Smoove C” Agate is a House Music DJ and Producer who was born in 1979 in Chichester on the South Coast of England, where he has been relentlessly pounding the dance floors of the South Coast with his funky and Deep/Tech house grooves since 1993. Chris is also owner of a Portsmouth based Underground DJ agency and PA hire company, The DJ Booth (www.thedjbooth.co.uk). Chris has also been featured on numerous internet radio stations including The Lost Art, Jack's House and Universal Sounds FM.
What is your background?
I come from a poor family so growing up was pretty tough. My Dad was, and still is an excellent guitarist, so I was always around music growing up. I started DJing in 1993 and quickly realized this was something I was very good at and needed to pursue. In 2001 I did an HND (Higher National Diploma) in performing arts (music production and technology), and achieved 20 distinctions and 4 merits out of 24 modules, which kind of backed up what I already knew. Since then, I have been producing my own original stuff.
How and why did you get into DJing?
We had quite a good underground music scene in my hometown and surrounding areas. There were little pockets of joy in an otherwise fairly barren landscape (musically speaking). When I was about 12, I started hearing old school hardcore mixes from Sterns Nightclub, which later went on to become Mansion House. Then around 1993 a couple of friends of mine (Ed Craig, who later went on to form The Wideboys with Luke and Brett Holden, and Rocco Dodd) started DJing. I couldn't afford my own decks at that point, so I would go around Rocco's house pretty much every day to have a mix.
Hardcore started to evolve into Drum 'n' Bass, and I started to hear House mixes on cassette from my local club Empire, whose Tonic nights achieved legendary status and drew the industry's biggest names at the time. These cassettes would make their way around the area every couple of weeks, and I was totally blown away by what I was hearing. So I started to focus my attention on House music. and in 1993 I got my own set of turntables (completely mediocre Electrovision dj2000s, but they were at least direct drive) and started to put out my own mixes. I quickly realized I was fairly gifted musically, and the rest is history...
What artists/DJs inspire you?
Eddie Richards was My favourite DJ back then, but there are loads of people that inspired me both then and now. Little Mark (aka Boogie Trix), Mr. C, Daddy G, Evil O, Rob Acteson, Olav Basoski, Joey Negro, Full Intention, Da Dronez, Masters At Work, Jay Lumen
What are your opinions on the state of the underground music scene at present?
Well, it's pretty lame unless you live in London or other big cities. I have found from personal experience that it's extremely hard to find venues in certain areas. I'm not quite sure why this is, but I have been taking steps to try and reverse this situation.
Tell Me about The DJ Booth.
I set up the DJ booth (www.thedjbooth.co.uk) in 2016 as a resource for people who wish to hire proper underground DJ's and PA systems with proper engineers. I was getting sick of people or venue owners expecting DJs to play for free. So I set this up for people who want high quality experienced DJs, not crappy bedroom DJs who have no experience of live situations. We also have a DJ Booth Youtube channel, with loads of really good sets from DJ Booth DJs on there, covering most dance music genres.
What is your favourite track of all time?
Erm, wow that's a tough one to answer, there are so many great tracks, can I give You a couple?
Richard F “The Way” (Original Mix)
Global communication “The Way” (Secret Ingredients Mix)
Mad that they're both called “The Way” but in all seriousness, there's probably a load of tracks that I've temporarily forgotten that would be up here!
What makes a good track for You?
For me it's mainly about the beat and bassline -- got to have a chugging beat regardless of genre. I like quite musical stuff, with real instruments preferably. I went to a guitar show in Wembley Stadium a couple of years ago and there was a bassist there just jamming to a phat house beat. That shit was seriously good. I think I stood for nearly 2 hours just watching and listening.
CDJ's or Technics?
Technics all day every day!
What's the plan from here on in?
We are hoping to put some underground dance music festivals on this summer on the south coast of England, which is definitely something to look out for. Other than that, I have a few tracks I'm planning to release in 2018 or early 2019, and we are always looking for venues to host events at, so if you are a venue owner please feel free to get in touch.