Cromby on Bicep, Denis Sulta and his new EP

We speak to rising Irish producer Chris McCormick, aka Cromby, about his new EP Retribution, being pals with Denis Sulta, and learning the ropes from Bicep

Feature by Claire Francis | 11 Nov 2018
  • Cromby

Back in September, Denis Sulta launched Silver Service, a new offshoot to his Sulta Selects imprint. To inaugurate the venture, Sulta released an EP – Futurola – by an artist called Cromby. The Belfast-born Cromby (aka Chris McCormick) earned his stripes holding down a six-year residency at Shine in his hometown, before relocating to Berlin. He's since played at the likes of Panorama Bar and Robert Johnson, and Futurola was a well-received three-track house record that showcased Cromby's growing promise as a producer.

Sulta and Cromby were no strangers to one another – both are Berlin-based, and both move in the same circle of up-and-coming artists from the UK and Ireland including Sally C, Hammer, Brame & Hamo and Or:la. "He’s a legend for giving me the platform to put out the Futurola EP to a wider audience," says Cromby of his Glaswegian pal and cohort. "It’s been great. I'm really happy to be joining him for some more shows before the end of the year including Warehouse Project, Motion Bristol and a few legs of the Irish tour."

Cromby is keeping the ball rolling on the release front. His latest EP Retribution was released this month, this time on electronic duo Bicep's Feel My Bicep label. As a fellow Belfast native, Cromby explains that Bicep, and their music, have been a massive early influence. 

"Seeing people from the same wee city smash it makes you realise that everything is possible," he enthuses. "They have helped loads and been friends for years; Matt [McBriar] really pushed me when I started buying hardware a few years back, lent me a synth, etc. So aye, I'm buzzing to now, in a way, come full circle and have a release out with them."

Retribution, the title track of Cromby's new release, is a dance floor banger with plenty of pace and sinister synth tones. Of the dark mood of the track, Cromby laughs: "I made it around a year ago after a bit of a heavy weekend. So it probably represents the sun coming up, then when it gets going, me trying to fight my way out of a hangover."

The EP also features two remixes from electro stalwart DeFeKT and Peach Discs label owner Shanti Celeste. Celeste's remix is particularly catchy – aptly titled Shanti Celeste's Chill Mix  – it brings down the tempo and layers in some lusher elements for woozy, hypnotic listening. "I’m chuffed to bits with them. Both Shanti and DeFeKT have smashed it. With Shanti, I’ve always loved her material and the boys suggested getting her for a remix so it was a no-brainer; I’m happy she was willing to get involved." 

Belfast and Berlin have both clearly played a part in shaping Cromby's evolving productions. When asked whether he could pick a favourite, he responds: "Belfast has a place in my heart of course, but with licensing laws being so restrictive you can’t have it right and proper. Berlin is the one for me – you can go out pretty much any time of the day or night and listen to tunes and have a drink."

Before the year is out, Cromby will also return to Scotland – he played FLY's Open Air Festival at Hopetoun House back in May this year, as part of Denis Sulta's personally curated line-up. In December, he'll stop by Glasgow's Sub Club for a night which will surely be a winter warmer. 

"I actually played there around six years ago when I was a wee lad, for a mate's student night, Sub Rosa. This will be my first time playing at the weekend for the Thunder Disco Club. Excited is an understatement – ‘cannae wait'!"

Retribution is out now via Feel My Bicep; Cromby plays Sub Club, Glasgow, 21 Dec