If, like me, you’re a fan of social media, tumblr and Pinterest, Christopher Camplin will be no stranger to you – even if you only recognise the beard! Or, you may have seen or heard him play at one of the many nights he DJ’s and promotes. Either way, he embodies a new generation – a portfolio career generation who now survive by doing a multitude of things, making sure they earn good income but doing what makes them happy.
I got the chance recently to chat with Chris and discuss the variety of sides to his work life, and his beard:
So, how would you describe yourself in terms what you do?
Model, DJ, Web Developer / Designer & Club promoter! An unusual mix I know
As someone I see as having a true portfolio career that spans several areas, which is your favourite?
It’s difficult to say which is my favourite as all have their pros & cons, like any job. Web development is really steady and there’s a lot of work out there, I recently went freelance & fortunately get calls from recruiters all the time. On the other hand it’s pretty antisocial and requires hours in front of a computer. Modelling has been great fun for me and I’ve been lucky enough to shoot with some lovely people in interesting situations & locations even travelling around Europe, working with Huskies & some people who became great friends. If I had to choose I would probably say DJing is my favourite, that moment when the crowd really gets into what you’re playing & the whole dance-floor is moving, there’s nothing quite like the feeling it gives you. I had almost stopped regular clubbing when I was asked to come & play little gay brother & it’s brought me back onto the scene and I am really glad about this. Terry (Vietheer) & I recently played in Berlin & the people there were going crazy, it was so cool to play to such a responsive crowd.
You’re very tech orientated in your main job role – how did you get into this and how does it feed into your other interests?
I got into the web development by accident really, I chose a university degree that was 50% analytical work and 50% vocational which allowed me to try video editing, sound editing as well as Flash and conventional Web development. From there I started making websites for people to earn a bit of extra money on the side and when I graduated I continued doing that whilst working At the Eagle, The Hoist & Comptons – after this I found a job working on Apple’s European websites. That was a lucky break as I got to go & work in California 4/5 times a year as well as learn a great deal from top developers.
All this has come in very useful recently as I now make all the flyers & do any web work for our parties & as a full time career choice it seems to have been recession proof.\\
As one-half of Camplin & Vietheer, what are your influences when it comes to your DJ sets?
I would say I have been influenced by a wide range of sources. I’ve been on the London club scene since I was about 15 & 13 years of clubbing means I can draw from a wide range of DJs & unique experiences I’ve had over the years. I started going to places like Trade, Crash, Nag Nag Nag & The Cock, when I was probably far too young to be going to those places! I even used to hand out flyers for Trade & Salvation back then. The weekend would start at Atelier @ The End, then via Fiction @ The Cross, Crash, Trade & DTPM and usually end at Orange Monday morning at what was then the Viaduct! A really bizarre place that eventually became what is now Fire. I also was lucky enough to go to Circoloco @ DC10 in Ibiza during it’s early years and even Berghain in Berlin, I also went to the first Horse Meat Disco party in Soho & eventually spent some time working behind the bar at the Eagle which opened my eyes to Disco, something I had never really appreciated before but that I have grown to love. I’m also a big fan of the Blues, Soul, Motown, rock and a whole host of other genres which combined with the influences of these parties over the years, and a youthful love for UK garage and even Drum & Bass before I came out have given me a wide knowledge of music that I try to draw on when selecting tracks for a mix.
How easy is it to collaborate on something most of us see as personal taste? Any arguments or is it match made in Heaven? Do you DJ alone?
I think Terry & i compliment each other really well, he brings a different set of influences to our mixes & we often keep each other on our toes but also play records that the other would have probably played anyway. We have our differences like any relationship but no real arguments as yet! Of course a bit of discussion often goes into recording a mix.
Describe your sound? Do you have a recognisable sound?
I would foremost describe my ‘sound’ as HOUSE but that can incorporate Detroit, Chicago, New York, Garage, Deep, Tech, Techno, Disco, Funk, Soul & more… I like to find that balance between self indulgence & reading the crowd… I was until recently purely a digital DJ, using my Laptop & Traktor. Recently I managed to get hold of a pair of Technics 1210s & have started collecting vinyl & learning to beat match, which has been a tough learning curve but i think it’s essential for someone taking DJing seriously.
Obviously, you’re on Soundcloud – how do you use media like this?
Soundcloud is a great tool that I use to both share and discover music, it’s become the standard for a lot of DJs to post mixes & samples of their new tracks. There are pros & cons like with many new music technologies but being exposed to and able to share even more music has been great
Where can people hear you play? What nights do you do and where?
The next Little Gay Brother is going to be on 15 March @ Dalston Superstore and is called Chip Butty ( I’m making the flyer tonight) Terry & I have so far played Jodie Harsh’s Room Service In Soho, Lee Dyers’ Dirty Diana, and gigs in Berlin & will be playing Beyond @ Area in the near future + Dalston Superstore’s 5th Birthday in the coming weeks.
I play at myself & Clayton Wright’s party Little Gay Brother which has a residency @ Dalston Superstore as well as touring several festivals over the summer. I can’t say which festivals we’ll be at as nothing is 100% confirmed but the summer is shaping up to be a lot of fun! I Over the coming weeks you can hear me play @ TheMenWhoFellToEarth, Meat & the next Little Gay Brother party @ Dalston Superstore on the 15th March. I also have a weekly residency at Gym Box, Bank on Wednesdays.
You are also have a major presence on other social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter. Are these for business or pleasure or are the two interchangeable?
Facebook & Twitter were initially for pleasure but I suppose they have increased publicity for me and as a DJ / Model I suppose it becomes business as well as pleasure. I try & keep things like that to a minimum because i worry that I can have too much exposure if I’m not careful. I bet my friends & family must be sick of the site of all those pictures that have been so popular. A lot of the time other users post & tag me rather than me promoting my own stuff.
Moving into your modelling, how did you start in this area?
My first foray into modelling happened about 7 years ago… I was Beyond when it used to be @ Club Colluseum in Vauxhall & i met twins Jodie & Bayo who run The Eye Casting. They were looking for a guy from the street to be in a nude shoot for GQ Style & Tom Ford, quite a major name to work for a first time! I never imagined anything more would come of it but after that but I was approached by stylist Toby Grimditch who has become a close friend of mine. He also was looking for guy from the street , this time one who could walk for J.W Anderson’s MAN show @ London Fashion week. Toby also introduced me to other people in the fashion world & gradually i was getting calls from various people. A few years ago I signed up with Models 1 in Covent Garden & more recently have moved to Established – an agency started by some of people originally behind Models 1. This year i have already done a shoot for Hero magazine &VisitBritain & have had a few interesting castings i can’t mention now…
You’ve done catwalk and studio – so which do you prefer and why?
I really prefer studio as it’s a much more relaxed atmosphere & you have more chances to get the shot right!
What “names” have you worked for?
I’ve worked for Tom Ford, GQ, ID, Vidal Sassoon, Walter Van Beirendonck, Simon Foxton, Hero magazine, Nick Knight to name a few…
Your “Google” image search has such a range – from the fully clothed and quite straight forward to the full frontal – any preference?
I’m more happy doing fully clothed shoots really…but, if it’s tasteful enough I’d consider doing nude again.
Do you find it easy doing nude work? You do seem at ease in your underwear – is this true?
I have no real problem doing nude work although i would never do porn…I wouldn’t call myself a conventional underwear model but I’m pretty comfortable in my underwear yes…
You are known for your look, which obviously includes the beard – yet you shaved it off for a Fantastic Man feature. How did that feel? And how long did it take to grow it back?
When i first shaved it off I hated it, it didn’t feel right… I started growing the beard as soon as i was able, about 17, so 10 years without shaving i barely recognised myself when it came off. it took a good few weeks before I really felt comfortable with my own face! it’s crazy really… I even received messages from admirers saying ‘please don’t shave again!’
Any beard maintenance advice for our readers?
I am actually pretty lazy with mine, i’ve only really had it trimmed professionally when doing shoots… I do shampoo it in the shower and use a bit of hair wax if it’s looking a bit wild in the morning.
You’re an avid surfer, so whats the appeal for you? What do you get from it?
Surfing is an addiction, albeit a healthy one. Once you catch & ride an unbroken wave you have to keep chasing that feeling…I started a group on Facebook ‘London Gay Surfers’ & have met some really nice guys through it. We have already been on some trips down to the West Coast of England last year, one to Lanzarote & i just came back from Fuerte Ventura… We’re planning several more trips over the summer as the water gets warmer.
So what’s next for you?
It’s shaping up to be a great year. I’m currently working full time on a contract at MyOptique group beautifying their website a little… A number of photographers in LA have requested to shoot me so I’m planning to combine a California coast Surf trip, with getting those done. Several UK festivals & Bi-monthly Little Gay Brother parties… Another Berlin tour is on the cards for Camplin & Vietheer along with a number of UK dates… I’ve also been casting & have some interesting shoots planned. All in all it should be a good year.
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