Published on June 5th, 2013 | by Jessica Mickey0
Rocky Horror is Dead: Long Live Worship the Sky
There was a period of time in downtown Charleston that anytime there was an underground bash, exclusive after-party, or warehouse art opening, one could pretty much assume that DJ Rocky Horror was on the bill. Probably one of the most recognizable names in the Lowcountry DJ scene, Rocky Horror helped pave the way for popular Charleston-based acts such as for Lanatron, Stumble, and Party Dad. However, he wants you to know something: Rocky Horror is dead. Long live Worship the Sky.
“Worship the Sky began as an alter ego of sorts, and slowly, I realized that I was enjoying my time producing under the name more than the Rocky Horror project,” Chris Morris, a.k.a. Worship the Sky, explains. “I found myself drifting away from the now EDM [Electronic Dance Music] style, and falling into a much darker, more atmospheric style of electronic music, which is loosely based on a U.K. style called ‘Future Bass.’”
Morris, a Charleston native, grew up south of Broad Street and spent much of his teenage years building his skill set around town. “I’ve been DJing since I was 15, playing shows here locally at age 16 at Upper Deck Tavern on King,” he says. “I think now I’ve played just about every club in town at one point or another.”
After studying audio engineering for a year in New York City, Morris returned home and began making a name for himself, relying on instinct over methodology when it came to his personal musical style. “My mixes are pure intuition,” he says. “After a while, you know what sounds good, and what sounds like garbage. It’s about that perfect blend and transition into the next track. A lot of local DJs will just play hits; there’s a lot of Top 40 guys in town for sure. There’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, ya’ gotta eat. That was just never a thing with me. I wasn’t out to just entertain the crowd. I wanted depth, I wanted you to come to my shows, and instead of making requests for what you heard in your car on the way over, I wanted you to experience something new, something you hadn’t heard.”
The drive to create something unexpected and not just be another “Hey DJ, play my song” automaton inspired Morris to branch out in a different direction. When he heard somewhat-obscure U.K. electronic multi-genre producer LuQus’ work, he knew it was meant to be. “When I first heard him I thought to myself, ‘Why am I spending so much time creating his shitty repetitive dance music, when I could be making something that actually conveys an emotion and doesn’t make preppy kids just want to pump their fists in the air?’” Morris recalls.
Though LuQus is the specific artist that helped Morris come to terms with where he wanted to take his work, he credits the entire U.K. electronic scene as a whole. “I really need to spend time over there, because they’re serious innovators of what’s to come.” Morris asserts. “ I mean, dubstep, for instance, originated in the U.K. as 2-step way back when … before dudes like Skrillex ruined it.”
Describing the music he produces as Worship the Sky, Morris says, “I personally define my style of music as electronic. I create everything using live samples and virtual synths on my laptop; everything is from scratch. Now, Worship the Sky is definitely atmospheric and spacey but could be thought of as an indie style of dance music for sure, with a twist of R&B.”
While creating new sounds and mixes under his new moniker, Morris also looked for a new outlet, having grown tired of a monotonous club scene. “After playing in Charleston for so long, you’ll start to realize that the club owners and promoters are only after a number of things: money, drugs, or female attention,” Morris remarks. “Back in 2011, I was over it, it wasn’t worth it to me to spend all that time putting sets together to only go out and be disappointed. I wanted to put music out there, and whoever downloaded it, either enjoyed it, or didn’t … which I was cool with.” The idea of a podcast was a natural progression.
The podcast, The Hell House Podcast, available on iTunes since July 2011, began as a solo project, but soon, Morris came to the realization that many of his colleagues were stuck in the same predicament that he himself was trying to work his way out of. “After a few months of having it only be myself on the podcast, I realized I had a lot of buddies in town, like JeffET, DJ Bird Flu [hosts of Final Fridays at Tivoli on 656 King St.], and Stumble, that were just throwing up mixes on Soundcloud or Facebook with no real direct fan base for what they were doing. So, I started hosting guest mixes on the podcast, turning it into a twice a month event, which then grew.”
However, Morris found that his reach wasn’t confined to the local region. “I met Patrick Rood, vice president of Trouble & Bass Records in Brooklyn, while he was in town playing, and afterward, I asked if he would consider submitting a mix for the show,” he says. “He agreed and gave me a list of contact information for everyone on his label. If you’re unfamiliar with Trouble & Bass, they’re up there with Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak label, as well as Diplo’s Mad Decent, so that was huge.”
Some of the guests featured on the Hell House Podcast so far include Zombies For Money (Portugal), Mikix the Cat (France), Star Eyes (N.Y.C.), StrangeVIP (N.Y.C.), Deathface (Chicago), Bert On Beats (Estonia), and Hostage (U.K., known for his BBC Radio 1 Essential Mixes). “I think a lot of them see it as an opportunity to reach a fan base they haven’t tapped into. Granted a majority of my followers are on the East Coast, but a pretty good bit are from all over the world.”
On June 8, Morris, along with fellow Charleston-based producer/DJ Mummbls (Mel Willis), will bring the podcast to the Faculty Lounge for Hell Houses’ first of many live recordings.
“[Mummbls and] I will perform live every Second Saturday at Faculty Lounge; however, at another location on the same night, another DJ — who I’ve spoken with in advance — will record their live set,” Morris explains. “The best parts of each live set will be combined into an hour-long episode, which I’ll host on the third Tuesday of the month. It’s something I’ve wanted to try out for awhile, and I’m anxious to see how it goes.”
In the short amount of time that Morris has made the podcast available, the numbers and reach are downright impressive. “The last I checked, the podcast is now in 95 different countries, with over 75,000 subscribers. We actually just hit our 500,000th download,” he says. “It took some time for sure, but it’s been totally worth it. Connections I never thought I’d make, with people I’ve looked up to for a long time as far as production goes. It’s been a truly remarkable experience, and it’s honestly a little hard to believe at times.”
Worship the Sky is also one half of Holy Blood with Joycette (Chicago). He plans to release a new Holy Blood EP on iTunes this summer, as well as a full-length Worship the Sky later this year. The Hell House Podcast LIVE! will be hosted at Faculty Lounge (391 Huger St.) every second Saturday of the month.
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