I would say my first Blue Eyed Christ record deal with KK Records in Belgium right out of High School for Leaders + Followers. It legitimized what I was doing for the first time and made me realize people outside of my bedroom studio may be interested in what I was doing.
John D. Norten also emerged from the 1990s Chicago Industrial scene as the leader of Blue Eyed Christ. The debut album, Leaders + Followers, was released internationally on Belgians classic EBM/Industrial label KK Recordswhile still in his teens. Over the next few years, Blue Eyed Christ was featured on several prominent compilations and played the New Music Seminar in 1992 at the Limelight with Clock DVA and Chemlab. Blue Eyed Christ continued playing visceral live shows throughout the 90s and Norten continued recording at Chicago Trax Recording Studios working with established musicians and engineers from Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, and more. In 1996, Norten relocated to Los Angeles and has established himself as an in demand mixer and engineer for many of the biggest artists in the world including The Black Eyed Peas, Prince, CeeLo Green, and Lady GaGa.
How are you inspired to start a song and how does that develop from writing to composition, recording, and completion? What was the process for this project?
Jump into it -improvise with & without notes, laugh & cry & argue with the producer. – Groovie Mann
I usually start with the drums and music, but really anything can be the creative spark. When I first met with Groovie Mann he came over and I played him a bunch of instrumental tracks I had and he choose the ones that inspired him the most lyrically. He would write to them while he paints at home and then come over with notebooks full of ideas and inspirational goodies. Once we wrote the lyrics and recorded his vocals, I’d go back in and add more music and elements and we’d arrange that into the songs. The whole process was very organic. – JDN
Cross & Divide ultimately reflects both their shared roots as well as their unique and individual approaches to songwriting and recording. Groovie Mann’s spontaneous and poetic lyrical reactions to Norten’s carefully constructed song productions makes for a compelling mix of something new with enough of a nod to the past sure to please the old school fans and the newly initiated.