From 2005 to 2013 DJ/producer/musician Christoph Hoeffel, better known as Kris Menace, was on a prolific creative streak. He released a mind-boggling eight full-length albums and dozens of singles, collaborated with artists including Robert Owens, Romanthony, Xavier Naidoo, The Presets, Miss Kittin, Alan Braxe, Rex the Dog, Felix Da Housecat, DJ Pierre and remixed a spate of top-notch artists such as LCD Soundsystem, Depeche Mode, Metronomy, Röyksopp, Underworld, Moby, Paul Weller, Kylie Minogue and Lana Del Rey.
While the work was satisfying, a relentless schedule began to chip away at his well-being. As he went from project to project, Hoeffel eventually found himself depressed and at a crossroads.
Feeling that he couldn’t continue to work at the pace he had become used to for nearly a decade, Hoeffel decided to hit the pause button in 2014 on a burgeoning music career. He quit producing music altogether in order to heal himself.
After a five-year break from music, Hoeffel has returned true to form with “Rome,” a soulful, uplifting pop-focused collaboration with Gwylo & Millé, released in January via Famouz Records.
We connected with Hoeffel via email to discuss his hiatus, healing process and why the time was right to return to music.
Welcome back. You were quite prolific for many years. How did you know it was time to take a break? How were you feeling at the time?
Kris Menace: I had a lot of self-doubts and pressure. I worked too much. All the traveling at the time, not being home, many labels and production works and all the other stuff I did was just too much for one person. Though I did archive what I was working for, I wasn’t feeling it anymore.
“The pressure to always deliver can cause serious harm. And yes, I’m still fighting with my demons.”
Many people suffering from mental health issues don’t know how to get help. How did you approach getting better?
I basically changed many things. I stopped taking on work and started to digitally detox. Then I started working and building things with my hands. To be honest, I started something completely different that helped me to take distances. I tried medicine, but most of them had the reversed effect on me. So I think that for the digital generation with all those bought likes, views on the one hand and rude commentaries and hate speech on the other hand, the pressure to always deliver can cause serious harm. And yes, I’m still fighting with my demons.
Did you work on music during your hiatus? What did you do to nurture yourself?
Not really. I started to play piano again and wrote some piano sheets, but I wasn’t proactively producing music. A good friend of mine is the reason I started again. He was not accepting my decision that I stopped making music. He is responsible for the new release.
How did you meet Millé and Gwylo, and how did “Rome” come together?
Mille, Gwylo and myself met through our managements. Gwylo and Mille wrote and recorded the soulful vocals while I was responsible for the instrumental and production. I’m so happy with the song as it has a very special and unique feel.
After everything you’ve been through, you’ve made an impressive return. What’s next for you in 2020 and beyond?
I’m already working on the next single, but nothing more, without any expectation.
image by Thommy Mardo