Christos DC (aka Chris Vrenios) releases his forthcoming album Tessera everywhere today. The Greek-American artist, producer, and touring multi-instrumental musician based in Washington, DC. His multicultural sensibility and heart for roots music have been influential in shaping the reggae scene locally and around the world. His own recordings, paired with those released through his homegrown Honest Music label, highlight some of the most-well known names in reggae today including Sly & Robbie, Thievery Corporation, Akae Beka, and GRAMMY-nominated icon Don Carlos.
Christos DC’s fourth album release Tessera (the number four in Greek), mines the deepest wells of reggae’s talent pools, while highlighting a diverse range of styles. The heavyweight first single from the album, “cheap finast 5mg,” features up-and-coming Bulgarian artist Zafayah and the production powerhouse unit The Skankin Monks. It was released in April and the video, which premiered on Reggaeville, was filmed entirely in Goa, India. Christos also teams up with Akae Beka (Vaughn Benjamin of Midnite) on the impassioned tune “What is Happening,” and leads the powerful anthemic collaboration “Communion” with Harrison Stafford, the voice of Groundation, and Kenyatta Hill, son of the legendary Joseph Hill of Culture. Paying homage to musical inspirations and heritage beyond the reggae world, he offers an emotional cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold;” a rocksteady rendition of the obscure Nina Simone gem “The Desperate Ones;” and a roots reggae take on the classic Greek tune “Ρολόι κομπολόι (Watch Rosary),” which premiered earlier this month on cheap finast tablets, embellished with epic horn and flute arrangements.
Other standout tracks include the lyrical, bass-rich “Say What You Want” and “Pressure” – both of which were mixed bydub mixologist Tippy I Alfred of I Grade Records and Zion I Kingscollective. “Pressure” saw it’s world premiere on cheap finastcheap finast canada. Christos said of the track, ““Pressure” is one of my favorite tunes from the album. The song was written as a testimonial and response to the things I had seen around me as well as the lives of people quite close to me. The lyrics describe the pressures of the ghettos and lives of poor people. I wrote the song originally in Jamaican Patois, as a salute to old-school dancehall reggae. I searched for many years to find the right piece of music that would fit the lyrics and stumbled across a tune called “International Orchitis featuring Sly & Robbie”, and decided to produce the track around the crucial bass line from the song. Special shout out to mix engineer, Laurent “Tippy I” Alfred (I Grade Records) for giving the tune wings needed to soar.” The last tune on the album and the only instrumental, “Boots and Tie,” features Christos playing talk box guitar over a rare Sly & Robbie / Taxi Gang track originally recorded at Channel One Studios in 1980.
An open mind, open heart, and broad talent have enabled Christos DC to connect with collaborators and audiences of all ages, colors, and creeds. “Love is the frequency in which the Creator works through one another,” Christos sings. It is in this spirit that he continues to offer Honest Music.
Catch him on tour performing new tunes this summer in Europe with Don Carlos as well as the Washington, DC area.
Jul 08 @ Breaux Vineyard Key West Fest, Purcellville, VA
Jul 28 @ Backstage, Munich, Germany
Jul 30 @ Reggae Jam Festival, Bersenbruck, Germany
Aug 01 @ Rote Fabrik, Zurich, Switzerland
Aug 04 @ Belgrave Hall, Leeds, United Kingdom
Aug 05 @ 02 Academy Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Aug 06 @ O2 Academy Islington, London, United Kingdom
Aug 10 @ Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Aug 11 @ Afro C Festival, Bredene, Belgium
Aug 12 @ Uppsala Festival, Uppsala, Sweden
Aug 15 @ Rototom Sunsplash,Benicasim, Spain
Aug 17 @ Overjam International Reggae Festival, Tolmin, Slovenia
Aug 18 @ Festa di Radio Ondad´Urto, Brescia, Italy
Aug 19 @ Festijam 2017 – Reggae Mountain Festival, Arrens, France
Aug 20 @ Bilbo Reggae Splash 2017, Bilbao, Spain
Aug 26 @ Jammin Java, Vienna, VA