Photo by Kindones Photography
Writer: Elise Olmstead
One of the first bands from the Baltimore area that we bacame fans of was Deltanine, which at the time was a live-tronica three-piece.  The band has since evolved into Chris Honsberger’s one-man electronic act, and I’m excited about the new, focused, and re-energized sound.  Even through changes, Deltanine always had just plain good taste, and Chris proves to be the mastermind behind the dance party that ensued whenever they played.  Combined with guest drummer Evan Lintz, the beats laid down are downright addictive.  Chris Honsberger tells us the story of how Deltanine came to be, what it is today, and the exciting future ahead.

Where are you from? What was your childhood like?

I grew up in Ellicott City, MD. I spent most of my childhood playing sports and riding bikes with my friends in the neighborhood. When the internet became consumer friendly, I started playing online video games and really dove into technology. I started doing graphic design and video editing at the age of 15. My love for technology is what eventually led me to start producing music.

When did you get into music? What were some of the bands you liked growing up?

I always loved music; everyone in my family was a music lover. I was always into hip-hop and electronic music. The first CD I bought was Will Smith’s “Big Willie Style.” I remember having two copies of the “A Night at the Roxbury” soundtrack. When I was in middle school, I DJed some of the school dances. After all that, I really got into Outkast and anything produced by Timbaland.

When did you start playing music?

I played drums in middle school. I took some private lessons and learned to play most Blink 182 songs and actually the whole Limp Bizkit “Chocolate Starfish” album. I stopped playing when I got to high school. I started getting into film towards the end of high school and pursued a film degree in college. At some point my sophomore year I started to feel restricted with my creativity. I wanted to be able to build something from scratch and I felt like film forced me to capture things already in existence. I was at a friend’s house and his buddy, Chris Beck, was over, and he was making beats with Reason (a music production software). I was very intrigued and downloaded Reason as soon as I got home. I was mostly making hip-hop beats at this point and rapping over it with my friends for fun.

How did DELTAnine start?  How did it become what it has evolved into today?

DELTAnine started as a record label for local hip-hop artists like Jaymoney and Young Dubz. At some point, Chris Beck heard what we were doing and wanted to get involved. We were making beats and recording for these artists mostly pro-bono. It was hard to get everyone on the same schedule and everyone had a different level of dedication to what we were doing, so eventually Chris and I decided to shift gears and start producing instrumental music.

Why did you gravitate towards electronic music?  Who are some electronic artists that inspire you?

When we first started making electronic tunes, they were more sample-based. We pulled a lot of inspiration from Michal Menert and Pretty Lights. I was always intrigued by EDM music, Dubstep, Trap, and Glitch-Hop. While Chris and I were touring, showcasing the “Igneous Rock”EP, I was concentrated on developing more interesting sound design, learning to create my own synth patches with more depth. Eventually Chris and I stopped producing together and started following our own paths. My path being of the more electronic sort. The next EP I put out, “Astro Ride,” was very IDM, inspired by artists like Tipper, Sixis, Bluetech, and Welder/Eskmo. I wanted to expand my music for a larger audience and focus on releasing my tracks with solid record labels with good distribution. This influenced the sound of my music. It became more cohesive and slightly more EDM while still maintaining rhythmic focus.

What are some disadvantages/advantages to these changes?

I feel there are mostly advantages to these changes. With a more minimalistic approach, I was able to focus on sound design and the tonality of each individual layer. This created a more interesting sound and allowed my audience to really latch onto what I wanted them to. One downside occurs when any artist decides to make a major change to their sound. I felt like i was alienating some of my fans who were really into the instrumental and live performance side of things. Ultimately though, the changes allowed me to hone in on better production techniques and much higher quality mixes.

How would you describe your musical genre currently?  What song would you suggest people listen to in order to understand your style?

I try not to pigeon-hole myself into one musical genre. As a producer, I enjoy making all types of music- everything from EDM to Hip-Hop to Pop. What I have been releasing recently would fall into the Hybrid Trap category. Meanwhile, I am working on some Glitch-Hop tracks and Dubstep with another EDM producer, Prismatic. I would suggest listening to my latest release, “Jumpin,” to best understand my current style.

What do you hope to do with your music that is unique or innovative?

I am trying to merge EDM and IDM music together by maintaining my artistic integrity while opening myself up to the mainstream. I am harnessing catchy melodies and intricate rhythms in a way that all music lovers can enjoy. My goal is to bring together impressive sound design with hooks that you can’t get out of your head.

Where have you been performing with your current lineup?  How’s the reception been?

I have been a little more selective about the shows I have been doing recently, spending more time in the studio developing my sound design. Most recently, I’ve performed at Mad Tea Party Jam, Rootwire Festival, Big Dub Festival, and Moonrise Festival. I also shared a residency with Flight of Aya at the 8×10 in Baltimore; it was put on as a fundraiser for their amazing art car. Evan Lintz, the drummer for bands like ELM and Gater, sits in at several DELTAnine shows on live percussion. People have been responding really well to the live percussion complimenting the EDM beats.

Are you working on an album any time soon?

I just released a collaborative EP with Of The Trees on MalLabel Records called “Duat.” This EP was on the darker side, showcasing some deep eastern vibes. Also, Prismatic and I released our track “Jumpin” with the Electrostep Network, which has been well-received by the public. On August 30th, my track “Trilla” will be released as part of a compilation album on Gravitas Recordings, alongside Mr. Bill, Ill-esha, Psymbionic, Esseks, Of The Trees, Dubvirus, Unlimited Gravity, and more. Prismatic and I are also currently working on our next EP.

Where can we see you for the rest of 2016 (Sept-Dec)?

I will be performing at Great North Festival on September 9th, and at the Baltimore Zoo for “Que at the Zoo” on September 10th. On October 8th, I’ll be at the 8×10 in Baltimore for a PeopleSources event. On October 29th, I’ll be performing the live score again in the IMAX theater at Hallow’s Eve at the Baltimore Science Center. This event is one of my favorite things I have ever done. This will be my 4th consecutive year taking part, and I expect it to be quite an experience. I recommend readers “like” and “follow” the DELTAnine Facebook page; some very exciting show announcements will be made in the near future, and it’s a great way to stay up on new releases and upcoming events.