Honest Music DC, run by Darryl “Trane” Burke and Christos DC (Chris Vrenios), is one of the most dynamic and innovative production houses in reggae. The studio behind Kenyatta Hill’s critically-acclaimed 2014 album Riddim of Life, Puma Ptah’s In One Accord, Christos DC’s The Long Road, and the Kingston 16 riddim compilation is poised to become one of the premier production houses in reggae.
Both Burke and Christos have been making movements in the DC reggae and club scene for decades now. Burke cut his teeth working with Bebo Philips and Clive Jarrett at Grapevine Records, backing such artists as Carlton Livingston, Gregory Isaacs, and Lone Ranger, to name a few. From there, it was stints with reggae legend Carl Malcolm, Moja Nya, Joseph Hill and Culture, Abyssinians and Eek-A-Mouse. He was also the founder of The Archives, a reggae project that was the brainchild of Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton.
Artist/producer Christos DC is a Greek-American born and raised in Washington, D.C. by parents who sang opera and taught voice professionally. Christos’ career began in the early 90s producing hip-hop and R&B tracks with indie artists from DC, but it was his deep appreciation for the sounds coming out of Kingston, Jamaica that led him to record with legendary reggae artists Sly and Robbie as well as the Firehouse Crew. He spent several years on the road as guitarist and backing vocalist for Don Carlos and The Itals. He has produced and recorded with artists such as the legendary Augustus Pablo, Sugar Minott, Roots Radics, and Meditations. He has also co-written with DC’s own Thievery Corporation.
World-A-Reggae sat down with Christos DC recently to discuss his label, new single, and forthcoming album.
WAR: So I first became aware of you through Kenyatta Hill. I heard his album Riddim of Life when it came out in 2014 and I was just blown away with that album, especially the song “Jah Is My Friend,” which features you on vocals. I didn’t think reggae that sounded this good, this authentic, was still being recorded. So I dug deeper and found out that you weren’t just doing a guest spot on the album, but you produced the album and released it through your own label Honest Music DC! Tell the people about Honest Music.
Christos: “I originally started on honest music with the intention of just releasing my own recordings. I released to albums on my own prior to being approached by Darryl Burke who had the idea of Expanding the label. He was the one who brought Kenyatta Hill on board to create the “Riddim Of Life” album. We very quickly realized there was a special report in the studio and that we shared many influences as well. We began working together for the release of my last album ” Long Road” and have not looked back since.”