Rey & Kjavik‘s soundscape has left a tremendous impression in the electronic music scene ever since his first productions were released on Kindisch/Get Physical back in 2012. Further EP’s and remixes on Katermukke, Exploited or Compost followed and marked an unrivaled time. Nevertheless, the Frankfurt native is ready to leave his musical but not personal past behind to look forward and create and shape a new era in house music with the release of his mystic and spiritual debut album ‘Rkadash’.
Electronic Groove: Hi Rey & Kjavik. Thanks for the time to chat with us. How does it feel to finally hold your first LP in your hands?
Rey & Kjavik: Honestly speaking, I have not thought about it that much. The entire album was more or a less an organic process consisting of even more smaller processes and resulted in a beautiful product. I have never been a person to come up with long-term plans, neither have I been the kind of person that act ally rested on my laurels. Moreover, I am the type of guy that gets one thing done and then continues with other stuff. I don’t have thoughts like ‘Wow I did a pretty good job‘ or ‘in 5 years I want to achieve or do this and that’. I do live in the present and have a quite realistic approach of living, which does not mean that I don’t have any dreams or goals, but they have to be feasible. I would say I am a rather grounded person. But regarding your question, I put a lot of effort into the album and of course, at the end I am proud of the product that I’ve created.
EG: The sound of your new album really differs from other former productions. How did that ‘radical’ change come?
Rey & Kjavik: I would not say it’s a radical change, just came in a long period of time. Anyone who knows me knows I focus a lot of my personality into my work and some things like travelling or the opposite, hometown life routine, these are some things that I express in my music. That can be heard in my current music, especially if you compare it to older releases.
EG: How long did you work on the album and when did you decide to produce a complete LP?
Rey & Kjavik: I cannot name an exact date, because – as aforementioned – I’ve never had the idea to produce a complete album. It was the music that I had produced during the last period that came together in order to be seen as a whole. At first I thought about releasing ‘Rkadash’ under a different moniker, but then I decided it was not the right decision as it has always been about the music for me and not to satisfy any standards. ‘Rkadash’ is 100% Rey & Kjavik.
EG: As far as you said the album was produced due to your different and often worldwide trips. Any of them particularly influenced you in a special way?
Rey & Kjavik: All the different trips influenced me and especially the ones I did on my own. They made me become a bit more experienced and allowed me to see the world through different eyes, as well as they gave me the opportunity to live the days in a more relaxed way. That’s the reason why places like Burning Man or Africa Burn gave me strength, disconnecting me, as they are far away from civilization, a mobile network, scheduling stress or the internet.
“I do live in the present and have a quite realistic approach of living”
EG: The album is heavily influenced by Oriental sounds that, I assume, are connected to your travels through Turkey. How has the Turkish culture influenced you?
Rey & Kjavik: The track ‘Baby City’ was released on Katermukke in January 2016 and already had this oriental touch that I enriched with a vocal in different languages, pointing out the xenophobia in some parts of society at that time. So I combined words like Brate, Brudi, Bro, Habibi, Salem Aleikum and Baby City, a synonym for my hometown Offenbach, with an Oriental beat in order to make people see that it can work musically as well as in our society. The best example that different cultures can enrich each other’s life is Offenbach. The city is what we call an ‘Ankommerstadt’, which means it is a place for people who arrive from different parts of the world. When it comes to statistics Offenbach has the highest percentage of inhabitants with a foreign background, but still everyone lives peacefully next to each other without having aversions or being skeptical. We profit from each other in any way, e.g. we have the best food stores here, the so called refugee crisis did not affect the city at all and in my opinion, something like this could never happen here. But coming back to the question trips to Istanbul, San Francisco, Tbilisi or Burning Man have sensitized the aforementioned feelings that I am usually confronted with each and every day.
EG: Do you think your sound has evolved with your live performances?
Rey & Kjavik: Yes, definitely. One of the key experiences was at Burning Man 2015. I came there with the typical Rey & Kjavik sound that I had been famous for; very powerful, heavy basslines, kind of deep and enriched with some vocals or lyrics. But when I got there I realized that if I played this sound, I would empty the dance floor. This feeling was new to me, something I had not experienced before since I thought my sound was a ‘universal tool’ that worked at any place. So with this in mind a whole new universe in terms of sound opened up to me on the following days. On my way back home I created a first layout for ‘Playa Sunset’, and as you can see the change in my sound has been a steady and long process and did not come over night.
Through the following months I realized that I can pick up my audience on an emotional level, something I had not done before as deeply as it was this time. But don’t get me wrong, the atmosphere at my gigs was always great, but now I meet my audience in another, more profound level. It’s pure magic to me to take the listener on an emotional journey, one that my audience maybe has never experienced, always looking forward to connecting with them. Besides, this described magic is something that keeps me fresh and motivated offering my best every night, in order to reach this special kind of level with my audience.
EG: Now that your first album it’s released it is time to come up with your career. How it has developed over the past years, what have been your highlights and maybe also the negative sides that you’ve experienced?
Rey & Kjavik: Since my first release in 2012 on Kindisch/Get Physical – that made it to #2 on the Beatport deep house charts – my career has gone up only. But I also have to mention that I am living from music 7 days per week and I work hard on myself. Probably the only disadvantage is that I don’t have much time for my family – like anybody else who works a lot.
EG: Have you ever had doubts about your career as a musician?
Rey & Kjavik: No, I am a musician with all my heart and soul, and I am happy that I can lead a life like this. To play your music all around the world and being able to discover new countries makes me a privileged person. How long I am allowed to live this life is not just up to me but no matter what comes after, I will always give my best.
“All the different trips influenced me and especially the ones I did on my own”
EG: Not much personal information has been revealed about you, even your real name is not mentioned in public. What is the reason you hold personal info about yourself away from the public?
Rey & Kjavik: I always wanted the music to speak for itself and I believe that is what it should be all about. Music shall carry emotions, especially in times like this. Music shall make people break free from their everyday lives – at least for a couple of hours. And this is also the reason why I did not have a biography, press pictures or something similar.
EG: You just found your label RKJVK, tell us about it?
Rey & Kjavik: RKJVK is kind of like my own arty playground that gives me the freedom to do whatever, a freedom that you only can give yourself. You don’t have to wait until your music is released, neither do you have to contact any A&R’s. The last releases were some remixes to my single ‘Baba City’, including the ‘Rkadash’ album version, and a remix of my favorite track ‘Smek’ by Tunisian band Yuma. In the near future some remixes of my track ‘Mamukte’ will be released – the original was out on Bar25 label.
Connected to the label I founded a fashion line in 2016. The new collection will be out just in time for the ‘Rkadash’ album release. So, as you can see there are quite some things happening on RKJVK.
EG: Hows your summer agenda looking like? Any specific highlights you are looking for?
Rey & Kjavik: My tour schedule is – thank you to my team that I have been working with over the years – quite busy. There will be surely some highlights, but I don’t want to emphasize anything. I respect anybody who puts a lot of work and effort into the art sector, nowadays and in return I try to support all these people as far as it is possible. I am looking forward to any person in the audience wherever we have the chance to spend some time together.
Rey & Kjavik’s ‘Rkadash’ is already available on RKJVK label.
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