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There are few DJs who have as much passion and dedication to this industry as Kevin Knapp. He’s a constant pioneer of the sounds crowds yearn for through his own individual production style and his proclivity for vocal contributions. With notable releases on Hot Creations, Crosstown Rebels, Hottrax, Sola, Dirtybird, Truesoul and more, Knapp continues to delve beyond the music and he is positioned to have 2018 be his most poignant year to date.
We had the chance to talk with Kevin Knapp as he recently released his latest EP ‘Blah Blah Blah’ on Hot Creations.
Electronic Groove: Hi Kevin, thanks for chatting with us. So summer is around the corner. What are your plans for the season?
Kevin Knapp: Thanks for inviting me. First and foremost the plan is to get outside and enjoy Berlin. It’s a completely different town in the summer. I can’t wait to get back to Germany and catch some of the sun, finally we’re out of our houses, summer vibes!
I’ve got a few choice gigs in Ibiza this summer so that’s exciting. I’ll also be playing at Paradise DC-10 with the Hot Creations crew on August 29th so I hope to see you all for that.
EG: Does the warm weather play a role in your productions?
Kevin Knapp: Yes and no. I mean it makes it easier to make party jams so to speak, but I kind of just do what I do independent of what’s happening outside the studio walls.
EG: Your latest release ‘Blah Blah Blah’ just came out. What can you tell us about the production process behind it?
Kevin Knapp: Well, as it often happens for me, I’ll get a vocal idea and record it at a suitable BPM and then lay it down over some drums that may or may not appear in the finished track as first conceived. The rest of the track flows from there: bassline, soft synth melodies or more specifically in this case, pitch-bent melodies, and then finish with what I refer to as small percussion which is the higher frequency claps, hats, etc… which to me, groove-wise can make all the difference.
I think most interesting about ‘Blah Blah Blah‘ is that lyrically I usually write what I’d refer to as kind of ballsy and direct. I’d been listening to a bunch of Green Velvet when I wrote it though and have always been enamored with how free and celestial he can be in terms of lyrical content. So as per usual, I broke out the bottle of Sauvignon Blanc grabbed the microphone and just sort of let my lips clap. Literally, just experiencing the size and girth of my lips while speaking and Blah Blah Blah was the most fun thing to say, so that’s how we got here.
EG: You’ve been releasing on Hot Creation for a long time. How did the relationship with Jamie and his team come together?
Kevin Knapp: I’ve known Lee Foss for years, as back in the aughts we were both young DJ’s cutting our teeth in the California scene. He was in LA and I was in San Francisco but I had a grasp on what was happening in so-Cal too and knew he was on his grind. Jamie and I met at Movement in Detroit some years ago where I ran up to him, uttered something about him being an inspiration and then immediately broke into spoken word stating ‘My Beat Will Control You‘ as it had just been released. A maneuver that still makes me cringe to this day, but a practice I still maintain as I’ve written many lyrics to many tracks while out with others. Apologies to those that have to suffer through my writing process while trying to kick it, but it’s not without some forethought. Nathan Barato telling me it was not annoying but adept in Miami last year is to blame for all of that.
Anyway, at some point, I was in Detroit for movement on another occasion and Richy Ahmed closed his set with one of my tracks, and I ran up to the decks to thank mob him. He looked at me and said we needed to work together and the rest is sort of history.
“I love rocking dance floors. It’s the only moment in life where I don’t feel some level of constraint and I love it for that”
EG: Are you a vinyl or digital guy? Does the medium even matter?
Kevin Knapp: Primarily digital but I came up on vinyl, so I like to think I’m solid with both mediums. No, I don’t think it matters at this point. Just be dope, that does matter.
EG: You recently played at Desert Hearts festival. How was the experience?
Kevin Knapp: Desert Hearts was pretty amazing actually. As amazing as the festival itself is I’m equally amazed by how well I get along with those cats. It’s kinda surprising that we all did not become friends earlier (Rybo, Mikey Lion, Porky, Lee Reynolds & Marbs). I had a set at noon on Sunday well into a couple days of folks partying with Desert Heart’s one stage one vibe ethos. I keep telling people that I actually just felt a duty to continue to be as dope at the homies had been all weekend. Matt Tolfrey, Sacha Robotti, wAFF, Clyde P, Damian Lazarus and many others had just been absolute G’s in terms of programming and vibe. So by the time they let the big man up there I just felt like I was repping the squad and wanted follow suit. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the positive response to the set actually, truly. Peeps really seemed to understand what I was doing. It’s not always so easy, they’ve got a special thing going there.
EG: You’ve been all over the world. What club or city has stood out in terms of energy, fan base or music culture?
Kevin Knapp: Playing for Blank in Malta really kind of blew me away. I can’t say I ever thought I’d be in Malta as a kid, so landing someplace I’ve never even considered visiting and then making friends and the vibe is as thick as it was truly special. Korea, India, & Guatemala are all super special in their own way as well.
EG: What is more enjoyable for you? Touring or studio time?
Kevin Knapp: I dig both. Also, I miss one when I’m only doing the other. In the end though, I love rocking dance floors. It’s the only moment in life where I don’t feel some level of constraint and I love it for that.
“Just experiencing the size and girth of my lips while speaking and Blah Blah Blah was the most fun thing to say”
EG: Are you working on any new releases for the rest of year?
Kevin Knapp: You know it! ‘My Drug Birds’ EP feat, my childhood friend Baby Luck just dropped on Sola, and I’ve got several tunes I’ve worked on over the spring that need a home. We’ll just have to wait and see where they land but I think I have a good idea where that will be. Stay tuned!
EG: Can you share with us some of your favorite tunes on rotation?
Kevin Knapp: For sure – Chris Lake’s ‘Lose My Mind‘ has been a favorite for a minute. As well as almost everything Vangelis Kostoxenakis and Will Clarke touch lately. The new Koze album just dropped, you should peep that because that dude is important, for real.
Kevin Knapp’s ‘Blah Blah Blah’ is already available. Grab your copy here.
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