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DOA: Talk to us about when you first started dabbling in music. Are you trained in any instruments?
Kjell: I started playing piano from a young age, then moved to trumpet when I was 12 years old and played it until college, where I was a music major with a minor in trumpet performance. I wasn't happy doing that however, and dropped out to pursue beatmaking. Looking back, I regret dropping out, although given my mindstate at the time I'm not sure I would have been able to stick it out and complete my major. So, to any young musician going through a similar situation, I would say to take in as much music education as possible. You never un-learn it and it's only helpful in the long run.
DOA: When did you first started getting into Electronic music? Were you always a fan of Drum & Bass?
Kjell: Well, I was a Hip-Hop junkie since the first time I heard LL Cool J's "Radio" in the 4th grade, but I didn't get into the other stuff until high school. Will Miles had a tape called Techno's Greatest Hits or something like that, it was early hardcore breakbeat and we'd bump it in the car all the time. The first official "jungle" track I heard was Shy FX's "Orginal Nuttah" from the Moonshine compilation Law of the Jungle. It was on a Tower Records listening station and Will and I went bananas listening to that track. We bought the tape and it was over after that.
DOA: What is it about DnB that excited you so much to start creating?
Kjell: Originally I really liked the frenetic pace of the drums, but as it progressed and became more complex I really started to see it as the new jazz music. Metalheadz, Reinforced, etc. were putting out amazing, groundbreaking beats and the culture behind it in the UK was fascinating to me. That type of culture certainly did not exist in Richmond, VA. So Will and I were deep into it, we got some (borrowed) turntables and other equipment and learned how to make beats and DJ, and I am really old because that was about 15 years ago.
DOA: How would you describe your style of DnB?
Kjell: My style is me, basically. It reflects all the music I've taken in over the years, and all I do is try to make sure it sounds decent.
DOA: We remember first hearing your bits on that Colours Audio release in 2007. Was Ink was of your early supporters?
Kjell: You could say he was, that was my 3rd release after two things on Trackdonalds and Digital Blus. My boy Aaron Perpetuum, who I knew from VA Beach, was working with Ink on various projects around that time and introduced my music to him. I've never met him in person but he loves music and is all about quality so I'm happy for a release with any of his labels.
DOA: You've also put out bits for Function, Creative Source, Influence and other reputable imprints. What are some of your aspirations, release-wise, with your tunes?
Kjell: Well, every producer wants a vinyl release, and for a long time that was a hang-up for me, I didn't want to do digital-only because it wasn't a tangible "thing". Now I'm not so picky, the industry is way different from when I started and I understand that. These days, if I like a label's output and I know they will promote my music well and not duck emails and IMs then I'm fine to release with them.
DOA: You recently opened up the vaults and started giving away some amazing bits – we've been rinsing "Grand Groove" here at DOA HQ. What made you want to start up unleashing bits on Saturdays for free?
Kjell: "Grand Groove" is a tune that people really love, apparently, and I have been getting questions about its release from random people for years now. So instead of replying with my standard "I'm not exactly sure but it should be coming out soon... etc", I decided to give it out on Soundcloud. The response from that was so gratifying that I am now continuing to give out more tunes that really weren't going to see the light of day otherwise, and there are a LOT of those (Ed. note: we've got them for you at the end of this piece). The money I make off releases is so meager anyway that I've long given up on the belief that I can make a living off it. Once that is accepted, giving out free music feels great and is very liberating. I will continue to shop around tunes, however, because I will always need that money for paper towels and toilet paper.
DOA: We know you've got a release for Rubik on the way. Talk to us about that single.
Kjell: My Rubik release is out now, "Dependence"/"Lincoln Place". "Dependence" is a tune I did last summer, it has three parts and is based on the course a drug takes as it goes through your system. It starts as a warm feeling, then it takes off in the middle as it really takes effect, then the end is kind of a hazy return to cold reality. "Lincoln Place" is a jazzy upbeat summer tune, that I finished about two years ago and is one of my favorite tunes I've ever made, partly because it took so little time to make.
DOA: What else is lined up for you, release wise?
Kjell: There are a few things, "Cloud 34"/"Final Protector" on Architecture, "Time Lord" on Broken Audio, "Rhythmic Nature" on Influence, and "Falling Rocks" on Secret Society's new imprint New World Ordio. I'm extremely happy to see that Will Miles has just relaunched his label Miles A. Head, so hopefully Will can hook me up with a release in the near future, he owes me lol.
DOA: What are some of your aspirations as an artist?
Kjell: I just want to make music that people can enjoy over time.
DOA: What do you get into outside of producing music?
Kjell: Well, I got married recently, so I'm into that at the moment lol. Basically right now I'm just livin'. My full-time job is as a bike messenger in NYC, been doing that for over a year now, and it's been a great experience to really see the city in that light. I'm currently working on a non-DnB album reflecting that experience which I will be giving out for free when it's done. I have no idea when that will be.
DOA: Any shouts or final thoughts?
Kjell: Shouts of course to my lovely wife Brittanny, my amazing and supportive family, Will Miles, Aaron (Ill Omen) and Karl (Mixed Media) who make up the Venture Brothers, all my Style Control, NUCO, Camp Zero fam, Photosynthesizers and all my Richmond heads, Driven AM and NYC fam, all the UK gods whom I've gained the inspiration from to do this, and anyone who has been good people over the years, I love all y'all.
As an added bonus, Kjell has sent over a .zip full of the bits he has been releasing for free over the last few months…
Is It Because
Rain on the Brain
Sign of the Ages
:: DOWNLOAD ::
*GRAB KJELL TRACKS FROM DOA DOWNLOADS
RECOGNISE! Kjell ftw
Still one of my fave producers! Love ya work mate!
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