Interview with Kingdom

In Interviews on January 20, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Kingdom is a New York City based producer and DJ.  His combination of off-kilter garage-esque beats, treated R&B vocal samples, and pulsating synths caught the attention of more than a few prominent listeners last year. Two of those listeners included Alex “Bok Bok” Sushon and James “L-Vis 1990” Connolly. The duo run the influential London based Night Slugs label, and released Kingdom’s first full EP, That Mystic, to critical acclaim back in the summer. Midday Procrastination caught up with Kingdom before his Lookout show at Le Belmont on Friday.

Tell us the story of Kingdom.  Why did you start making music?

I’ve been making music my whole life, and learned MIDI sequencing from my piano teacher when I was 12. I started working on Kingdom beats when I had to get my tonsils out when I was 19 and was laid up in bed with my first drum machine and some prescription cough syrup. I made my first official mix-tape in 2006, which started by me throwing a Ciara a-capella over an old rave track the first time I used Ableton, and it just grew into an hour tape from there.

What were the influences that got you into dance music and bass music? Whose music are you listening to now?

I grew up listening mainstream dance music and freestyle, then Jungle and R&B later. Right now I’m mostly listening to what my friends are making: all my Night Slugs family, Nguzunguzu, Total Freedom, Rizzla, MikeQ, and The-Dream and Tricky Stewart productions.

How has it been releasing music with Fools Gold and Night Slugs, two of the best independent labels working today? Are there any differences between working with either?

Both have been really good. I’ve been friends with the Night Slugs crew since before the label so working with them is very casual and is really just an extension of our personal and collaborative relationship. Fool’s Gold has been great too, and has presented a lot of new opportunities, like having my music video for Mind Reader debut on MTV2.

What is the importance of “genre” for you? With many of the different strains of electronic music currently blending together are the conventions of genres like garage or dubstep still relevant or just constricting?

Those words help us describe musical styles more easily, so they are never going to be obsolete, but I think that music that adheres too tightly to one or the other is boring. Genres seem less and less relevant to me.

Do you prefer the act of DJing or producing new music? Is there one you have a more natural inclination towards?

Producing for me is a longer process, I revisit old drafts of beats over long stretches of time before completion, whereas DJing has a bit more sport to it and is more about playing around with whatever tracks I’m feeling that week.

Kingdom plays at Le Belmont this Friday 21 January. Click here to buy tickets.

Click here to play Kingdom’s track ‘Fogs’.

-By Steve Eldon Kerr


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