MxCx Interview#4 "Kanji Kinetic"
※ This interview has been recorded in the December 2, 2011 ※
Since he catapulted into the 2008 rave scene with the release of his 3rd EP on the long running Rag & Bone label; Kanji Kinetic became one of the original pioneers and champions of the Bassline scene. He subsequently branded his own breed of ‘Mutant Bass’.
As label boss at Mutant Bass Records, Kanji Kinetic has led the way in carving out his new sound, which unashamedly captures its influences from a broad spectrum across the rave scene, with the common uniting factor being lovingly engineered bass frequencies.
Kanji’s style is undeniably aimed squarely at the dancefloor, cutting right to the chase with percussion and bass fusions that will churn up any crowd of ravers. Mixing up styles from bassline, dubstep, drum & bass and more, Kanji’s productions and DJ sets are loaded with energy and have been described by Mixmag as “sheer ridiculousness that is hard not to like because, well, it’s genius.”
Q1.Where your home town?
I grew up just outside London, there wasn't much going on in my town but it was easy access to London so I would spend as much time there as possible. Currently I'm living in Bristol which I'm really enjoying for the music scene and general atmosphere.
Q2.Please tell me about your background. When did you interested in music?
Do you remember the first record you bought?
I'm from a musical family so I had the chance to make music from a young age. I played piano and drums, and was able to use a multitrack recorder early on.
Some of my first cassettes were N-Trance 'Set You Free'... Doctor Spin 'Tetris' ... and Nirvana 'Bleach'...
Q3.I feel the element of the "dubstep","Bassline house","Speed Garage" from your music. your affected to this music?
Although the influence of "Bassline house" is feel especially, what time you listen "bassline House" first?
I love almost all kinds of dance music and have spent a long time exploring the styles. I try and incorporate my favourite aspects of each genre into my sound. As for bassline house/niche, I heard it on the internet first because it was only played in clubs in the North of England (I was in the South.) But I loved that sound in particular and started to think about how I could combine it with elements from other styles.
Q4.Do you have any influences other than dance music?
Although reminiscent of hardcore and grind core of a drum beat(e.g. "Catch Me" (Kanji Kinetic Remix) ,"Bassface" (Kanji Kinetic Remix), you are also affected by the band music?
Yes, I'm a big fan of metal/hardcore/grind. I played drums in punk and metal bands for 5-6 years, so I like using elements from those styles in my tracks.
Q5.SF/Horror movie and game music are also feel from your music. Does it have influence of a movie, Game, Anime, etc.?
I'm a big fan of older video games, especially Japanese RPGs, including the soundtracks. I'm also into Asian and European cinema, horror, sci-fi and B-movies so I like to sample from these sometimes.
Q6.What time you made music first?
The first music I made was on my parents' Yamaha RX-8 drum machine - I would make beats and use the limited bass sounds and melodic effects to try and recreate music from TV shows and games.
Q7.What equipment was using first? What kind of musical style was made at first?
I started on the PC with FL Studio (Fruityloops) where I would make drum & bass. At first it was very basic! As I learned the software better I also started to make electro and techno.
Q8.What time is beginning of "Kanji Kinetic"? Please let me know the origin of the name of "Kanji Kinetic."
In around 2005 I bought some CDJs and started to DJ. At that time I was learning the Japanese language, because I was interested in Japan's games, films and culture. So I chose the name 'DJ Kanji'. Later, I discovered there was another guy called DJ Kanji already. So I added 'Kinetic' which means energy powered by movement (such as dancing.)
Q9.I think that your first 12"record release is "Shock Tactics EP (Rag&Bone)." How was the release from Rag&Bone decided? When the first 12"record release was decided, what did you think?
Jason from Rag & Bone Records contacted me through Myspace about the release. I was incredibly happy because Rag & Bone was one of my favourite labels, and I was extremely grateful to be able to release alongside artists such as Warlock, Blackmass Plastics, Aaron Spectre...
Q10.Then, your work of "Passionista /Slide Flo (Electrostimulation)", "Bakemono (Subgrade Records)", and "NLLR Mixtape 062" was released.
All the works shocked the listeners of Bassline/Heavy Bass of those days(2008). I remember very vividly.
Your sound which was not in past Bassline House or Bass Music scene. In "Bassline House" of those days, I think that it was a somewhat extreme expression.
Did you think that you would break ordinary "Bassline House" and usual "Bass Music"?
Please let me know the idea of your "Bassline" style.
I knew that the music I was making didn't fit into a style easily. (For example, the popular Bassline DJs wouldn't play it.) But I just created the music that I wanted to hear. There are many influences, often I would hear Fidget house and electro house, and think 'It's good but I wish it was faster!' Also I loved the structure and template of bassline, but thought that sometimes the sounds used were too limited. In a way I think I wanted to put the bass sounds from dubstep into the bassline format.
Q11."Positive energy" and "resistance soul" are feel from your music.(Like a party&destory) When making music, are own "thought/feeling" poured in? Or is music made in order to enjoy itself purely?
I like the party & destroy idea! Haha. I try to recreate the feeling that I had when hearing energetic music for the first time. Each track can have a different approach. Sometimes I will be thinking about a game or movie, sometimes a political issue, etc.
Q12.I think that there is "vigor to break/Destroy" from your music.
If your music has "resistance soul(or vigor to break/Destroy)", For what?
I think sometimes, dance music is too 'safe'. It can become a victim of its own restrictions. I want to make people feel something from the music. If people don't know what to expect, it's a more exciting experience.
Q13.Your music completely differs from many other "Club Track." There are originality and humor.
How to maintain a good quality and a release pace?
Thank you! Like all artists (that I know) I have good months and bad months for producing. It's important to have quality control, so for example I would rather have no releases than one I'm not happy with. For me it's important to keep a balance between making remixes and original tracks.
Q14.You have many styles, such as "Bassline House", "Drumstep", "Techno", and "Moombahton." When making music, is the style decided first? or it is unconscious and making music?
Sometimes I will have an idea in advance, but often, the track will change style during the process of creation. Usually I will try out a track at different tempos and see if there is more potential in a different style.
Q15.Your making remix for the artist of many genres, such as "16 bits", "Drop The Lime", "AC Slater", "Kid606", and "Si Begg." What is important at remix work? How is originality poured in with remix music?
Remixing is quite different to making an original track for me. It's an interesting experience and varies greatly depending on the source material. I try to make sure my style is still recognisable when I make a remix. The process of manipulating the sounds of the original track into my own style is enjoyable & rewarding. Also, when it's an artist I have a lot of respect for, such as all the ones you listed, it can be difficult to settle on a final track. With one remix for Si Begg I had over 30 different versions of the remix before I could decide on one!
Q16.What kind of Music Equipment are you using? How is your "Bass Sound" made?
At the moment I'm lucky enough to have a dedicated studio room. It's not connected to any neighbours so I can be quite loud most of the time! I use a Macbook Pro with Logic Pro & Ableton Live. This year I bought some Adam A7X monitor speakers which I'm very happy with. For my bass sounds I use a variety of different software synths including Logic's ES2, Sylenth, Massive and Circle.
Q17.Japanese sample and Japanese music are sampled by your music. Why was the Japanese sample used? If possible, please let me know the sample of "Kawaii Riddim."
I'm interested in the Japanese culture and multimedia. I was listening to artists such as DJ Sharpnel using anime samples in hardcore and gabber, and I thought it would be cool to try using them also with garage and bassline. I found Kawaii Riddim's samples while looking on Youtube for anime sounds (especially the high-pitched girls vocals!). I think it was an episode of 'Love Hina'!
Q18.You come to japan two time. Please let me know an impression of Japan.
What favorite japanese game,music,etc?
I really enjoyed my time in Japan. The clubs were lively and the people very friendly. Many people had heard my music before which was great. The live shows at Mogra were excellent - the DJs from Maltine Records were impressive. I also had a great time playing smaller shows in Tokyo and Kyoto, which were broadcast over Ustream.
It was good to be able to experience the culture of Japan and discover the similarities and differences between the music scenes, clubs, promoters, etc.
I was really amazed by the video game stores and arcades in Akihabara especially. There's nothing similar in the UK! I was able to pick up some of my favourite game soundtrack CDs that would be very difficult to find in the UK.
Q19."Kanji Kinetic Presents Drumstep & Mutant Bass V1" was put on the market now. This work is a help to the creator affected to Kanji Kinetic, and creator who is studying Drumstep/Mutant Bass. It is a very good work.
Dance music creator thinks that "Bass/Drum Sample" made by itself is the greatest invention. There was no resistance in releasing your "Bass/Drum Sample"?
Thank you! Yes, it's an interesting experience releasing my own samples, knowing that anyone will be able to use them. In a way, it's good for me because I'm then forced to make many more new sounds for myself, so that my tracks will continue to sound unique. I hope that many people will be able to use my samples and become inspired to make some 'mutant bass' of their own.
Q20.Please let me know the charm of "Bass Music."
In a club, of course, it's the powerful feeling in your chest of the vibrating bass bins... it means that the music is not just heard but also felt, bringing an extra dimension to the music. Certain bass notes and tones are felt differently to others which can have an unexpected or unique effect.
Q21.Please give to advice for a young dance music creator. How to make the music which has originality ?
My advice is to take influence from every style of music you enjoy. It may seem like a mess at first and of course it was the same for me, but gradually it begins to make sense. It's also fine to learn by trying to imitate your favourite artists, as most producers do at some point. After that though you can use what you have learned to make something new and original.
Q22.Many free download track on your SoundCloud and your will release Free Track for Net Label. How are the music to sell and the music released by Free Download decided?
Also, You have released some 12"records. Do you still want release of the record?
I like to release as much music as possible for free. But if a label that I respect asks to release some tracks, I will usually say yes. Different labels have different audiences, so it's possible to reach more people depending on the label.
I don't play vinyl in clubs, but it's good to have a release on 12". Vinyl is central to the history of dance music (actually, all music) so although it's now less common, I'm always happy to have a release on wax.
Q23.you are playing at party/festival in the world. Do you think that Mutant Bass and Bass Music have permeated all over the world?
What do you think of the dance music scene of UK now?
I've been lucky enough to play in a lot of countries so I know that people enjoy my music all over. But, the biggest dance music in the clubs right now is of course dubstep. I hope that as our popularity increases, Mutant Bass will become more and more well known.
The UK always has a healthy dance music scene and there are a lot of nights hosting Mutant Bass artists which is great. Again dubstep is the most common type of music in the clubs here as well. I wonder what will be the next 'big thing' after dubstep.
Q24.What kind of work would you like to make future?
I will continue changing and evolving my sound, and I hope to work together with more of my favourite artists, similar to the 「'Gyaku Gire' EP」 with 「Submerse」. I hope also to work on soundtracks for video games in the near future.
Interviewer : Ume (Murder Channel)