J:Kenzo has been a main stay on the Dubstep scene for many years now. Not one for theatrics or hype, his rise through the ranks has resulted in a gradual development, which now positions him as power house amongst his peers. Releasing records on a string of prominent independent labels including ‘Dub Police‘, ‘Argon‘ and his own ‘Soul Shakerz‘, J:Kenzo’s sound stays true to the original motif of the music, whilst taking bass weight with Techno sensibilities straight to the dancefloor.
This week sees the release of J:Kenzo’s debut full length self-titled album (read the IA review) on the iconic ‘Tempa‘ imprint. We caught up with Jay ahead of his performance at ‘Rinse FM’s 18th Birthday‘ for a little Q & A to remind us what makes him tick.
For those less acquainted, could you tell us who you are, where you’re from and what you wanted to do when you were young?
I am J:Kenzo a DJ and Producer from Kent in the South East of England. When I was young I wanted to be a martial artist or football player.
Was music an influence on your life growing up? Can you remember any poignant moments?
Music has been a great part of my life from my early childhood. My Dad was a great music fan and collector. I was surrounded by Soul, Jazz, Reggae, Rare Groove and Rock growing up.
One of my earliest memories is watching my Dad going through his record collection of 7”s & 12”s singles and recording his favourites onto tape cassette for the car.
How far back does your interest in electronic music stem and what motivated you to start making it?
It started around 1988 I bought my first LP compilation ‘The Hits of the House are Here’ which was an album of Hip Hop and Acid House.
Every track on there sends me to a different place, back to my childhood. It also includes one of favourite all time tracks by Nitro Deluxe ‘Let’s Get Brutal’.
Around that time started getting into scratching and beat matching and then the whole Rave scene started and for years I had wanted to create music myself.
The mix we asked you to put together, was there any particular motivation or motif behind it?
It is an expression of the sound that I represent at my live shows. It includes my favourites from my album as well as some great tracks from other producers that I am really feeling.
What are your instruments and software of choice when producing music? Why?
I run a PC with Reason and Cubase. I have used both since I began producing 6 years ago. I enjoy working with them both in their own separate ways.
How do you see the current state of UK club culture considering Dubstep’s rise into mainstream consciousness?
It will never be like how it used to be in the 90’s and early 2000’s. The internet has a huge part to play in both good and bad for club culture in the UK.
Dubstep has been one of the first genre’s to grow with the rise of the internet and I hope it will continue to be a em genre even after the mainstream commercial side dies out.
It all started when DJ Youngsta began playing my tracks on Rinse FM. I got my first single signed to Tempa and met with Sarah and the team to discuss future projects and the idea for an album came about.
Now it has been released I can look back and say that it is a true representation of the sound that I have been pushing for the last few years and bringing through my influences from Hip Hop to Jungle to Techno to Dub, I would describe the album as a ‘Journey’.
Hopefully the album will influence and give freedom to the next generation of Dubstepper’s to represent what is true to them.
Any chance of an insight into what your listening to at the moment?
Have you been working on any collaborative projects over the Summer?
There are a few ongoing projects but nothing I can disclose just yet.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not grafting beats and rinsing dancefloors?
Spending time with my family, keeping fit, MMA and hitting the PS3.
Now with a slew of releases on various labels and an album on one of the most influential Dubstep labels, where do you see your creative direction taking you?
Creatively I will continue experimenting with the sound and different tempo’s, I still feel have a lot to learn from music production. My aim is to continue to provide music for the Dancefloor as well as the Home stereo.
Do you have any parting words of wisdom for our readership?
Stay true to what you believe in, work hard and anything can happen.
1. J:Kenzo – Invaderz (Truth Remix)
2. Soap Dodgers – Contact
3. Proxima – Lie Detection
4. J:Kenzo – Contagion
5. J:Kenzo ft Rod Azlan – Ruff House VIP
6. Tunnidge – War Drum
7. J:Kenzo ft Footsie – No Man’s Land
8. J:Kenzo – Depth Charge
9. J:Kenzo – Statement of Intent
10. Truth – Last Time
11. Icicle & Youngsta – Momentum