Fresh Talent: Kontakt
Man like Kontakt in the building! Fresh talent with a fresh attitude. We often speak to producers here at Drum&BassArena HQ and what really stands out with this young, talented producer is not only his audio appeal but also how polite he is. Big up the manners crew inside the ride!
Let’s get one thing straight from the off – rollers and jump up are the same thing…
2019 was a big year for jump up and that’s certainly a sound you’re riding. What do you think (bar the foghorns) made it so irresistible to the ravers?
“Jump up is a high energy music man, I mean drum and bass is too however, jump up can really top the energetic vibes. I think it’s the personalities in it too – people like Upgrade, Redx, Bou, Dutta; they’re all very energetic performers so it pushes that vibe into the room.
Some people take jump up to weird places but experimentation leads to creative breakthroughs in my opinion.”
It seems like everyone is craving the ‘new sound’ right about now but in your opinion, what is the new sound?
“I’m not sure, y’know? I’d like to say there almost isn’t a controlling sound at all. I don’t listen to a lot of drum and bass in general so the whole hate and fight between different sub genres is just confusing. There is sick music in all sub genres!”
We often talk about how producers craft their own sound. You can always spot a producer and their signature sounds if they have spent time perfecting something unique. How do you describe the Kontakt sound and what steps did you take to make it?
“My sound is accidental I think, I have an idea of something I want to try and make then I use things I’ve figured out along the way to try and achieve them! I think that’s how you find your sound by gradually learning little bits to make the ideas you have in your mind.”
When you first took to the controls, was it producing or DJing that took priority?
“I actually only started with an agency this year. I had a lot of issues with anxiety and tended to keep myself to myself. I feel a lot of this stopped me from playing sets, however, I met a lot of people who helped me which I fully appreciate.”
Do you think it’s true that to be a good producer, you must first master the art of being a good selector? Talking of which, how do you best describe being a good selector?
“Nah not at all! I think that as long as you have creative passion and ideas that work well for people then you can pursue it and achieve it! Following the vibe of a crowd is pretty easy really, it comes down to making smiles bigger with more tunes like the ones that made them smile before ha ha!”
It must be pretty nerve wracking going up behind the decks for the first, second and probably thirtieth time? How do you deal with this or do you even get nervous? Are pre DJ set jitters a real thing or just a myth?
“My way of dealing with jitters and nerves is to keep good strong people in my life. I think we can often underestimate the strength we can absorb from those around us and when I go to events I have people with me. I often have friends there and always have someone on the other end of the phone if need be so that settles the nerves for sure.”
At a time when mental health is at the forefront of our minds, what advice would you give to follow artists when they see or hear negative feedback about their music or performances? Do you have any previous experiences in this and how it may have affected you?
“Mental health is a huge topic for me, I have aspergers, anxiety, issues with isolation and many other things and I have felt as though keeping that in and trying to just push on was the right thing but I also realise that it doesn’t ever help to allow negatives to become your main feeling.
I have known many people, musicians or not, who regularly tell me they just put on a strong front and shut off and don’t see negative times as chances to grow which is something I realised recently myself.
The best thing to do is to remain focused, find something in you that drives you, try to make music and movements for yourself, help anyone you can on the way and remember everyone has their own shit they struggle with.”
It’s obviously good to talk to friends and family face to face even if they have no idea about our scene and it’s negative pitfalls. How do you convey a positive message to follow heads in the scene when they seek advice?
“I try to always be honest. I think the most positive response or advice is honest advice. People send music often and I try to listen to it all and some is amazing but naturally there are people who are learning and being realistic – that learning means you don’t know it all yet and have to take constructive criticism.”
You’re pretty upfront about being dyslexic and fair play to you for not being shy and holding back. Do you find it to be a hindrance at all or are people generally pretty relaxed from past experience?
“All mental health conditions can hold you back, dyslexia isn’t something that causes me huge issues in music.
Things like anxiety causes more issues as I tend to find the things that are very irrational fears tend to seem most likely to happen but people tend to always take care when they put an event together!
Good people will take time and make extra effort for your struggles so long as you explain it.”
Back to the beats and feeling properly positive about the future, what’s in store for 2020 production wise?
“I have a lot of stuff I’ve been working on actually, I’m doing about 5 EP’s and I have a bag full of singles in LP’s and two tracks. I have a bunch of colabs and I have recently joined the Nu Wave agency alongside Jam Thieves, Mofes, Agro and many more.
I’m looking forward to my next release which should be my EP on Serial Killaz.”
Any dream link ups on the way?
“I’ve been talking to a few names recently that I never thought I would! But unfortunately I can’t say much at this time.”
Talking of which, who would you love to collaborate with in the scene?
“If I had any choice I’d love to work with Annix or Upgrade, two sounds that influence my music a hell of a lot! They both have a lot of attention to detail and some incredible sound design.”
Remix competitions are back already for 2020, is this something you or any of the labels you work alongside are entertaining? What’s your thoughts on this in general?
“I think they’re good, they can be seriously over saturated at times but it only pushes the artists involved further and helps everyone. I was thinking of doing a remix competition for a track of mine soon but I’m not sure when exactly I will be able to.”
Anything else you want to mention? Any big ups and shouts? Any other news?
“Big ups to everyone helping me recently and pushing my music! Big shouts to all the mates I’ve made in the scene and love to family and friends who support.”