MUSIC: Q&A with Kev Kruz
MUSIC IS THE ANSWER: Q&A WITH KEV KRUZ
If you ever get a chance to meet Kev Kruz, pay attention to what this native New Yorker has to say. Forget the fact that this cat has an uncanny knack for knowing what party’s poppin’ and who’s who in the underground dance scene based on his background in promotion, production and DJ culture. More important, Kev Kruz possesses a serious ear for music and understands the importance of forward thinking. You won’t catch him asleep at the wheel _ whether he’s in the studio recording, at home writing or out in the clubs networking and promoting independent artists and parties. Recently, the enterprising entrepreneur spoke candidly with Tania Fuentez Media about the rise and influence of South African House music, why the American music industry abandoned House music in its infancy, the 24-hour hustle and what he’s doing to “keep that baby powder flowing.”
NOTE: All photos courtesy of Oscar P.
TFM: South African House music has taken the underground by storm since its arrival. How far can this go and why aren’t more mainstream audiences hip to the game?
South Africa is dope! America can and will have the same energy one day – meaning young people expressing themselves through House rhythms. The problem in America was twofold; first, the mass media in the late 80s-early 90s ran wild with the whole link between House music and gay culture … not only did that scare a lot of young people off from embracing House music but it left an industry with no next generation. As far as I can tell, today’s young black gay community in America could care less about House music, so basically there are no young people of any background in the game (or not nearly enough). But in New York, House wasn’t particularly gay at all and wasn’t particularly separate from Hip-Hop or Dancehall.
Second, and even more to your question, the American music industry abandoned House music when it was assumed that House didn’t have enough marketable acts, that House music was for the studio and not for the stage and music videos. The money to develop House artists disappeared … But South Africa is here to RESCUE US! Their musical lifestyle is just like Dancehall culture, like Go-Go culture down in D.C., like original Hip-Hop culture. South Africa gets it right, all you have to do is love funky-ass beats and like to move your body and House music will hit the spot for you … and it even goes better with your favorite drugs … And, when you’re doing House music correctly, there’s really no drugs necessary. It’s not the inclination of Americans typically, but we should totally be copying South Africa’s marketing strategies and business model. On that same note, I am forever proud and honored to be known as an Iklwa Brother, which is a music community of producers out of South Africa. Speaking for the youth, we like to ball and bubble (image wise), so give that to the mainstream and sky’s the limit … And, for all the flossing that we should promote, a good ass DJ will make you kick your shoes off quick fast in a hurry, feel me?
TFM: I’m sure you’re familiar with the Moodymann track, ‘Technologystolemyvinyle.’ What survival tips would you offer DJs/producers who want to survive and thrive in today’s digital culture.
Well, personally, I named my sound Mecca DIGITAL Hi-Fi way back around 1998 … it was easy for me to see the direction of music in relationship to the available technology. Digital concepts have been there for as long as samplers and drum machines have been on the market. The only problem was digital recording didn’t sound all that great at first, it had no warmth, but now the technology has caught up to the minds of creative people. So for all of those “purists” out there, get down or lay down. Time is not gonna wait for your old ass. I’m sure somebody complained when guitars went electric, but nobody has a problem with Jimi Hendrix. Technology is what you make of it, vinyl records have existed for what? Less than 100 years in the whole history of mankind? Stay as current as your comfort level … that’s my tip. And, pop some popcorn on a stove with a cooking pot next time you’re feeling chippy about technology – grrrrrr – LoL.
TFM: Besides music, what other outlets advance your vision creatively?
I have a love of all arts. I basically was a visual arts major in high school and a dance major at the same time – so having a major at all in the type of academically rigorous school I attended, much less a double major – it was kind of crazy. The point is, I gained a love and discipline with a number of creative mediums _ and if you know my story, I used to be a lead vocalist/MC in a Hip Hop/Punk Rock band, so I’m a little nice with words on paper. That’s my biggest passion and skill resting below the surface: writing words (of any variety) … words and cooking ! LoL – Ya’ boy gets down when it comes to that … the way my generation of my family grew up, the most love was in the kitchen – and dancing, that’s my meditation, that’s a big one.
TFM: What’s new with Kev Kruz _ production, events, life as a whole.
Wow, I stay busy – in the studio recording, at home writing, out in the clubs networking and promoting – It’s really a 24-hour hustle and I Love It! I’ve found a great Manhattan home for the Love + Light network of parties; I have some great tunes out in the stores and soon to be released; I just worked with Darryl D’Bonneau on a record that Todd Terry put out and the whole Iklwa Bros. remixed (geeesh, do the math to that last sentence *blessed*). Yeah, it’s also close to the time where I will be traveling and bringing my bag of DJ tricks to venues around the world … it’s all good money on my side of the fence – shout at ya’ boy – we can get some bottles poppin’ and draws droppin’ AND keep that baby powder flowing. Mecca Digital Hi-Fi is that precise balance.
TFM: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Five years from now? Looking back on this part of my life and being ridiculously grateful that I had the health and fortitude to carry out my crazy ideas :) Make it happen baby.
Kev Kruz on Reverbnation: http://reverbnation.com/kevkruz
Mecca Digital on Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/meccadigital
Mecca Digital on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/meccadigitalhifi
MediaServicesNYC (Oscar P.): http://mediaservicesnyc.com/