Patta is proud to present an exclusive mix by Kees "KC The Funkaholic" Heus, a proper local legend if ever there was one. Kees has the most impressive of resumés: he has been DJ-ing for nearly 40 years, works as the booker for pop venue, club and cultural center Paradiso, was the creator of Holland's longest running Hip Hop clubnight Bassline, co-founder of Super-Sonic Jazz label- and festival, is credited with the invention of the term Gabber-House and is now responsible for Summer Dance Forever, the international urban dance and theater festival that presents a program that combines battles, workshops, performances, parties and a seminar. We seized the opportunity to ask Kees a few questions about his passion for music, his career and the Summer Dance Forever Festival, which will be presented as an online festival this year and takes place from August 18th till the 26th.
Hi Kees, Team Patta of course knows you as a DJ/promotor/booker/legend, but some of our readers may not. As a quick introduction to our readers, please share who you are and what you do.
35 years ago I started DJ’ing in Amsterdam, and never really stopped. 25 years ago I became a promotor at Paradiso, booking countless shows. I’ve set up club nights, festivals, from hiphop to jazz to house to tropical. I’m also a father, of 11-year old Otis, we love to draw together and that the moment this song cracks us up:
The mix you’ve done for Patta, can you describe it?
The mix I made is a typical KC the Funkaholic mix. Eclectic as ever. From the old to the new, from hiphop to house, boogie, broken and at the end a little trip to Brazil. I change styles and tempos more then Edson changes his Pattas.
The mix starts in a battle mode.. The first 7 minutes is a dedication to our hiphop-dance festival Summerdance Forever, the energy, the dancers, the crowd. I feel so blessed to be a part of this movement. My bruk brothers from Dance Regular out in London delivered some exclusive heat that flourished into an official release that we set up with SuperSonic-Jazz.
Check the full release. Don’t hesitate, support and donate.
How did your relationship with Hip Hop music begin?
In 1979 I was 13-14 when Sugarhill Gang - Rappers Delight reached the charts in Holland. It was love at first hearing. The extended version was more than 15 minutes and I knew the lyrics by heart.
So when teachers asked who could rap the lyrics the longest at my school party I stepped up and won of course.
My prize? A voucher for a record.
What did I buy? The second rap song that would hit the charts, Joe Bataan- Rap-o-clap-o.
40 years later I’m the grumpy fool from the old school, madd critical towards todays hiphop but my love is still burning.
You’ve been involved in music since forever, it can’t always have been easy. Was there any point you felt like giving up? Why? And why didn’t you?
When you follow your passion you put your heart and soul on the line. It makes you vulnerable.
I was never able to separate work from my passion. It can be difficult and painful.
As a promotor there have been so many occasions that I even couldn’t face the situation.
When I booked J Dilla with Slum Village, first time in Amsterdam, just 40 people showed up. I was so embarrassed. Or with Sa-Ra creative partners: just 10 people bought a ticket.
At the end it only makes you stronger though.
It's therapy. Life lessons.
What is your favourite part about being a DJ?
I am a hard man to please and sensitive at the same time and usually aware of everything that is going on in the club. But when everything is in sync? The lights, the bouncers, the bar, the crowd. Thats magical.
A DJ is only one part of the experience. You can’t do this alone. It's a team effort.
It only happened a few times in my career but when it happens it’s so fulfilling that you end up chasing the dragon all your life.
What is the hardest part?
The time it’s not in sync and that is most of the time. Especially when you just started as a DJ you are trying hard to make something out of nothing. Playing your favourite banger and not getting any reaction from the crowd. Or even worse: that people start complaining, saying you're playing shit music. That hurts.
What part is the most rewarding?
What I always tried to do is create my own market. Create a party I would love to visit myself.
Bassline, Paradisco , Kindred Spirits, Ticket to Tropic’s, Via Brazil, Felabration and off course SummerDance and Clubbing Forever started that way. It's the long way home but at the end it's rewarding.
What advice would you give to young DJs trying to find their voice?
Listen to all styles of music, in every style there is something nice to be discovered.
Don’t be lazy, beat your algorithms.
Check other parties that normally won’t cross your path. Be curious.
And know your music and check not only the rare but also the obvious.
I just fell in love with a Marvin Gaye song I never heard before called Sanctified Lady.
Bit embarrassed, but it's on an album I have had for more than 30 years.
How did you conceive Summer Dance Forever and can you explain how it has become such a success story?
The idea of SummerDance Forever started when club Trouw invited me to celebrate my 25th anniversary as a DJ in 2009.
I started reminiscing what had changed in nightlife and I could only think of one thing: dancing had disappeared and raving took over club life. In the early nineties, how people moved on the dance floor changed completely. Before, people came to the club to dance with their entire body, to feel the music through their body. Music was the drug.
Then xtc became mainstream, and all kinds of other drugs. The chemical drugs took over the functionality music had before: surrender, deep emotions, feeling connected, excitement, etc. Music became more and more a feature that needed to enhance the drug-experience. It became more four-to-the-floor. And the dancing turned into raving: two stepping with one finger pointed in the air.
I realized we had forgotten you can listen to music your with your body, talk with your body and if you are open you can feel music in your heart. I started a dance competition with my long time jazz dancer clubber in crime John Agesilas to attract dancers back to the clubs. Dancers did’t even bother coming to clubs and had found their refuge in studios.
Crazy if if you realize beautiful dance forms as breakdancing, house dancing, vogueing, locking, popping etc were born in clubs. After 10 years SummerDance is home to all lost souls. Kids from all over the world come to Paradiso to dance, to exchange body languages and enjoy music in a club setting.
This year, the festival will take place online. What are the main objectives with the online festival and how do you plan on reaching those? Are you just as excited for it, as you’d be were it to take place at Paradiso?
We are transforming the festival to an online format. We are working on a television show so it's going to be so different from what we usually do. It's a big experiment. In the next weeks we will see what works and what doesn’t work online.
I’m super excited and curious of the outcome but it will never come close to the real deal.
Wish we could fast forward to the moment we are all waiting for.
In all your years at Paradiso, dealing with artists, you must have collected a ton of stories. Can you share one, just one with our readers?
First time Odd Future played a daytime show in Amsterdam it was a free concert at Paradiso on Queensday.
Imagine the dynamic mix between Odd Future and Queensday, that is anarchy times anarchy.
The show just started and I was still briefing the bouncers, warning them it was going to be a ruff day when the first stagedive casualty with blood dripping from his head was carried out of the main hall. Close to 20 kids made it to the Paradiso first aid and for one we needed to call an ambulance.
Stage diving was huge in the eighties at Paradiso when punk flourished. Old Paradiso staff who were around during that era were amazed to witness Odd Future’s stage diving skills. The longest and most fierce they have ever seen.
When a boy tried to stagedive from the balcony he slipped and fell on stage on his back and landed exactly between two monitors. After his "death fall" he just stood up and casually jumped from the stage. I bumped into the lucky bastard in the hall and asked if he was alright. Not aware he just escaped death he just pulled up his shoulders and looked at me if I was alright.
And sorry, but what happens backstage stays backstage but me, Odd Future and especially Tyler had a few learning moments that day.