Get Familiar: KC
Interview by Passion Dzenga | Photography by Violette Esmeralda | Styling by Tristian Mac-Donald
KC is a highly talented music producer, vocalist and executive producer who has significantly impacted the music scene in Amsterdam and beyond. With his recent release "T.T.G" on SMIB Records he pushes those boundaries even further. Hailing from the Bijlmer area of Amsterdam, KC has been a proud member of SMIB for years and his unique sound is now a key part of the identity of the collective. With a passion for producing innovative and engaging music, KC is quickly becoming one of the most exciting names in electronic music.
Can you tell us about your background and how you first got involved in music, specifically electronic music?
I’m KC. 28 years old, born in Amsterdam and grew up in de Bijlmer. I started producing music at around 16 years old but started making music as a young boy while playing in different Surinamese bands. My first exposure to electronic music came through Daft Punk back in the day but then I got involved with it after attending Dekmantel Festival in 2016. I got to see a couple of live sets that inspired me to do it.
How did your early experience with Surinamese music influence your musical style and development?
There is a lot of riddim culture in Suriname. I guess it was through riddims that I really crafted the style that I have. I’m always striving to make my productions swing so off the top of my head it would be the drums from our culture that influenced me the most.
Can you discuss your journey from producing music in your shed to becoming an executive producer for many musical projects within SMIB?
The process has always been fun-filled for me. Loads of laughter and learning also because making music with these guys is a great adventure. The executive producing came very organically for me. I just saw the potential in the guys around me and the whole process felt more like a family thing.
Your work with SMIB is known for being collaborative and bringing together many artists from the hood. Can you talk about your approach to collaboration and how you help bring out the best in each artist you work with?
Anytime I am working with these artists, I always try to link up with them. It gives me a better perspective on who we are as individuals before we collaborate. It’s important to try to know a bit more about each other. Before going to the studio I always try to link up with the artists. I find it important to know each other's interests in music, clothing and activities outside the booth. After that, it’s way easier to link with them or link them with other people. I knew most of the artists I worked with at SMIB way before we made music.
Can you describe the creative process behind your first self-produced project, "Van Kees Los"?
Van Kees Los is just a flip of this old Dutch saying “van god los”. I dropped the project on April fools' day and it was just like a one-time joke. It was a collection of songs that didn’t make it on to the other projects I was working on. Except for 20CM. I came across this vocalist Devv Tenkay just a couple of months earlier and I wanted to work with him so I made this song with Loopey, made sure the vibes were right and it worked.
How do you see your role as both a producer and a thinker within the musical projects you work on?
I don’t overthink my work but I do try to give the most I can. I always try to motivate everybody around me to get their full potential. It’s always a blessing when you have a platform, you get a space to share your art with an audience and show the world what you think music should sound like.
How did the creative process go on your latest records?
It was around three years ago when I was finishing CEDRIC. While I was finishing up that record, I linked up with another producer called Houssam. We were so busy working on beats that could fill up the gaps we had on this project that at some point we had a lot of drafts. So we decided to make it a project on its own. Most of these records were recorded at my Momma’s crib because I was homeless at the time. A fun fact is that some of the skits from the record are random recordings at my mom’s place, where you could hear my sister talking to her son and stuff!
Who did you work with on this one?
So I’ve produced most of the songs on this release alongside Houssam or just on my own. The features that we got our Jboy, Fosa, Loopy, Nodda, Narco, Tico Mac, Tads, Lost, Berano, Moka and Gunplay GG.
Your work is known for being innovative and pushing the boundaries of electronic music. Can you discuss how you stay on the cutting edge of your craft?
I keep my ear to the streets. I listen to whatever my people around me tell me to listen to as well as keep up my research. I got a small circle of people I trust and trust their ears just as much as I do my own. I’m not in the club that much but when I do head out, I’m at Kanaal40. They have great vibes and even greater curation.
What is your philosophy on music production, and how do you balance creativity with technical proficiency?
Just make the hours and you will start enjoying it! I challenge myself to be creative. Instead of just simply working in a DAW, I am much more into synthesizing over these last 5 years. This has forced me to be more creative and also forces me to be a bit nerdier with it at the same time.
Can you talk about a specific project that holds a special place in your heart and why?
I think a project that I find special is “Man In Noord” by Willem, just because the game needed that record at the time it came out. It means a lot to me even though I didn’t work on it personally. If I had to pick another it would be “Alice” by Ares.
What advice would you give to aspiring producers and musicians who are just starting?
Spend your free time doing stuff that will get you further. Make the extra hours and take everything as a lesson.