Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Exclusive Q & A with JKriv (Deep&Disco)

Leading up to halcyon's Slow Disco Saturdays party this weekend, we caught up with Jkriv before his appearance at the shop. Check out details on the event here.

New York’s Jkriv is knee deep in the city’s disco-house scene playing many hands as a musician, producer and DJ. We first discovered him when we came across his solid disco edits via Soundcloud and later found out he is also the bass player for the live house band, Tortured Soul and for the disco ensemble, Escort. He’s the resident DJ for the Just for Kicks party, which he runs with partner Aaron Dae and is about to launch his own label, Deep&Disco Records. Although DJing is quite “new” for Jkriv (he’s been manning the decks for roughly a year now) he’s proved pretty damn good at it and has been featured on various podcasts from Chicago to the UK.

At the dawn of his appearance at halcyon’s Slow Disco Saturdays gig this weekend we caught up with Jkriv to chat about disco, disco and well, more disco...See below for music and mixes to stream and download...

Bianca Merbaum: You’ve been part of Tortured Soul for the several years now. Is this solo production and your Deep&Disco project something recent or has it been in the works for some time? I also understand DJing is something kind of new for you too, is that correct?

JKriv: Right, I’ve been doing Tortured Soul for the past seven years. Along the way I’ve always been working on my music of my own. Some stuff I write and bring to the band and some of it is not quite right for that.

I have a lot of different things that I do but a lot of it has fallen into this disco and disco-electro sound but always with a soul edge to it. For me that’s what I dig. I like to listen to a lot of different kinds of music. I started DJing recently. And that’s why I started that Deep&Disco party at Rose Bar. Then I started trying to get out there on Soundcloud and doing disco edits and putting some of my production up there. I really haven’t gone too many places with this yet. It’s kind of the beginning of it but it’s taking a nice shape.

BM: Does it matter to you that people associate you first with Tortured Soul? Or are you trying to make your own reputation as JKriv/Deep&Disco?

J: No, it doesn’t bother me. I’m a lot more popular as a member of Tortured Soul than I am by myself, so just from a PR stand point I don’t mind it. And I’ don’t find it limiting because I just feel like I’ll do whatever I want and if people don’t like it, they don’t like it. But I think I’ve evolved. I just don’t care so much. I’m part of Tortured Soul and that’s part of who I am and I do other stuff too.

BM: I really like your edits and the mixes you’ve been putting up. I’ve been following your Soundcloud page for a couple months now. What are your goals as far as your solo work?

J: Well one thing I’m starting is Deep&Disco Records just to put out some of this stuff. The concept is to put out music that I’m doing and then include remixes by people in this scene like Matthew Kyle, guys like Blacklodge and a bunch of other people.

Jody Watley - New Love (DEEP&DISCO Version) by deepanddisco

BM: The Soundcloud community has become quite a phenomenon, especially among disco revivalists and edit lovers like yourself.

J: Soundcloud is a really cool community and I’ve met a lot of people like that who are very like-minded, musically, who are into the same thing. I’m a little bummed because I heard that they are taking down people’s edits. A lot of people have been complaining lately. It’s happened to a lot of people on Soundcloud. They are taking down anything that has unlicensed samples. It’s hard for me because I’m a musician and I really feel both sides. As someone who makes a lot of original music I’ve unfortunately felt how much it hurts when people have no respect for ownership.

BM: This is true. Then again, there are two sides to that story. On the one hand is the whole ‘ownership’ side of it and on the other hand, some people argue that edits are a way of complimenting the original artists, doing justice to the song so to speak.

J: In some cases, people are really digging. That’s part of it – to find that track that someone hasn’t edited yet. And at this point you have to really dig deep to find that track. So in those cases there are unknown artists who are being brought back to people’s awareness. But Thelma Houston doesn’t really need a remix of hers to let everyone know that she’s awesome. I did that one Thelma Houston edit, which got played by the guys from the 6th Borough Project and got a lot of love. It’s only been good for me but it hasn’t really been any good for Thelma Houston. I’ll just accept that. If they take it down, I’m just going to say oh well and start making original music.

Thelma Houston - You Used To Hold Me So Tight (DEEP&DISCO Version) by deepanddisco

BM: Are you planning to make any of your own productions?

J: Yes. I have my first Deep&Disco release basically ready to go right now. It’s a track that my friend and I did – he goes by the name Munga on Soundcloud. Then we have remixes from Sleezy Mcqueen, Space Ranger and Blacklodge.

BM: Sounds great. I’ll keep my eye out. Speaking of disco and your gig coming up at halcyon’s Slow Disco Saturdays party, how would you describe “slow disco” to someone who has never heard of it before?

J: There is a lot of music now that has been classified as ‘slow disco’ and it’s basically slow house. Instead of making house at 125 BPM, you’re making it at 106 BPM.

There’s that and there are also those disco tracks, from the 70s, which sound really dated now. I mean it’s still great music but they don’t necessarily hold up in terms of what you’d necessarily want to play or what I’d want to play. Then there’s music after that, which comes from the early 80s. It’s still disco but with more synths incorporated, which borders on what then became 80s dance. A lot of people are making music now that sounds like that. So it’s kind of fun, because you can play a set of that stuff and the original music and it works really well together.

JKriv DJ Set "Live" @ Just For Kicks 10-22-10 by deepanddisco

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