Introducing k.o - Diversity in Dubstep #1

Introducing k.o

Diversity in Dubstep #1

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It’s been almost three years(!) since the last interview/ feature on FatKidOnFire. We’ve taken a step back on non-label content, but returning to our roots in a new series promoting what I’m calling ‘diversity in dubstep‘.

Over the last ten years, I can count (on probably one hand) the number of non-male producers, DJs and otherwise interesting individuals we’ve featured on any of our platforms. As a label, we’ve also never released material (on either of our FKOFd and FKOFv imprints) from non-male artists.

It’s not good enough.

Moving forward, we’re making a conscious effort to change that by highlighting talented individuals or collectives from broader/ diverse backgrounds – be that gender, sexuality, race and everything in-between. If you think that’s you, or someone you know, I’d love to hear from you. Give me a shout via email or on Twitter and let’s chat!

I met Klaudia, you may know her as k.o, when we were both DJing with the Dungeon Beats crew in Poznan, Poland earlier this spring. She’s a resident DJ across two crews (Dungeon Beats and DrumObsession) in the city; where she’s known for her impeccable 2 (and sometimes 3) deck mixes at both 140 and 170bpm+.

We found some time between shows to sit down, chat through how she got started and what she’s up to and what’s next. Klaudia also found some time to record a 3 deck guest mix for your pleasure – track list, download and links below.

So, without further ado…

Hey k.o, how you doing? For those who maybe don’t know you, can you give a quick introduction? Hey there! Very well, thanks. I’m a Poznan (Poland) based DJ, promoter, bass music enthusiast and also a proud member of Dungeon Beats and DrumObsession crews – two extremely active initiatives pushing bass sound in my country.

How long have you been DJing and how did you get into it? Well, it’s been over four years since I played my very first set in a club, but the whole journey began much earlier.

Getting into DJing was preceded by years of passion to music and experiencing dozens of live concerts, festivals and bass events. Listening to the sets of local selectors, podcasts and mixes from DJs and producers from all around the world, combined with my musical background played a crucial role when I decided to blend my first tracks.

Making baby steps wasn’t that difficult as my free downloads collection, with music mostly from FatKidOnFire, Hedmuk or Deep Heads and loads of underground producers (thank you for that!) was pretty big and my closest friends were already into DJing. I had been working on my skills by playing at house parties, recording mixes and putting them online. After a few months, promoters started inviting me to their line ups – the first one being the third edition of Dungeon Beats cycle.

You’re a resident for a few crews across D&B and dubstep/ grime in Poznan, how did that come about? So yeah, as I mentioned, I’m a part of two incredible initiatives, which have been with me for years.

Everything started about 10 years ago, when dubstep had its big moment. At first, it was all about such big names as Benga, 16-bit or Borgore, then it kind of rapidly went underground. It was really visible how dubstep left out of the picture and techno appeared instead – that’s exactly the time when DrumObsession and New Bass Order occurred in my life. The first initiative taught me everything I know about drum and bass and made me fell in love with it. Although, it was 140bpm which was my number one. NBO events with guests like Kryptic Minds, Razor Rekta, Demon or Distance were consistently reminding the local bass community that dubstep is alive in its new, underground form. The Dungeon Beats cycle took off with that same idea in mind and has certainly set some new standards when it comes to 140/dubstep events in Poland.

Years of digging and broadening my collection, being up-to-date with my favourite labels and working on my skills as a DJ made me a regular guest at bass events and festivals across the whole country. Having collaborated with Dungeon Beats in several projects ended in an amazing relationship – me being an official DB representative was a matter of time actually. Now I can proudly say I’m a part of the crew for almost a year!

DrumObsession is another collective I’ve worked with quite often. This 13-year-old drum and bass initiative played a pretty huge role in my DJing journey. Having attended dozens of their events I’ve found lots of new inspirations and discovered how various and broad this genre is. Mixing dnb seemed to me a lot more challenging than the 140 stuff, so I had to give it a try! I started from playing halfstep, which I was into for quite some time, and it turned out the tempo is not an issue at all when you know your selection inside and out. After a couple of my biggest dnb appearances, it was clear for DrumObsession crew I was the young blood they were looking for. The upcoming edition will be my third event as a part of the team!

Who are your musical heroes? Who would your dream b2b be with? My musical heroes are countless – beginning with my trip hop inspirations such as Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead to progressive metal/rock bands like Tool, ending with jazz artists such as John Coltrane or Miles Davis and many, many more somewhere in between.

When speaking about electronic music – it’s not just about the productions. It’s also about mixing skills, selection, contact with the audience while playing a set/live act and most importantly – the artist/DJ as a person. After quite some time of being a promoter, I’ve met some really amazing people and interacting with the headliners was and still is one of the coolest moments of this process for me. I can say that most of these people are kind of my heroes and that would include such legends as J:Kenzo or Joe Nice.

When it comes to my dream b2b – I have already played one! This legendary moment took place quite recently, at DrumObsession 13th Birthday when I had the chance to play with Rupture’s DJ Mantra. It would be amazing to play b2b with such skilled DJs as J:Kenzo, Joe Nice, dBridge, Loxy or Djinn and many, many, many more DJs I admire.

Do you produce music, as well as DJ? Do you think you need to do both? I’m not there yet, but I think about starting to produce from time to time. Being just a DJ seems totally fine to me, just as much as being just a producer – as long as it’s enough for you. The thing with ‘just DJs’ is they play mostly locally and miss out on their bookings abroad. ‘Just producers’ miss out on their bookings at all, but they have the time to dedicate to their work. I don’t think anyone should feel obligated to start producing or DJing, when they don’t feel like doing it.

If you could give yourself some tips or advice about getting into DJing looking back since you started, what would you tell yourself? I’d definitely tell myself to be an active listener while mixing, especially when using a controller (I was using one at the beginning and picked up really bad habits) and I’d switch to CDJs much earlier or even start DJing from playing them. I’d also tell myself to play more b2bs. From my experience, it’s a great way of leaving your comfort zone, learning to feel more confident with your mix and blend tunes from outside your collection which has a huge influence on your skills and technique.

Who’s your favourite DJ right now? What makes a good DJ: blends or access to tunes no one else has or something else? Hard to choose a particular one! There are some DJs though, whom I admire very much and that would be CrissNSA from Dungeon Beats and Alegria from DrumObsession. These guys are my favourite b2b partners and they always smash it in their solo sets.

I believe that being a DJ is about knowing your audience and delivering fine selection in a way that makes them want to listen, if that makes sense. When it comes to DJing, I’m a big fan of blending challenging tunes – with vocals, percussions, melodic lines. Doesn’t matter if the tracks are released or unreleased. The magic begins when people who listen to your set ask about the VIP you’ve just played and it’s a blend! I think the key is to use tracks you’re really into, so when you have access to ones no one else has and they’re good – use them! When it comes to dubstep, I feel that lately it’s all about dubplates. At the same time more and more productions are diffucult to mix, so DJs tend to avoid blending.

For me, one of the most exciting parts of this craft, no matter which genre I mix, is the feeling when I create something new from something that already exists – and that’s the DJ’s role.

Where can people find you online – and any final words or shout outs? You can follow me on facebook, but I’m definitely more active on the Dungeon Beats fanpage. I’m also on Instagram and SoundCloud, which I mostly use to spread the word about my activities.

Thanks for having me, FatKidOnFire! It’s an honour to contribute to the initiative I’ve been supporting and following for so long! I’d also like to thank both Dungeon Beats and DrumObsession crew for trusting me and for so many amazing opportunities over the past years. Huge thanks to my closest friends and everyone supporting my work – can’t express my gratitude. Big up!

Thanks again to Klaudia for her time and the incredible mix she’s put together.

There’s a lot coming from k.o and the wider Dungeon Beats/ DrumObsession crews over 2020, so follow via the links below and get involved! Shout out the photographers for both collectives for the awesome photos used here. Get to know here.

Click to DOWNLOAD (126MB)

Track list:

  1. Gisaza – Novoa [DeepEnd]
  2. Alix Perez – Spooked [1985 Music]
  3. Drone – Fangz [Coyote Records]
  4. Cadik – Juicy Fruit [White Peach Records]
  5. Commodo – Hadi Hadi Ah [Black Acre]
  6. Commodo – So Clear (Darkimh flip) [Self released]
  7. Gisaza – Vipress [DeepEnd]
  8. Hypho – Synesthesia [Self released]
  9. The Illuminated & The OG Ninja – Zui Quan [Infernal Sounds]
  10. TMSV – Temple [Innamind Recordings]
  11. Gramz – Joken [Crucial Recordings]
  12. DE-TU – Sippin’ [White Peach Records]
  13. Hitman – Murdah Music [dub]
  14. SP:MC – Declassified [Tempa]
  15. Drone – Probiscus [Coyote Records]
  16. Ago – Backlash [Subaltern Records]
  17. Bengal Sound – Pablo [Innamind Recordings]
  18. Boofy – Ledge [Innamind Recordings]
  19. Bengal Sound – Young Skeleton [Innamind Recordings]
  20. Shu – Zero Sum [Rarefied]
  21. Biome – Red Opps [forthcoming Dungeon Beats]
  22. Feonix – Heavyweights [dub]
  23. Darkimh – Tell Me Nothin [Infernal Sounds]
  24. Kabuki – Righteous [dub]
  25. Zha – The Tale Of She [White Peach Records]

Share your thoughts on our chat with k.o via the footer below or get in touch with FKOF via email or Twitter.