Culture

MUSIC: Kon – On my way

by Ayian C.

Kon potrait

 

Although crowning himself ‘King of Nothing’, Kon could comfortably sit on the throne of his plaudits, being hailed by many as one of the top disco DJs in the industry.  Already celebrated across the globe for his quality compilations and classic re-edits, Kon continues to take things to the next level – this time as a producer with his debut album On My Way released earlier this summer on UK imprint BBE.

During a whirlwind visit to London that included DJ gigs in the capital’s Lovebox festival, a Brixton rooftop party and digging (of course), Kon gave the Couch Sessions some insight into his multi-faceted music realm.

 

Kon on the new album On My Way

It’s feel good music. Summer vibes. If I had to coin it myself, I would call it ‘boom bap disco’. The drums smack; they’re up front. But it is nu-disco, for the lack of a better term ‘boogie with a touch of house’. But there’s also some R&B and a little bit of pop even.

 

Kon-On My Way

 

Kon on his productions

From here on out, it’s about the production. I did a lot of hip-hop in the 90s – on Rawkus, Fat Beats, Fondle ‘Em. I became disenchanted with the direction that hip-hop took, so I stopped making beats and focused on DJing. After recovering from getting sick, I started pushing myself more in the studio. At the same time, I was assembling my new team, putting everyone together. All the wheels are in motion now and it’s oiled pretty well.

 

Kon on remixes

I’m not a fan of when a label takes an artist and then makes a remix of every type of genre because it says to me the product on its own is not that strong where you need so many remixes. And it says to me you’re just trying to fit in with whatever is hot at the moment. I’ve never been about that. I don’t give a shit what’s hot right now. I don’t really follow fashion. I love fashion but I like things that are timeless. I don’t like rules and I really don’t like trends. I like things that stand the test of time. If you’re creating – period. I’m a firm believer in being honest and doing what you really believe in from your heart, rather than sales potential or what looks cool at the moment.

 

Kon on the Cerrone re-edit

That record almost never came out. That track was just for me and I gave it to Gilles and he loved it and played it. Then someone bootlegged it with Gilles talking on the radio. I got word of it and emailed the shop in Germany that was advertising it. So I did that record with Mad Matts, and I knew that was going to do well, but I didn’t realise how well. That sold a little over 3,000 vinyl copies, which is huge because people have a tough time selling 500 copies.

 

Kon on buying records

It’s like stocks and bonds. You gotta know what’s out there and gotta know its value. The guy that taught me a lot sold his collection to Ubiquity Records; he bought two houses. This guy had everything, every rare record. Ubiquity bought his collection and called up Shadow, Cut Chemist, Dante, all these guys. Bring your cheque books because we have so and so’s collection. He was a big time dealer, he used to do the New York shows, used to supply Q-tip, Diamond D, all the big hip-hop guys. During one of the most prolific times of sample-based hip hop, this guy was one of the main suppliers of records that were being used as samples or loops or chops.

 

Kon on digging in London

Favourite places in London to buy records? For new stuff  – Phonica, Crazy Beat. Most of the time I deal with guys that sell privately. I look for particular things and I’m looking for quality. Since I don’t live in London it’s hard for me to hit shops consistently, so I usually go to guys who have already done the work and know what I’m looking for because it’s high-end stuff.  Those days are gone when you find the craziest records in the flea market for one dollar. There are people who do that work for you worldwide and you hit them up and develop a rapport and form relations with those people. You come into town, you hit them up, and they know your taste – I’m in town; what’s good? You got a stack for me?

 

Kon at Phonica

Kon at Phonica Records

 

Kon on vinyl

I’m not a vinyl warrior. I don’t give a shit what format you choose to play your music from. I’m not that guy. I don’t care. You’re not anymore special to me if you don’t use CDJ. You don’t get any points from me just because you’re only playing vinyl. But I buy vinyl still.  I think it’s your preference. I may not play vinyl as my choice, but just because I travel. To me it’s just more practical. And a lot of things I have done has been on vinyl. I always hear kids or my peers having a snobby attitude, but when you make a record, I can guarantee it’s not an analogue process, so you’re only playing yourself with that logic. When you play vinyl you’re only playing a piece of plastic with a digital piece of audio.  But to me it’s still the coolest method to store music on. Nothing beats the feel.

 

Kon on his own record collection

I have around 12,000 – that’s not a lot. I know people with 50,000. Supposedly Jazzy Jay has 250,000, but quality over quantity. My main music room, anything you pick from there’s gonna be some shit. I have everything done by sections – 12-inches, LPs, soundtracks, Latin, African. All that stuff all broken down. Library music, drums, hip-hop to reggae.

 

Kon on his next steps

I’m now starting my own series of edits and re-works and a new label that will be more focused on new music, whether original or sample-based new music, and that’s going to be called Elevated. It’s gonna be pretty much vinyl based releases. With Ben Westbeech and the Induce track, you could give either of those records to another artist, like Mary J Blige or somebody current who is doing R&B soul or whatever. You can expect some warmth that bumps. There will be some alternate mixes that will come in a special 45 dub pack.

 

Listen here for a taster of Kon’s boom bap disco from his album On My Way: