The art of DJing (Disc Jockeying) is a craft that takes a different context, depending on which space and platform the skill is exhibited on. It could mean one thing in the radio industry and entail having a different skillset within the club domain. The common theme to being a Disc Jockey is having the love of music while being interchangeable to suit the crowd.
The duality of balancing what sounds good to the DJ contrasted with what will connect with the audience or crowd is very much like operating a twin turntable set. This entails having to change from one paradigm of “self” to “others” in sequence, then crossing back over. The dual carriage creates the conundrum of whether surviving as a DJ, requires the DJ to cross over to the fans or the fans crossing over to the DJ?
In EDM (Electric Dance Music) for example, the expectation created for EDM DJs is to also be able to compose their own music, let alone just playing it. For answers in this space – Lavatory Records turns to our very own EDM DJ, Kimmy K from South Africa.
DJ Kimmy K whose real name is Kim Myers found her calling in the biggest party destination in the world in Ibiza. Kim has also “virtually” worked with Ministry of Sound as an international credential to her career. A management consultant by day in the B2B (Business to Business) industry turned DJ after sunset; Kimmy K shared with us how she’s taking the changes of the industry in her stride. She also tells us how she manages the expectation of being a DJ during this “famous for being famous” era, finding her Deep House sound and her experiences during her come up thus far – along with her future plans.
Lavatory Records: Who is DJ Kimmy K and how did you get into DJing?
DJ Kimmy K: Honestly I’m just a normal girl with a big passion for music and a determination to spread the love using music as the medium. I have always known that music would be a big part of my life whether it’s professional Spanish dancing or playing an instrument. Unfortunately, I also knew at a young age that I couldn’t sing (ha ha) so I found other ways to feed my passion. In 2005 I went to Ibiza with 20 of my friends, some of whom were the original founders of the music download site DJ Download. They brought all their equipment with them and that’s when I started to dabble with DJing and instantly fell in love. It wasn’t until 2 years ago that I started DJing out and about.
LR: What kind of music were you into while growing up?
DJ KK: My dad is quite young at heart so I mostly listened to all the commercial music at the time. I loved The Bangles, Madonna (my favourite), the Gypsy Kings, Ace of Base, Vanilla Ice and Dire Straits, but my grandfather loved classical music and I spent a lot of time with him listening to music and watching the F1 Grand Prix.
LR: You are an EDM DJ, why did you choose Deep Douse as your particular niche rather than other forms of EDM?
DJ KK: I think Deep House chose me 😉 I went through phases growing up and at one stage I was very fond of Trance… those incredible melodies and chords. Music conjures up such emotion in all of us, whether it is feelings of sadness, happiness or just a feeling of a particular memory. That feeling you get, almost like butterflies in the pit of your stomach… that’s what a really good deep house track does for me… absolute euphoria. I still love and listen to all types of music depending on my mood.
LR: You had a stint at the Ministry Of Sound. What was that experience like?
DK KK: The irony is that I wasn’t working there as a DJ or in the club. Ministry of Sound had a digital business and my background is in Management Consulting so I was running all their digital projects for them. Working for Europe’s largest record label was a once in a lifetime experience though and I can say I was never short of new music 😉
LR: What’s been your experience of the South African music industry?
DJ KK: So far it’s been amazing. One of the things I really love about DJing is that we all support one another; we’re like one big family. I’m also very fortunate that I have been able to travel around the world and experience different types of music in different environments. South Africa has its own flavour and some of the most talented DJs and producers. Local really is lekker 😉
LR: What changes would you like to see in the music industry both locally and internationally?
DJ KK: Locally I would like to see more support for music as a potential career for people, especially the poor and disadvantaged who could use music as an inspiration and DJs as role models. Internationally I would love to see more female DJs touring with residencies at major clubs (nudge nudge wink wink).
LR: What would you say makes you significantly distinctive from other DJs in your genre?
DJ KK: I feel there is more to DJing than just mixing tracks and I always take this into consideration when I play at an event or club. I take my job very seriously so when it comes to playing I always take time to prepare my set, but I almost always change it up because I continuously try to read the crowd while I’m playing. I also dress according to the theme and most importantly I have fun while I’m playing. I love the music I play so I’m always dancing behind the decks (and singing haha) and I think the people feed off that energy.
LR: There has been a recent upswing in celebrities becoming DJs. What are your thoughts on this new trend of “cashing in on fame” and perhaps lack of DJing credibility for some?
DJ KK: This is quite a contentious issue, personally I feel that DJing is a form of entertainment, whether you go to hear an amazing DJ play your favorite music or if you go for the production value – to watch the dancers or robots or someone famous on the decks. At the end of the day it’s all about entertaining people regardless of whom you are or your skill level. I was in Ibiza recently and I must be honest I was quite curious to go see Paris Hilton play at Amnesia but didn’t get a chance.
LR: What other interests do you have away from music and showbiz?
DJ KK: My other passion is cars. I love cars and try making one Grand Prix a year. My other love is traveling, I’ll go anywhere whether it’s for work or play. I also enjoy doing crazy things like skydiving, bungee jumping, aerobatic flying, hand gliding and water sports. Most importantly I love spending time with my friends and my family.
LR: Are there any projects and events that you’re involved in which people need to look out for?
DJ KK: My residencies every week are at VIP and Taboo in JHB usually on a Thursday night and then I’m in Cape Town every weekend to play at Coco.
The big one coming up and honestly a dream come true is H2O the Final Wave. I’ll be playing the main stage at 1pm after Twins On Decks alongside some of the best names in the industry like Fresh, Euphonik, Dyro, Cosmic Gate, Harrison and Protoculture. I’ll be in Cape Town the following day to open for Juicy M at Shimmy Beach Club.
I’ve also started producing my own music so watch this space 🙂
LR: Any special mentions you want to shout out?
DJ KK: To those people who first introduced me to CDJ’s and helped me mix my first track way back in Ibiza, Nina and Justin Pearse. To another amazing female DJ who also helped me out way back Tashy D’agrela, thank you. To my friend DJNurock and future collaborator (watch this space) you continue to inspire me; I can’t wait to start our journey together. To my sister Gina Myers, my best friend Anat Bafri, Chris Coutroulis, Headquarters, Team H2O, My Coco Family and to everyone who has always supported me and encouraged me…I wouldn’t be here without you.
Lastly to everyone who listens or dances when I play, you make my heart smile.
Don’t forget to catch her this Saturday the 10th of October at H20: The Final Wave event.