The electronic dance music community is constantly evolving and shaping. While new sounds in drum & bass and dubstep are being shaped each day, UK-based group Deckajam approaches their music by harnessing the art of live performance. From live drums to vocals to a sexy guitar, this electro-rock/bass duo knows how to put on a show.
So what goes into their music process? And who exactly are Deckajam? These are just a few of the questions I asked in an exclusive interview with band members Kevin and Nick.
Check it out below:
Where are you from?
Kevin: Sittingbourne in Kent UK.
Nick: kilburn, North West London
As a child, who were your musical influences?
Kevin: I was heavily influenced firstly by the 80’s commercial rock music. The likes of Van Halen, Duran Duran and Nirvana opened my ears up to music but I quickly moved onto the dance side of things after hearing the prodigy and the early mainstream cross over material like Moby, Expansions and Black Box. It was around 1993 when I found some great pirate radio stations playing the raw underground rave music that I got really sucked in.
Nick: From since I can remember I’ve aways loved anything music. The first song I remember loving was “Our House” By Madness, I was only 1 and a 1/2 years old when it was released! Aside to Madness there were a few key artist that started to shape my eclectic taste in music. First one was Michael Jackson and the BAD album. One of my favourite tracks from that album has to be Dirty Diana with that Epic Guitar solo which incidentally is played by the same guitarist (Steve Stevens) and who wrote another song I loved as child “The Top Gun Anthem”. New Kids On the Block where a band that also spent some time in my Walkman. Another key track for me was Europe’s “The Final Count Down”, I am a sucker big hook lines & riffs! But the real game changer for me was Guns N’ Roses. I was about 7 or 8 when I got “Appetite for Destruction and became a full on rocker. In the early 90s I started seeing dance music on MTV and instantly fell in love with it, Artists such as KLF, 2Unlimited and of cause the prodigy. In 1995 on a holiday in spain a friend introduce me to happy hardcore which opened the doors for to underground rave scene.
How did both of you get started in the EDM scene? DJ, spinning, promoting, or just simply partying and enjoying the scene?
Kevin: At first I was spinning tracks as a DJ for fun but I quickly gained a slot on a very well known pirate radio station in London called Dream FM. This became a platform to grow a fan base and from then on being a rave DJ quickly became my life path.
Nick: After many years of making music, it wasn’t until 2010 when I got my break with track called “Fundamental Darkness” which appeared on the “Hardcore Underground Presents: 2010″ album the Kevin Energy & Sharkey mix and getting signed to Kevin Energy’s Nu Energy Label.
Let’s talk a little about electronic dance music. What’s your favorite genres (house, dnb, dub step, trance, electro, synth pop, etc)? You know, what influences you?
Kevin: I’m a big fan of real fast underground hardcore music. Not the Dutch type or happy hardcore kind but real fast euphoric UK stuff tagged as Freeform. I spent many years playing this style but have taken a step back from it to work on new challenging music for a while. I’ve always liked trance music which has come through in all of my own productions in one way or another. I’m a sucker for a great deep encompassing melody that takes you on a journey as well as a big build up and drop. I also really like my D&B for it’s energy and drive and I love the recent Dubstep movement. On top of that I really l;ove my breaks – especially the deep progressive kind and I’m also a fan of anything psychedelic.
Nick: I am very much in to all sorts of EDM including Freeform hardcore with artist such as A.B, Arkitech, Endmic and Douglas pushing the boundaries of this genre. I am a massive Aphex twin and Squarepusher fan, anything avant-garde and a bit different. I love anything with big cord progressions and epic lead lines be it pop or underground. Also anything with a PHAT bassline! One of my favourite tracks of the last few months has been Knife Party’s track “LRAD”!
Why the name Deckajam? How did you come up with that?
Kevin: The name was kind of a joint effort after throwing loads of ideas around between us. We wanted a one word name which was a new made up name – something that would stand out and stick in your head. I seem to have some kind of a connection with Jam so the word had a natural bonding with us. The Decka part could relate to a turntable as both of us are DJ’s.
How did you meet?
Nick: I first met Kevin in 1995 in the record store he used to work in!
Do you only produce or do you enjoy spinning live at nightclubs?
Kevin: As I mentioned earlier, being a DJ has been my main job in life since I left school. It’s been an epic journey which has seen me travel the world and play over 1500 gigs!
Nick: I both produce and spin at clubs with my most recent DJ gig in Finland playing to100s of people, but I have to say I am much more a producer/musician then a DJ by far.
Do you enjoy collaborating with other producers and vocalists?
Kevin: Yes of course. There is always a lot to learn from working with somebody new. My studio skills are all self taught so it’s always great to combine with somebody new and learn a new trick or 2. On the vocalist front, we are lucky to be associated with some great talent and each one brings their own jam to the table. When we write a new backing track for the band we can tailor it towards the strength of one of the vocalists that we work with.
So you guys perform live bass/electro-rock , that’s pretty cool! Do you think that makes you stand out in the UK bass scene?
Kevin: It’s hard to say but in my opinion crowds here are getting much more used to many different things. I love the fact that these days DJ’s are not sticking to similar BPM’s and are chopping from a trap track into D&B and then back down into dubstep. It makes things much more exciting and there’s more of a journey. So far, we have covered many styles and feels with our music but managed to keep an underlying feel to them that makes the tracks distinctly our sound. No two tunes are the same so there’s something for everybody who is into electronic sounds. I think one thing that really stands out with us is the nature of our live show. The combination of electric guitars, live keyboards
Nick: Not forgetting live drums ;-)
Feel free to add anything else you’d love to say about your music.
We have put a lot of hard work in both the music and our live show. It has not come without it’s obstacles but we have loved every moment and we hope that people love it as much as we’ve loved making it