posted by Nasko
March 2021

I'm sure you're familiar with UK producer Konteks' dusty beats and sweet samples - or at least, you know blackwave.'s "Bittersweet Baby" that he produced.

Today, I'm stoked to share my talk with him - about the role blues & skateboarding played in his life, about crate-digging in Manchester, and last but not least, about the launch of Kicker, the new label from the Hip Dozer family that he's co-curating.

Pair the read with Kicker's brand-new album - the Sessions, Vol. 3 by Not Yourself.

KICKER® · Not Yourself - Sessions Vol.3

Hey man, how do we find you today?

Hey guys, I’m doing great - just busy working on projects for Konteks & Tripmaker as well as sorting out some stuff for the launch of the label!

So, you've just announced that you're co-curating this new label called Kicker, together with the Hip Dozer crew. How did this come to life?

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It all came about quite naturally. Since being friends with the Hip Dozer crew for the past 4 years it only seemed natural to join this project when they asked. It seems like a natural progression to
take in the industry also, so I’m really stoked about being a part of this project.

What's the concept behind it?

Imagine a kicker ramp in skateboarding. It has the momentum to propel you in the air right? Well, Kicker acts as the same concept. Our goal is to dig deep and find undiscovered talent in the beatmaking community, & use the new label to showcase and push their skills.

What's that special thing about the UK beat scene? How do you think it shaped your style until this day?

I think the UK beatmaking scene is really dope because you meet people from every walk of life. It’s quite similar to skateboarding actually. UK producers draw influence from all across the board, some of my friends make real grimey beats and these are so sick - it’s a breath of fresh air for sure. I think this experimentation I’m surrounded by helped to shape my own style also.

How did you get into crate-digging? And what's your favourite vinyl/sample you've found?

My friend & producer PS_Smiles showed me the ropes when it comes to digging crates! He taught me what artists to look out for and it all went from there really. I usually hit up Vinyl Resting Place in Manchester because Alistair stashes the good vinyl for me haha. For sure the best records to sample are Oscar Peterson, no doubt.

Love your cosy little studio. Walk us through it, please.

Haha thank you, it’s humble but it’s home. The set up is a bit crazy - lots of circuit bent toy instruments and tape decks lying around. My friends who produce with me say I'm manic and my setup makes no sense - guess that’s just part of my style haha. You have to be prepared to run around with cables to keep up with me at home.

Tell us more about the role blues played in your life.

Ah man, guitar was everything to me from the age of 6/7 until 19. I would play in bands and play open mic nights all the time. Blues taught me everything I needed to know about rhythm and phrasing - what sounds should fit in their own space etc. It teaches you an awful lot about the feel of music.

And what about skateboarding?

Skateboarding is life man. I’ve been skating for 14 years now and I'll never stop. You meet the coolest, like-minded people with similar interests. You also meet a lot of musicians/producers in the skateboarding scene - especially in Manchester, nearly everyone seems to be creative.

blackwave. are an absolute favourite of mine. How was working with them?

Working with them was really rad, they are both super nice guys and easy to chat to. It was a very out of the blue collaboration but it’s done well and we’re all stoked on that. I have been chatting to Jay and we’re going to work on some more stuff together soon - so keep an eye out!

Anything else you'd like to add?

Keep your sight locked on Kicker, the compilation is sounding absolutely incredible and so are the EP’s we have lined up. The design is flawless and the music is even better so you’re in for a treat! Also to anyone reading who’s a new producer, keep sampling everything you can and
have fun - that’s the most important thing. Peace out x

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