Drummer, producer… Black belt? Award winning carpenter? Pop Idol star?
Previously spotted playing industrial strength tub-thumps for Pendulum’s live outfit, now found hammering out concentrated heaviness in an alien suit for Destroid, KJ Sawka is one of the most famous drummers in EDM. UKF decided to call him up to discover three facts you didn’t know about him. From American Idol appearances to actual hammering, it seems he’s a bit of a dark horse…
Check KJ in action in this exclusive Destroid Behind The Scenes movie…
1. He’s a black belt!
Word: DO NOT F&*K WITH THIS MAN
“I’m a black belt in Hapkido. If you’ve not heard of it, it’s the stuff Steven Segal does. A lot of open hand striking and arm and wrist takedowns. It’s quite military and it’s also combined with tae kwon do so a lot of big aerial kicks and stuff.
I started with Kung Fu when I was really young and got into Hapkido because it was the closest martial art that was being taught near my house. It turns out the teacher was an 8th degree black belt in Hapkido and 9th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He really knew his stuff! I was the youngest person in his class… I cried for the first few days. It really broke me!
I’ve had other training with boxing and kicking boxing and ultimate fighting. I’ve injured myself really badly last year… I broke my chest! I could only take 50 per cent breaths and could hardly bend over. It’s hard to help heal; you just have to make sure you don’t put any pressure on it or anything.
To be honest I’ve tried to keep this on the down-low until now. My teacher was always like ‘Kevin, never tell anyone you are a martial artist or they will challenge you on the spot!’ Now mixed martial arts is more recognised as a sport. It was a big shocker to Jeff and Sean when I told them I broke my chest, they said ‘Kevin no more fighting we’ve got shows to do!’”
2. He’s handy with a chisel!
Word: Ask this man to make you a table
“My dad is a master carpenter. He taught me wood working, cabinet building and trim and stair installation. Really nice cuts. That’s what I did for the majority of my income growing up until I could make money off music when I was about 25. My claim to fame is getting ‘Best Small Kitchen Award’ in Kitchen & Bath Magazine which was pretty cool! I guess when music goes to shit I can always make money making cabinets.
3. He was on American Idol!
“I formed the first band that played on American Idol. It must have been 2007, the year my friend Blake Lewis got second place. At the time my friends were like ‘American Idol? Fuck that!’ But Blake had to practice as the whole world was looking at him. He was like ‘I got to get a band together and you gotta do it for me!’ So I got our closest homies together and we performed in front of millions of viewers then went on tour for a while. Second place is a really cool spot to get, because you get the attention but you don’t get moulded or sculpt into what they want you to be. Blake did so well and it was fun to experience it with him and perform with him. I can tell you this much… It was day and night contrast with Pendulum!”