First Time / Last Time: Kove


Following Emalkay’s First/Last explorations a few weeks back, MTA’s mighty Kove steps up to reveal both his oldest and newest experiences.

From his debut DJ set at legendary London club Fabric to his maternal musical heritage, Kove reveals himself on a whole new level… And has some wise words for anyone considering practicing a Slayer riff on the guitar before a DJ show!

First Performance

It was the first time I’d even seen an Allen & Heath mixer… I didn’t know what any of the functions did!

My very first show was June 2012. I was opening room two at Fabric for Ram… A proper baptism of fire! I didn’t know what I was doing, really. I bought some CDJs a few weeks before and managed to fluff my way through it! It was a crazy experience and incredibly nerve-racking but looking back it was a lot of fun. No one is at Fabric by 10pm so I had the opportunity to get acquainted with the booth and controls before people came into the club. It was the first time I’d even seen an Allen & Heath mixer… I didn’t know what any of the functions did! Following this set I borrowed my manager’s Technics and vinyls to understand how mixing works. It made no sense to me at all at first but I’m glad I went back to the roots and learned to love it. I spent hours and hours practicing. It’s just like picking up an instrument; practice hard enough and you’ll pick up the right techniques.

Looking back at this first set, it was really quite a harsh learning curve. But to be honest smaller gigs are far more nerve-racking; the soundsystem isn’t quite as good and the crowd are right there in your face!

My Last Performance

I played down at the Vaults in Cardiff and it was one of my favourite gigs of the year so far. It’s fucking awesome there! I’ve been doing a lot with Chase & Status recently and playing in some really big venues. And the weekend before this was Let It Roll in Prague, so that was a massive festival. To tear it out in a little underground sweatbox where the crowd are close enough to knock the USBs out of your CDJs was really, really good fun!

First Record I Bought

Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles. I was a huge fan of them when I grew up. I was obsessed! I still love them now… Especially after a long day in the studio making dance music. It reminds me why I got into music in the first place. I can thank my mum for this musical passion. She’s a massive music fan and I was brought up on a big diet of 60s and 70s rock. The first ever gig I went to was a Deep Purple concert!

Last Record I Bought

It was actually Chase & Status’s Brand New Machine! They gave it to me a week or two in advance but it’s such a great album and I wanted to support it properly so I went out and bought a copy for my mum. My favourite tracks? International is a big track for my sets, but musically What Is Right is my favourite, the downtempo one with Nile Rogers and Abigale Wyles. I love it.

First Club Experience

I grew up near Brighton so we were spoiled for choice for pubs and clubs. It was around the last few years before ID checking got really really tight so I could get away with a really badly Photoshopped copy of my passport! I can’t quite remember the very first time I went clubbing but I’d imagine it was a shitty club on Brighton seafront and I got too drunk and embarrassed myself terribly!

Last Club Experience

I don’t tend to go out to clubs much anymore because I’m working in them all the time… It feels like a busman’s holiday. So when I go out and relax a pub is more than fine for me and my friends. I do have a soft spot for really shit Leicester Square clubs, though. Zoo Bar on a Wednesday night is fantastic! I know it’s rubbish but I love it. It’s all about cheap beer, blaring pop music and I can be an idiot without embarrassing myself in front of my peers!

I’ve just started listening to Slayer again and I thought it would be a good idea to bash out Reign In Blood just before a gig. My hand hurt for days after!

First Musical WTF!? Moment

My whole music past was rock-based and I studied at a musical school. So in terms of electronic music, my first WTF moment was when I first moved to London. A friend took me to see SebastiAn down at The End. It was fantastic! It was one of my earliest proper club experiences and it blew my mind. I left the club concerned I’d gone deaf and inspired to see if I could make any of the crazy noises I’d heard that night on the computer. I realised pretty quickly that it wasn’t very easy!

Last Musical WTF!? Moment

I’ve been going back to my rock roots a bit when I get the time and I’ve been making a conscious effort to pick up my guitar because I’m a bit rusty. I’ve just started listening to Slayer again and I thought it would be a good idea to bash out Reign In Blood just before a gig. My hand hurt for days after! I thought I’d done some permanent damage to it for a while. So yeah, that kind of blew my mind – both the complexity of the technicality of that riff… And the fact that you should never, ever practice a thrash metal riff on the guitar before a DJ show!

First Release

This would have been Stellar / Breach on Viper, released just over two years ago. I’d tried to make drum & bass when I first started and it didn’t really work out. So I’d been making this downtempo Bonobo-esque stuff. It helped me get my chops together and decided to have another pop at D&B. I made these and sent them to Matrix & Futurebound but didn’t think that much of them. I certainly wasn’t expecting a response! Then I went away on holiday and found a message to call them when I got home. Brendan Futurebound was so helpful in terms of production, he guided me through the ins and outs of how to make a track sound big and good and releasable. His advice was priceless and it led to this debut release. It was a hugely exciting time and interestingly I’ve started playing Stellar out again. I think I lucked out a bit with the production… It still sounds really tough for a debut release!

Last Release

My Foxes remix isn’t out until May so my most recent release which is available right now is Gobble. It’s a bit different for me… I was just messing around with some bass designs and put them into a loop to see what I could do. The label were really into it and had me finish it up quickly to include on the release. It was the quickest time I’d ever finished a tune. It sounds awesome in a club and got picked up by a lot of people so I’m really happy with it. I didn’t have a clue about the certain connotations the title had, mind. I called it Gobble because the bass sounded a like a gobbling sound. It was Annie Mac who subtly brought that to my attention… While on air!