The life-changing productions of Timbaland, the rowdiness of UK dancefloors and the versatility of Calvin Harris… We asked Valentino Khan to reflect on some particular life experiences and these are just are just three issues that have moved, motivated or affected him.
Fresh from an extensive European tour and an unavoidable summer banger in the form of Pump, we catch up the moustachioed bass mastermind to learn more about the earliest and most recent incidents of his life.
It would have been a small bar in Santa Monica around 2010/11. It was right when dance music was taking off in America and this was my first proper booking. It would have been like 200 capacity and everyone there was super into the music and the atmosphere was really exciting. It was very interesting time for music in America, you could feel it and it was such a privilege to be playing a role in that.
It’s not my most recent one but one trip that stands out recently with the UK in mind was a night playing in London, then Sheffield the following night a few weeks ago. Both clubs had a really cool underground vibe and were proper rowdy. We all know how the UK loves bass, right? The crowd were up for anything so I got to dig a little differently and play lots of shit I don’t always get the chance to play. That weekend was hell of a lot of fun.
First Record I Bought
Oh man, I’ve been buying CDs since back in the day! My memory’s foggy for specifics but I’m pretty sure it was either by Cypress Hill or House Of Pain. If they weren’t the first then they were definitely the most heavily played during that time in my life.
Last Record I Bought
Calvin Harris’s new album Funk Wav Bounces. I really like it. A lot of the sounds instrumentally remind me of older west coast hip-hop. It’s got that cool vibe to it. I like Calvin’s music anyway but I gravitated to this one even more. He’s a lot more versatile than people think.
First Clubbing Experience
I was around 15 or maybe even 14 at Whisky a Go Go for a hip-hop night. I’m not sure how I was there, because I was way underage but it wasn’t like I sneaked in. I think it could have been a legal under age night. I have no idea but the music was pretty cool. It was quite a while before I went back to a club. I’m not the type of person who actively seeks out a club in that type of way. I love music and love performing so I’ve ended up spending a lot of my time in them because of my work.
Last Clubbing Experience
I had a night off and my homies GTA were playing at Exchange so I went over to support them. We ended up playing back to back by the end of the night which was a lot of fun. That’s kinda how it goes sometimes, even on a night off I ended up DJing.
First Music WTF!? Experience
It’s got to be Timbaland. I remember being in the car and Missy Elliot coming on the radio, I heard that beat and literally thought ‘what the fuck is that?! This is insane!’ Shortly after I found out what producers were and who the beats were made by on my favourite hip-hop records. It wasn’t long before I started getting into it myself. I got this really old copy of Cool Edit Pro and started looking up who my favourite producers would sample and digging for samples online and began a life of beat making.
Last Music WTF!? Experience
I’m always getting great records from my peers that I love playing and really love the production and sound design but what really excites me musically and kinda blows my mind are those really beautiful organic melodic moments. Childish Gambino Redbone is a good example. The melodic components just work so well. It sounds so timeless. Good melodies are timeless.
It was Rukus on Mad Decent, a moombahton track with Will Bailey who is now Low Steppa. Moombahton was just kicking off and it went down super well. I have to give props to Mad Decent, Diplo and Devro for signing that because it was a great way to start in dance music. Working with those guys early on reinforced what I thought I wanted from production, too; constantly developing, trying new things, progressing and keeping myself excited.
Pump. I just wanted to make a cool bass house record that pumps and has some unique sound design that I haven’t tried before. There’s a lot of great bass house records floating around at the moment and I wanted to make something that really stands out and stands on its own. I’m really thrilled to have had so much support on it from fans and from fellow DJ. Once again, shout out to Mad Decent for signing it!