Hard times call for NVRSOFT music… A bewitching new boundary-defying sonic brew that takes in shades of liquid, dancefloor, halftime and many flavours in between, stirred by Kat Dudinsky.
Kat’s the latest addition to Shimon’s ever-growing, all-corner-covering AudioPorn family. Hailing from PG County, she’s also the first American addition to the family, and has spent the best part of a decade sharpening her selector stripes, honing her sound and finding her voice in America’s burgeoning drum & bass scene. A scene that hasn’t always encouraged the best out of her or welcomed her with open arms.
As the dust from her debut EP Premonitions only begins to settle, and can currently be spotted tearing up the Beatport D&B Top 10, we called Kat up to find out how she arrived here, how hard she’s had to work to do it… And how much persy dub trouble she’s packing right now. Get to know…
Congratulations on signing to Audioporn!
Thank you! It’s still a dream for me. I’m really proud; we’ve made a lot of little milestones for American women in drum & bass. And I’m more proud that we did it as a team. Playing at Fabric with the team was a great slap in the face for me. It just made it really sink in that having Shimmy and Harun and my whole team… It’s changed so much for me, and has changed me so much. Playing and getting to see everyone I connect with so much… In a place like Fabric, on the team’s first official night there… I guess it just made a lot of things get super real for me.
Yeah! How was Fabric?
Opening for AudioPorn’s takeover in Room 2 was nothing short the single greatest night and best set of my life to date.
I didn’t expect it. I mean we’d been talking for a while and put plans in place for some EP releases. I had mentioned wanting to be there with them to celebrate, then Shimmy made it really happen. I was so excited to see them in real life for once and to play. I definitely saw it as a test… And I was really happy to get to hear that I passed.
Deadass. It really went too quickly- I set this countdown timer on my phone, and the first time I checked it, I realised I only had 10 minutes left. I had to double check with the sound guy. It honestly felt like I had only been playing for 10 minutes. It just flew by. I was so… There for it. Like the whole team was there supporting, all my girls came down as a surprise, and the guys working there were so amazingly sweet and supportive.
Then I got called backstage after my set, I actually I thought I’d done something wrong, but they just brought me back and said ‘we just wanted to let you know that in our 21 years, you’re the first American woman in your genre to play here… and you smashed it.’ I haven’t always heard that kind of positivity, and hearing that from them was a really special moment for me.
I cried like a child, man. Maybe it seems like a small thing, but hearing that was surreal – It meant so much to all the girls back home, and so much to me. You guys have so many insane places to play, but Fabric is a legend in America’s D&B community. Something like that, for us… It shows you what’s possible.
It was definitely a daunting thing for me though; there are so many inspiring female artists out here who’ve been on this a lot longer than me, who are honest legends, and who deserve to be where I am so much more than me… But all I can do about it is to make sure I work to help open doors (and keep them wide open) for all of the good ones out there. For all the people I know, and the ones I don’t, who really deserve their shot too.
The doors can’t be closed, it’s a huge discussion and things are only going to get fairer…
That’s what I love about Audioporn. They listen without judgement, and treat me like anyone else on their label. And that’s fucking insane because I’ve been a fan of the label since day one… Since before, in Shimmy’s case. So many of my first and longest loves in music come from that guy. When I look at my library, it’s just dope to see all his music there. He’s been there all along and now he’s honestly someone who’s become one of the best friends I could ever know… And the single best mentor I could ever have. He, Harun and the whole team are huge blessings in my life.
I’m glad I waited for the right team. Any girl who’s been in this game for longer than a minute can tell the difference between genuine support and support with some type of ulterior motive. Being treated like everyone else beside me is such a nice feeling and I’m learning SO much. I’m still incredibly new. I’m barely a year and a half in.
Yeah, it’s not been that long at all… But I’m cranking things out! My hard drive is almost full.
With finished tunes?
Definitely beyond sketches. I don’t like to save my projects unless I finish the arrangement. So the bulk are at a point where I can play out and test them, show them to Harun and Shim, but rarely completely finish them until we decide when to release them. I send over a batch to Shim, share ideas, and pick the strongest ones. Then I go work on them more until they’re all done!
It’s great to have that consistent mentorship from someone who is so aligned with the sound I want to make and the type of artist and person I want to be. It’s a rare privilege to have someone critique you for your benefit, for your process, for your identity, and not theirs. It’s the first real time I’ve been made to feel like… I have real value, you know?
You’ve been DJing for a while now, but this is the first time you’ve felt like that? No way!
The last seven/eight years have been hard. People aren’t always kind at home. But I keep seeing my friends come out, and the dancefloors filling up. That’s what’s really driven me through it a lot. I love playing the opening sets a lot because I love creating something from nothing. Being responsible for filling the dancefloor and warming them up is amazing. Being part of that progression of the night.
Warming up is an artform a lot of bigger DJs forget. Responding the crowd, raising the energy bit by bit…
I really love a challenge. But when I look back at myself and my own history I really understand now that I just couldn’t couldn’t embrace the art of DJing as much as I should have. Until this past year at least…
I was having this bipolar experience between my life at home and my real life away, working and creating. I started having panic attacks and performance anxiety that just made it a bit challenging to function at times. I never let how badly I felt in my environment hold me back from sharing my music, but I certainly developed some crutches; I would have a plan of what I was going to play because it truly helped me stay grounded and focused enough to cope and keep moving through some rougher moments.
That set at Fabric was the first set of 2019 for me, and I resolved to DJ. That was the first sense where I found the art; I freestyled; I observed and responded; I got lost in the feeling and energy of being actually connected.
And it’s been that way ever since. I’m really not afraid to admit my weaknesses or my past because I’m a person who overcomes them. I know how much people can grow with support, freedom, and discipline. I’m living that reality, and I’m grateful for it.
Mad you could play through panic attacks!
You know, I’m really coming to a point where… it’s okay; I’m doing great. I have so many people who support me, talk to me, share their music with me, dance with me, and help keep me going at home and all over North America. I have a league of experts and geniuses (mostly from DC, Virginia, Maryland) working on various projects with me, and I love them all.
Sometimes it’s right to fight against what’s wrong, but what’s stronger is just to persevere and build your own empire, your own happy family. Like, ‘Okay, I’m not giving in; I’m going over here to do my own thing. And I’m taking the good guys with me!’ Because you’re nothing without your team.
I want to create what I want to see in the world; something that is bigger than me.
Hopefully someday I can truly be a great leader; a great artist; a great person-
And I’ll at least dedicate all my energy trying.
Love that. You mention working with great people; I believe you’ve worked with your mum on Premonitions?
Yes! So I sent Premonitions to Shim. He was very complimentary when we spoke about it and he asked why I always use pianos. I thought about it and it hit me; my mom played the piano every day. I’d been soaking it up all this time and was using it almost subliminally because it reminds me of her. So I rewrote all the piano lines and my mom recorded them. I’m so proud of that. The song was written during a very challenging time in my life but now it symbolises love and the strength and support of my family. That means so much to me and it’s even more profound that people have gravitated to that particular tune the most on the EP.
That’s beautiful! I really gravitated to La Croix the most, though, I have to say. There’s a strong halftime element in your podcast mix too. I wondered if you came from hip hop?
It was the first music I really listened to and felt attached to. Lupe Fiasco and Atlantic Connection. But honestly I liked the stupid cringey middle school shit too. But I think the halftime element in my music is that I usually write it when I’m pissed off. It’s like my passive aggression. It’s funny, I didn’t think the UK would fuck with my halftime shit but when I played my first London show and dropped my tune called Haters. I heard this big crash and looked up… Someone had thrown a bottle of beer at the wall! That was a first!
Oh cool, I didn’t know you’d played over here before?
Yeah I did man! I played at The Nest in Bath for XyZ, played LifeFm with Sweeetpea, did a set at Studio808 with the Hexagon crew last summer and it was all super tight. I loved every minute of that trip and made some amazing friends. I’m very excited to see them.
Sounds like someone’s planning to move to the UK!
England feels like home. Support, talent, and authenticity. I definitely am shooting to make a move to London. I’m excited about the future…
Speaking of which, what comes after Premonitions? It sounded like you’ve got about 682 tunes. Which ones are you going to release next?
Who knows man? I just make them and enjoy it. I just keep creating things and send them off to Shim. Poor man gets links from me daily.