On Friday August 31 K Motionz released his debut album The Evolution.
The specific date was no coincidence; it was his 19th birthday. Yet this week marks six years since he released his first single; Bloodbath on Alpha9 with Eazy. Even by today’s game standards, K Motionz (real name Kallum Brookes) cut his teeth at an extremely young age.
In the years that have passed since that first release Kallum has worked with a rollcall of the most on point, next-gen nurturing labels from Smoke Signal Audio (home to early releases by Damage Report), Clawhammer (home to early releases by Bou), Levela’s Multi Function and of course DJ Dominator’s D-Stortion. It hasn’t always been easy for him, sending club-ready music years before he could legally enter a venue. But his persistence and studio diligence have paid off as his music is currently at the top of many discerning playlists: From Kings Of The Rollers opening many of their shows with his track Round Ere to Chase & Status and Brockie smashing up Carnival with his track Gunshot.
Both of those cuts, and 14 more, can be found on his debut album ‘The Evolution’. The specific title is no coincidence, either; ‘The Evolution’ documents the sound a young producer really settling into his technical abilities and developing his sound. A balanced LP ranging from deeper, darker sounds to the more all-out riff heavy cuts he broke through on, ‘The Evolution’ is a personal body of work for Kallum who wanted to show where he’s at and where he’s heading. That’s why there’s only one collaboration on there… The Dominator with the one and only Dom (RIP). Read on to find out how Kallum started to produce at such a young age, how the album came together and how Dom’s legacy can beyond his own musical legacy but in those who he helped in the game, too.
Your debut album on your birthday. That’s cool.
Yeah it just kinda happened like that. We knew it was going to come out in summer then we picked August for the date and it all made sense. It’s been a nice experience. I didn’t expect the response I’ve had. It’s been overwhelming.
Did you see that thing a few months ago about whatever tune is number one when you’re 14 defines your life?
I think I saw something or vaguely remember it. But I never looked it up.
I took the trouble and did it for you. It was Ellie Goulding’s Burn…
That’s my theme tune for life? Haha!
I guess the title Burn is cool. Bringing the fire, bringing the flames etc
Ha! I won’t listen to that tune the same again.
I doubt you were listening to pop music at 14 though. You were already releasing music by then. You started at age 11, right?
Yeah man. My first tunes came out just as I turned 13.
Even by today’s standards that’s very young. How did it start?
It was my brother making beats and things. He was making hip hop at the time. He doesn’t make it any more now though.
Bet he’s still proud? Did you start making hip hop then?
Yeah he’s well proud. I started on dubsteppy things and then the drum & bass came in from there.
What’s it like sending tunes to labels when you’re so young?
I never thought about my age at all. I thought I was like everyone else. But yeah, I had a lot of people who didn’t take me seriously.
How about gigs?
They just didn’t happen over here. Promoters in Europe didn’t seem to mind, all my first gigs ere in Belgium. That’s where it started for me. Then I got more bookings in the UK. They just didn’t seem bothered about my age in Europe but no one bothered over here. It’s effort for the promoter and they just didn’t bother because there are enough DJs to book who are old enough.
Who did take you seriously though?
Levela was very inspiring and he took me seriously straight away and pushed me out there. The smaller labels I released on were also really helpful because they were just excited by the music and wanted to release it. They didn’t care about my age. And when they released my music, the bigger labels started having a little look into what I do too.
Let’s talk about Dominator. This is the first album on the label since he passed right?
Yeah it is. Quite an honour. He will be happy with it, I’m sure.
Tell us about Dom. He must have had trust in you?
Yeah definitely and I always looked up to him. I kept sending him things, he was playing them and we met a few times. He told me about launching his label and said he wanted a release. I was like ‘yeah sure, 100 percent!’ Me and SubSonic worked on it and we spent so long on it. So many little details. Dom did his own edits on it and I’m still really happy with that release to this day.
What’s the best thing you learnt from Dom? Do you hear him in your head when you’re producing?
Yeah actually. When we did that first EP I always remember him saying ‘leave some gaps’. Just make some space for everything to breathe. I don’t know why but I always have that in my head whenever I’m making tracks. Especially ones I know MCs are going to work on. He helped me massively in a business sense as well. What I should do, what not to do, how to work with promoters and things like that. He got me onto the same agency he was on as well, which was amazing. I don’t think I’d be any where close to where I am if it wasn’t for Dom.
To have the album finale as The Dominator was really important right?
Yeah man. It as the only collab I wanted on the album. I didn’t want any collabs on there at all, I wanted the album to be totally me, if that makes sense? The only person I would ever put on there was Dom. When he passed and we couldn’t work on it together anymore, I finished it with ideas and approach that I feel he would be happy with. I hope!
I hear you on the no collabs. Sometimes it feels like some albums have collaborators to boost its promo
Yeah definitely. I said right from the start I wanted it to show me and what I can do. I know that sounds cheesy.
Fine line between cheesiness and realness. You show a lot more scope on the album than people might expect from Transpire to more classic K Motionz tracks like Bustercannon.
Bustercannon is more of a nod to my older style. I wanted to represent that aspect of my old sound and history but I feel I’m moving away from that to a darker, maybe a bit more mature. I think it shows.
What tunes do you think it shows the most?
Exterminate and Gospel are two of the darker things I’ve really enjoyed making. Exterminator is the newest track on there, so it was good to start the album with that.
And end with The Dominator, that must be pretty old?
Yeah we started that about 14/15 months ago.
Was that hard to finish?
Yeah it was. I had to be in the right mood and stick on it and finish it the way he would have wanted.
What happens next?
I got a track called Pistol on Low Down Deep which a lot of people are asking about. People have asked why it’s not on the album but it’s on Logan’s label and not everything can be on the album! But yeah I’m releasing that and releasing on different labels and trying new things but also releasing the stuff older fans know me for as well.
You have to tread that fine line, right?
Yeah, I’m not gonna go off and make a funky house album quite yet, it’s just a different direction. Not majorly different, I wanna expand a bit more… I hope people are feeling that and thanks to everyone who’s supported me so far.