WORDS

Krakota: Strange Things

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Six weeks have passed since Krakota released his impressive debut album on Hospital.

We tried to catch up with him throughout the summer to find out more about it. But… Festivals.

We’ve been raving at them. Krakota’s been smashing them to pieces.

He’s also been dropping weekly mix instalments to promote the album – each one a reminder (if you’ve yet to see him play) just how tight and classically trained he is on the wheels. They go a bit like this…

Listen to it while you’re finding out more about his album, his mixing and his tragic loss in a flood…

Talk us through the Strange System concept… 

Making music is a very odd creative process. A lot of tracks are two or three years old. They’ve all started from random sampling or different inspiration sparks and have gone through completely different writing processes. So they’re a strange gathering of ideas and processes I’ve experienced and developed over the last few years.

Cool – so the album is a non chronological diary or collage of this chapter of your career so far? I also love old school textbook vibe on the artwork.

Yeah that’s right, it is! It’s also inspired like a schematic. A signal goes in one end, gets mangled and processed and comes out the other. Look closely and the artwork reflects some of the track titles; like a Xylophone for Xylo, some bones for Lazy Bones, a ghost in there and so on. It’s best checked on the gatefold artwork, that’s where the whole piece comes to life.

Someone on your Facebook said they’d have it as a tattoo

Yes, I’ve asked which bit they’re thinking of having done!

Maybe the whole thing – a massive back piece. Anyone around the world got a Krakota tattoo yet?

Not yet. As far as I know!

Got any DJ or band tattoos?

No, I don’t have any tattoos at all sorry.

If you had to have a DJ or band tattoo by law, what would it be?

Wow… By law?

Yes

I guess, on the spot, I’d say the iconic triangle from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon.

Like it. So the album and your productions are only half the story. As you’ve shown on your Strange System mix series to highlight the album – and any show you play – you’re a bit of a badboy DJ.

Ha. It’s how I got into the music. I’ve been DJing since I was 13, so 13 years, the mix series has been nice to get the turntables out again and I hope people appreciate that’s where I come from and what this music is all about for me.

You got the bug young from your older brother’s Mampi Swift records, right?

Yeah. And I used to be drummer so drum-led, high tempo music made sense to me straight away. I haven’t been without decks since.

Are you vinyl-only?

No. I wish I was. We actually tried to do three deck turntable sets in clubs earlier this year but everywhere I played the set-ups were prone to error. I was stressing too much which removed the fun.

Decks are often forgotten about now in club set ups…

Amen. They were the norm. Then the old school CDJs came along but they hung over the decks, which was great, but now the CDJs have just taken up the deck space and turntables have been pushed aside even more.

Guessing you’re of the school of thought that all DJs should have a try on vinyl so they get it?

I think everyone should experience any form of vinyl – not just mixing! Having a record player and putting a record on to listen to is a completely different experience in itself. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t love that feeling. If you’ve never done that before I’d urge you to do it. It’s a nice way to listen to music. The physical experience.

So your whole non-DJing music collection is on vinyl?

I’m building it up. I used to just buy D&B – I’d spend every penny on dubs and test presses and white labels at Redeye. But now I no longer play off vinyl I collect a lot of non D&B music on vinyl. Funk, soul and disco.

And all your classic D&B from back in the day…

No! A lot of my drum & bass vinyl was ruined in flood. I kept it in a cellar whuich got flooded and they were totally ruined. The sleeves had got so wet they’d welded into the vinyl grooves. Completely ruined.

Oh man. My next question was going to be “if you had to save three treasured records from an imminent fire what would they be?” But I don’t think it’s appropriate under the circumstances!

No. I wouldn’t even know how to reply! I could never narrow down my top tunes before the flood.

You mentioned disco earlier… Nice bit of that on Strange System with tracks like Turn Of Fate.

Yeah it’s got that iconic horn sound from that era. I had to do at least one track like that on the album.

That classic Hospital sound that a lot of us got into the label with 10-15 years ago.

Yeah that and Powder Coated Soul was another one that references or celebrates that time in D&B

Are you contracted to write a tune with the boss?

Ha! No, Tony said he really liked it but I was at a dead end with it. I sent it to him, he did some additional production, added some touches on that classic Hospital samples and he brought it together – the minute I heard it I knew what to do with it.

What happens next? Do you feel weird now years of work on the album are over and it’s out there?

It is pretty mad. You go through a massive creative process that’s really intense and pushes you beyond what you’re capable of. Then suddenly you’re in completely different role of PR and marketing yourself. Now that’s coming to end I have time to think about what to do next. I’ve even had time to tear the studio apart and clean it up – I can go in with a fresh mind and hopefully make fresh tunes.

Or in other words, you’re a really messy worker

Cleaning is the last thing on your mind when you’re writing an album I can tell you that. It’s nice to sort my shit out.

Got new stuff already?

I’ve had a lot of sounds and ideas going round in my head for years during the album that I’ve wanted to explore so I’ll have time to develop them, maybe invest in some new synths and see what happens.

The strange system continues…

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