JDNB Interview - T-Kay
Based in the city of Florence (Italy), T-Kay started to get into electronic music production in his school days in 2003, where he started producing hip hop and jungle. Not long after this he managed to get a pair of 1210's and started deejaying dnb & jungle at school parties, and clubs, and in 2005 he became part of the music collective NUMA CREW, of which he is a founder member.
His musical influences have always been roots reggae, dancehall, old skool jungle and anything with a warm old skool sound. Over the years he has produced many tracks for Numa Crew, from drum and bass to dub.
T-Kay grew up listening to reggae clash tapes and old school jungle compilations, and has always tried to achieve a proper sound similar to the samplers and analog gear sound, and it is clear in his music that this is still a strong imprint into his productions.
In the last year T-Kay has focused on delivering high quality drum n bass music, with a certain taste and flavour that reminisces of the early 90's dnb style but with a modern day twist.
He has released many tracks over the years on many labels, including Serial Killaz, Nice Up! Run Tingz and of course Liondub International, where recently he had a release on the legendary Street Series. We sat down and had a chat about that release and to find out more about him.
How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the Covid-19 Pandemic?
During this pandemic I locked myself up in my house (as the very most of us did) and tried to focus on essential things like being focused on my family and being focused on the music production side of things. Basically I tried to avoid being affected by the circumstances, isolation, mad news bombing from the media etc etc, and tried to engage myself into as many new releases as possible. So I worked hard on many projects to not make this situation break my vibe and drive, i ve put all my effort and faith in music, as I've always done.
Tell us a little bit more about where you're from and where you get your musical inspiration from?
I was born and raised in Florence (Italy). I get my inspiration from the old school music (jungle/ roots reggae/ hip hop etc). I like the old dirty warm sounds from back in the day. I've always been captured by the atmospheres of analog hardware made music, especially jungle music and reggae from the 90's. Nowadays it is trendy to like that sound but when I was growing up in the early 2000's it was not, it was just seen as worse audio quality ahaha.
What do you like doing in your spare time away from music?
I've spent a lot of time working on a farm. From this I've become such a fan of nature. In my spare time I go trekking and sometimes for crystal hunting.
What would you say first got you into jungle / drum and bass and which track stands out from that time?
I first got into jungle / drum and bass by going to illegal raves. I loved the dnb sound way more than the boring "hard tek". I found it a crazy combination of so many different musical genres, precisely designed and blended, that was the sound of the future for me. It felt also like an amazing illusion of alien manipulated drums played like african percussion, something like a Hyper African Twist, MAD! When I started making music I started with hip hop and reggae, because they seemed to be way easier to approach but i was continuously pushing by myself to start learning how to produce drum and bass and how to develop my own style within that scene.
Many tracks stand out for me imo, but these two stand out for me::
1) D-Kay & Epsilon-Platinum (So many memories listening to this one, great vibes)
2) Usual Suspect - Killa Bees (Dillinja Remix) (IMO the best bassline ever made)
What is the Jungle/Drum and bass scene like in Florence?
There are many dnb deejays now. When I started we were one of the few in the area.. The whole city is not an easy place to organize parties due to council policies that have shut down every single venue that has started an established routine of events.
Are there any artists you would love to work with in the scene, that you have not worked with yet?
Yes there are some. I think I might start to ask for some colabs soon! The time could be right.
What does your studio setup consist of?
My studio setup is pretty simple: I have Yamaha HS 8 as my main monitor, Krk 5 monitors as second choice, Motu Audio Interface, Pioneer XDJ-RR consolle, and my ears.
I'm lucky enough to have a studio at my home and a studio shared with my brothers from Numa Crew, and think that it is very useful to have more listening places.
Describe the style of drum and bass you produce?
I produce a sort of old skool fashioned roller dnb, with a modern twist. I'm not into the modern taste of jump up dnb, and prefer more dark sounds and atmosphere, but i also love ragga jungle and dubwise so i often make reggae/dancehall bootlegs or reggae jungle tracks, with a more happy and clear vibe. I try to keep my project simple, in the structure and most important in the technique, not many plug-ins used and simple editing and mixing. This has been my production style for the last two years, but i'm moving into new directions atm so stay tuned!
You have worked with a lot of the raggae influenced labels within the scene. How would you advise up and coming producers to get their tracks heard by labels?
Well, basically the best advice is to finish your projects as best as you can with no rushing it, mix it and master it is very important to reach the industry standard and it is important for a track to be pretty finished without rush at any stage, so taking your time to perfection is the best advice. Following common rules of work with no compromises, and keeping in mind that there are some standards that shape great products is necessary, but you need to be creative and be confident with your taste and imagination and this is essential.
If you could remix 1 Liondub International track, which would it be and why?
Ehm, there would be a lot of!!! Too many big tunes, really a catalogue from which it is hard to choose one...Probably excluding the dnb catalogue i would remix a vocal track from almost 10 years ago, and is a dubstep tune made by Liondub and Visionary featuring the mighty Jah Dan Blakkamore, and is called ‘General’. Think that could work so great on a drum and bass tip! Such a dream yet!
I loved the Liondub Street Series release you had come out. What was the feeling like when you found out you would be the 50th release of the series?
Thanks mate! Really glad you liked the work. Words cannot describe how i have felt about it, amazing vibe! It was a huge honor for me as I have always been a huge fan of the Street Series and followed every release, I've really felt blessed but also responsible for such an honor.
Any more releases to come out on Liondub International in the future from you?
Yes! I have it but cannot say much atm...so stay tuned!
Name your top 5 Liondub International tracks?
Ehm... once again hard question, too many tracks to mention....
1) NUMA CREW FEAT DUB FX - BASS HATER
2) NUMA CREW FEAT ROBERT DALLAS and PETAH SUNDAY - IMPOSSIBLE
3) NUMA CREW FEAT ROBERT DALLAS and PETAH SUNDAY - IMPOSSIBLE (BRIAN BRAINSTORM REMIX)
4) DUNGEON KRU - PUSHING
5) JOHNNY OSBOURNE & BLADERUNNER - FALL NIGHT DUB
What would you say you like most about the www.jungledrumandbass.co.uk website?
Is a really good window from which to follow new releases and artists of the jungle/dnb scene, and it's a well made website.
Thanks for your time. Lastly any thanks or shoutouts
Got to say thanks to Liondub for all the help and the opportunity to release on Street Series, and thanks to Shep from Nice Up records that have been the first to release my solo projects. And of course a big shout to my Numa Gang, with whom I have been rolling for more than a decade!
T-Kay - Liondub Presents Street Series Vol50: Hold On is out now on all streaming and download platforms. Download / Stream Here
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Interview And Edited By: Chilla