Interview: Kiki

by Ulrik

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Ahead of his upcoming release with Chaim, we ask BPitch Control’s favorite Finnish-born, Berlin-based producer/DJ a few questions about music, life and Berlin.

Some of you will know Kiki from his hugely influential Boogybytes vol.1 mix from 2006 in which the Bpitch Control stalwart brought about a selection showcasing the thinking DJ’s intuitive navigation through a vibrant, electronic Berlin. The first Boogybytes mix was as tastefully banging as they come. It felt like a bright new talent had arrived on the scene even though Kiki had been doing his thing for a good long while before the impeccable selection dropped. And he’s undoubtedly been at it ever since. With an impressive string of quality releases under his belt – predominantly released through the mighty Bpitch Control, of course – Kiki has played the world’s greatest venues and secured his place among the more memorable producers of the last decade.

Kiki & Silversurfer - 'Wasp'

These days, Kiki is still going harder, better, faster, stronger, as Daft Punk famously put it. Far from being content with resting on his hard-earned Berlin techno laurels, the producer is releasing a brand new jam called 'Love Kills!' on the 30th.

We felt compelled to ask the hard-working musician a few questions, which caused a conversation about his hip hop past, the Berlin club scene - and Finnish stereotypes.

AIAIAI: Hey Kiki, how’s it going?

Kiki: Not too bad, thanks. I’m currently in the middle of trying to balance things. What that means , among other things, is that I try not to listen to any music during Mondays & Tuesdays…

A: Really? why is that?

K: My ears just enter a state of overload, if I do. So much of my time involves music.

A: That makes sense. Could you begin by talking a bit about what inspires you in your producing/Djing?

K: That’s kind of a hard question. I would actually say that everyday life inspires me quite a lot, so it’s not only music. It can be anything, really. Traveling definitely plays a big part. For example, when I recently traveled to South America, I got very inspired by an instrument that I discovered there.

A: And how much of an influence would you say that living in Berlin has had on your sound?

K: Probably quite a big influence, actually. First of all, I came to the city not long after the wall had come down, and the atmosphere after that was pretty intense, as you can probably imagine. I’m from Helsinki where the scene at the time was totally different… so when I came to Berlin, which had all these massive, raw venues pumping out hard techno at the darker end of the spectrum, it was quite a revolution for me. I’d never heard stuff like Basic Channel before and that was very inspiring.

A: That’s really interesting. I’ve actually spent quite a lot of time In Helsinki and I’ve always thought that Finland had this tradition of dark, machine music?

K: Well, I would say that that’s true to a certain extent. But around the time when I was starting to produce and Dj actually a lot of happy house was played. I remember me and my friends being into really cheesy piano house stuff (laughs). I think it was part of us moving away from the stereotypical introverted, depressed Finnish vibe.

A: Could you talk a bit about your development as an artist – how does the 2012 Kiki differ from when you first started out?

K: Phew, that’s another hard one. I guess one of the main differences is that I’ve moved from making sample-based
music towards becoming an actual musician who plays instruments. I actually started out making hip hop,so I would use a lot of samples. Now I tend to veer towards a more organic, creative process

A: Here’s yet another hard one. What’s the best venue you’ve ever played?

K: Right. Having lived in Berlin for almost 20 years, it’s hard for me not to choose one of my hometown’s clubs, so I would say that it’s a mix of Panorama Bar and Watergate. Of course, the thing is that when I play there all my friends come down, which lends everything an amazing atmosphere. Although I have to say that I just love playing open air parties! Sometimes when I play without the restrictions of room acoustics, I go: ‘wow, this really, really works!’ Maybe my music and Djing style is quite well suited to playing outside, actually.

A: Give us the low down on ‘Love Kills!’, your upcoming track with Chaim, please.

K: I’d say that the whole thing was very playful. Chaim used to live in Tel Aviv and back then we weren’t interested in sending sound files back and forth. So when he came to Berlin we just went to work on a few tracks where ‘Love Kills!’ was one of them. I have a nice Moog Voyager that Chaim really liked and explored quite a lot. And then there was the Skyping back and forth with singer Cari Golden while all this was going on. So yeah, the words ‘organic’ and ‘playful’ come to mind...

A: Upcoming projects?

K: We’ve got an upcoming compilation on BPitch Control where I’ve made one of the tracks with Jaw from dOP. And I’m currently producing Anja Schneider’s new single with my vocals on it and a remix by Kenny Larkin. There´s also a track with me, D´Julz & Aérea Negrot for the Watergate 10 years compilation. Apart from that, I’m doing my own radioshow, Noice!, which has managed to get quite a few listeners onboard, so that’s quite nice. On a slightly different note, I’m actually coming to Copenhagen in the beginning of September to Culture Box, so you should come down, if you’re around.

A: Sounds great. We’ll most definitely be there. Kiki, thanks for talking to us.

K: You’re welcome.

'Love Kills!' by Kiki & Chaim will be released on the 30th of April on Bpitch Control