Interview – KRTS – The Dread Of An Unknown Evil
I remember when I first started listening to Kurtis’ music back at the start of 2010. He was on this hip hop beat-making, but not beat-maker tip. A while later and his Hold On EP dropped and pretty much blew everyone away (and rightfully so). Right now, he’s on the verge of releasing his first full-length album on Project: Mooncircle, and I can tell you it’s an absolute winner.
No question, Kurtis (who produces as KRTS) can sling a beat round, but to give him credit as a beatmaker is not enough – he’s a musician. A truly soulful artist who seems to craft these wildly intricate, expertly produced pieces of music that inspire.
I wanted to talk to the man himself about his album, his move to music full-time and his possible future plans, so here goes:
SO: You took your music and production full-time a few months back and left behind what I had imagined was a pretty awesome job as at the american museum of natural history in NYC. Do you feel you’ve made the right decision?
K: Yeah. I think I made a good decision. I travelled to Europe and toured around hitting some amazing shows through Germany, Austria, Poland, and Norway. I’ve finally finished my first LP, “The Dread of an Unknown Evil” due out in December. I live in Brooklyn and I’m completely broke! Couldn’t be better or broker!
SO: How difficult was it to make that decision, and if you could go back to before you made it, would you change anything about how you handled it all?
K: It was difficult. At the same time it was just a choice to be made. Either I stay there for another year saying to myself, “One day I’m just going to be out” or just make it happen.
I put together a tour myself, grinding it out while at work contacting event promoters and it all came together. I wouldn’t change a thing about how I handled it. My job wasn’t meant to be my career or my life. It was there to sustain me and I stayed there too long. I had a great send off by the best staff in New York City. Felt sad to leave, weird to start my life a few months before turning 32, and hopeful that I can push hard with the help of friends, family, fans, and Project: Mooncircle.
SO: With a name like “The Dread Of An Unknown Evil” does the album have a particular theme? How did the name come about? I presume there’s a story behind it all.
“Have you ever been in a decent mood and all of a sudden you just feel like there’s something wrong but, you have no idea what it is?”
K: The title comes from the word, “Panphobia”. It’s being afraid and not knowing exactly what you’re afraid of and the affect is an anxiety that can paralyze you momentarily or a bit longer. Have you ever been in a decent mood and all of a sudden you just feel like there’s something wrong but, you have no idea what it is? Maybe, I just have some issues to work out but, it’s happened to me more than enough.
The album as a whole is based on multiple fears. Personal, situational, and fears that people close to me have that has affected me.
SO: Did you have a clear vision of what you wanted the album, or each track to sound like or was it more of an organic process? how did the album take shape?
K: I wanted it to be well orchestrated with more original composing and less sampling. I had hopes of making it dark but, as the album progressed I realized it was just meant to be heavy and powerful. I didn’t expect it to be as electronic as it is but I can only create what’s in my heart. Somehow Deep House found it’s way into my heart. From living in New York City where house heads take over the clubs with Cuban-House, Afro-House, Disco House and Deep House then to staying in European countries for almost 2 months on tour, it was just bound to happen. The album though is more than house and even the tracks that are 120-130 bpms are more than “House”.
SO: Did you find any other producers or artists inspiring while putting the album together?
K: Yeah, which may be a reason I also went house. I was in St. Etienne, France with the Positive Education crew during my tour. After my show which was dope, there was an after party in one the Positive Education crew member’s flat. Everyone was smiling and drinking, I was absolutely lost in translation but, the vibe was so cordial that I loved every minute of it. Anyways, Dave DK’s, “Will Be Gone” was played on someone’s laptop. It completely fit the mood and created a soundtrack that till this day, just moves me to think about it.
SO: What are you hoping the album will do for your profile as a musician? Is that important to you?
K: I hope it shows that I am just that – a musician. A musician that appreciates all and many styles and wants to create them in my own way while still sounding authentic and true to the style. It’s important to me to be recognized as a musician. If I’m lucky, I may get recognized as a good musician.
SO: You’re moving to Berlin in a few months, or have at least hinted at that – what was the catalyst for the decision? Do you think your production and/or DJing styles, methods or sounds will change as a result of the move? Any predictions?
K: Well, I’m hoping to move to Berlin. There’s no guarantee it’ll happen. If it all works out, I’ll be there in January and will be applying for an artist visa. Ever since my very first mini-tour in 2011, I felt it was the right place to be. I had my first show in Berlin with the Beat Geeks crew, sharing the stage with Comfort Fit, and Project: Mooncircle’s Gordon and Malte were there. If it wasn’t for that show, I wouldn’t be working with PMC. I made a lot of close friends that make me feel like I’m not a guest in their city but, as if I belong.
I don’t have any predictions about how or if my music will change. Life experiences reflect my creative output. If I move to another country, that would be the biggest change of my life, I can only imagine my music will too. If I grow my music grows with me.
Photo credit – Can You Dig It/?