Piknic Électronik #4 – Interview with DJ Kuya

DJ Kuya PE image

We’re in for a special treat this Sunday in Melbourne having DJ Kuya on the line-up for the 4th event of Piknic Électronik. This guy knows how to blow your mind with two turntables like no one else and is one of Australia’s DJ veterans. Whono’s was curious to know a bit more about this champion before his set this weekend.

You have won 3 Victorian DMC State titles – what made you start juggling on turntables?

“Watching the DMC videos from the early 1990’s and discovering beat-juggling blew my mind. My main influences would be Roc Raida and Mista Sinista from the X-Men/X-Ecutioners.”

What are your DJ gear must-haves?

“Two Technics SL-1200MK’s, Native Instrument’s Kontrol Z2 with Traktor Scratch Pro and Shure M447 Cartridges of course!”

How has your style of DJ-ing changed during your music career?

“I started out as a mobile DJ, playing my first gig when I was 12 so I was playing everything in the beginning. As I discovered new music and as new genres were born (Breaks and Dubstep especially) I incorporated that into my sets. In recent years I’ve gone back to my high school influences and have been incorporating a lot more Metal and Hard Rock.”

Which DJ gig has been the most memorable so far?

“Oh man, there are a few – playing at Meredith at 2am with my brother Dexter and playing at Fabric’s Birthday in 2006.”

When did you start producing music?

“I started producing music in 2001 when I was living in Sydney. I bought myself a Boss SP505 sampler for Christmas and I never looked back!”

I heard that you have some new releases coming out this year; can you tell us a bit about them?

“I have a 12” EP coming out via The Operatives which features some tracks I’ve been working on for a while – most notably “Vanilla Papers” which has had a lot of love from artists such as Mark Pritchard and Taay from Electric Wire Hustle. Fellow Operative Amin Payne has done a killer remix of it too!”

Stable music hosted a party to raise money when you got diagnosed with kidney failure. When was this, and how do you feel today?

“Actually it was Jerry from the Operatives and the guys from Stable. It’s actually a little more complicated than that… the kidney failure was brought on by a series of Neuroendocrine tumours in the liver, pancreas and kidneys. The tumours caused my calcium levels to spike which crashed my kidneys. This was in April 2012, so since then I’ve gone through a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to combat the cancer which has slowed. As for the kidney failure, I started dialysis last November and it’s going well so far.”

What can we expect from you on Sunday at Piknic Électronik?

“A bit of everything, and definitely a more electronic sound than what I usually play with a few twists and surprises thrown in.”

Piknic Elektronik Melbourne launched 3 weeks ago in Melbourne; this innovative weekly summer program first started in Montreal and has since expanded globally to include a location in Barcelona and now all the way to Oz. Piknic Electronik #4 – Sunday 1st February @ Howler will feature An ON Bast (live), Egbert (live), Jamie Stevens, A13, Kuya & Jellyfish, to keep up to date with future dates, you can visit their Facebook page.

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