Photek: Uncompromising

Drum & bass veteran Photek became DJ Kicks’ first recruit for 2012, the Brit signing on for what became a particularly well-received mix for the long-running series. A couple months down the track, Photek’s headed back to Australia for a duo of intimate club dates. But before he hits Sydney’s Chinese Laundry tonight and Melbourne’s Arts Centre on Saturday, inthemix caught up with the scene leader for a quick one on one.

You’ve been based in L.A. for over a decade now. You hear so many different views on L.A. – how do you find it as a place to live and work? What are some of the misconceptions?

My favorite quote is: “The thing about LA, is there’s a thing about LA”. There’s no other city that has so much emphasis put on the effect that it has on its residents. So many of the clichés are true though. With so many transplants arriving to reinvent themselves and go large, it can seem a bit Lord Of The Flies at times. It’s very much home to me now – it’s a different city when you know it well or if you’re a native. I think the main misconception is that the people are fake. The big cheesy smile and the over-the-top enthusiasm are because they are happy to be in Southern California!

So, we hear you’re busy at work on an album, slated for this year. What can you tell us about it at this stage?

Yes, I literally just sent the finished album to mastering – just in time before I get on the flight to Australia tomorrow night! It’s a bit early to tell, but it might well be my favorite album to date. To me it feels like a blend between Modus Operandi and Solaris, forged in a 2012 furnace. The title of the album is KU:PALM and the release date October 15th.

There’s obviously a lot of talk about a dance music boom in the U.S. at the moment. How do you feel that’s filtering down to the more ‘underground’ artists and parties?

I don’t think it’s been filtering down to “underground” artist and parties at all in the US. It’s more of a gold rush for the mainstream money. It’s great to see dance music being recognized in this country though. The Grammys this year were the big surprise – I never thought I’d be up for one of those with the music I make!

In your production work, you’ve often brought house and D&B together, so was it a natural progression to do the same on your DJ Kicks volume? How did you make those connections work on the mix?

Yes, it was a natural progression. It was just a case of building the chapters or sections and joining them together in a way that made it an interesting journey. The opening track Azymuth was made especially to start things up and lead into the Kromestar track. Fountain Head was also tailored to fit into its position in the mix including tuning and editing drum parts to fit the mix.

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