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Distinctive and Dangerous: We Meet FERAL is KINKY

12 June 2013 - - - The DJ List

 

Born and raised in North West London FERAL IS KINKY is the Femme Fatale of Global-bass. FERAL writes, produces and performs one of kind tracks that tear down boundaries and rip-through stereotypes. In her own words FERAL is KINKY breaks down her unique style and how she became the phenomenon she is today.

You have been producing music for a long time, tell us about your start

I grew up above a betting shop, from when I was born until I was in my early 20’s in a mixed neighborhood in Central London. My granddad worked as a bookie runner on the streets before betting was made legal in England, to be able to sort the flat. Right next door was a Blues bar,it was a West Indian after hours reggae party, that started pumping bass up into the flat late at night after the clubs shut. Most mornings it was still rocking as I left for primary school. This might explain my love for bass. My brother got a drum kit off my Dads friend and we had an amp and a mic, none of us could play anything but we were allowed to keep it. It had always been a space issue with three kids in one room, but that was what made me realize I wanted to do music. My school was really mixed and sometimes at concerts we’d perform traditional Caribbean songs like “Yellow Bird” I played the bongos, then saved up and bought my own set. I was always into rhythm.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

There was a community theatre called The Cockpit one block form my home. It was a place where kids in the area could take part in different projects, so in my early to mid teens I got to play the kit and more percussion's there. Myself and a few of the boys from the Estate (Projects) used to play around in the same session and record rhythms with the MC-ing and heavy delay on the mic. By the time I was 18 (having just left my secondary High school) I had linked with two friends of mine, With one bass and a violin we would play dub on a heavily mic-ed up kit with delays and other effects on. After that I joined a music project for unemployed young adults based in Ladbroke Grove and linked up with Jah Lenny. I had a few drum lessons and he was having bass lessons and we formed a mainly reggae combo, in the style of Sly and Robbie. Or so we thought. Some of our rhythms were great, so we used to record them on cassette. By the time I was in my early 20’s my reggae obsession had increased and id already been into the music for 12 years, which is quite precocious for a white kid. I was clubbing a lot, going out to gigs and was writing dancehall inspired lyrics, after trying to write raps. I recorded one track with the same friend I had been in the trio with under the name W.P.C (Wickedest Pair in Christendom) a play on the initials of women police constable playing with words and meanings from the start. It felt less natural developing a version of Jamaican Patois, than a fake American accent which seemed more alien to me than Caribbean ones I'd been around as a kid. I gave my self a name MC Kinky and recorded my 1st track "Reggae gone Kinky” over the Kid Ralph, (a little twitch Instrumental) I even recorded a dub version mixed down live at the Cockpit. I took the master tape up to Music House in Seven Sisters and cut my 1st dub plate on acetate, I was pleased with myself and even took it down to Record Shack (Dub vendor) in Ladbroke Grove, where I used to buy all my 7” pre’s and played it to Redman who worked there. I’ve still got that 10”. The first professional musicians I recorded with were Boy George for ‘Kipsey,' ‘Everything starts with an E’ and ‘Generations of Love’ and Erasure for ‘Take a chance on me’. Those releases got me known

What choices did you make in the beginning of your career that you are really proud of?

The first important decision I remember making was to not accept a one-off cash payment for recording Kipsey. I was offered a one-off fee or publishing and Boy George told me to make my own choice. I said I wanted the publishing and a small advance up front. I guess I’ve never been great at compromising and never understood why you weren't meant to have your cake AND eat it too. My mum told me recently I’d been my own person since the age of four. I tend to do things my way and always speak my mind even though that’s difficult sometimes. I’m not bothered about mainstream protocol or ethics, but I do care about the people around me, I’ve never been concerned with taking the easy route, I’ve always tried to do what I’ve wanted and been true to my own ideals and lifestyle.

Who did you learn the most from? Did you model yourself after anyone?

There’s no one person. Though I have always been really into Bob Marley, Marc Bolan and Kate Bush because they are all outstanding performers. My family are grafters, certain things had to be done when we were growing up, they were open and cool, but a little bit strict at the same time. We all learn from everyone around us and our experiences, whether that’s positive or negative…or what not to do or how not to be. I observe and it gets absorbed in one way or another. Liz Bisoux from Studio Partyline definitely helped me up my game visually and also professionally in the last few years. Photography, art fashion, influences me, I hustle hard, I don’t social climb or creep around people. I speak my mind when sometimes I shouldn’t and I’m sensitive. A lot of people don’t get me or can’t handle me or work me out. I’m used to that. I like to party and I like to be chilled spend time by myself. I do my own thing.

What challenges shaped your current success?

Urgh! There are always challenges. Their have been a few financial situations that were tough to deal with, a few writing situations that were annoying and didn’t work out and songs that I managed to turn around into tracks I’m proud of. Industry constraints are bugging, people are still hung up on color, age, gender, sexuality…its tired. You find that in any industry though, money, ego, ownership and judgements, people generate that stuff. I wouldn’t say it’s shaped my success, but it hasn’t stopped me continuing to produce work I know is going down well. I work really hard these last two years and it's taught me that the music can and will get through, with or without major radio and industry support and the manager /agent infrastructure. It's just so much harder, but still possible as I’ve proven. I’ve had $40,000 dollars taken from me, I’ve had my chorus ripped off and adapted for use in a No.1 worldwide million dollar track, but I’ve never been a scratchy chicken desperate for corn, nor have I ever been industry standard, so I jump and roll. Its about now and the future and only bringing the good things forward from the past and I can see that what I create has worked, does work and will continue to work. You can be a pacifist and a warrior...that MJ line doesn’t really do it for me “I’m a lover not a fighter” I’m both, learning to be the right one at the right time is a skill. I’m only skilled on rare occasions.

Where did the name FERAL is KINKY come from? What does it mean

The first name I went under was MC Kinky. It started off as a joke, but I needed a name when I recorded my first two tracks professionally, so it stuck. After I shortened it to Kinky, I developed a persona called “The Infidel” had a residency in Ibiza, wrote new material and collaborations then wrote the Cantankerous album another solo project and developed that character. The sound was described by one of the girls from Club Motherfucker in London as feral pop, it was quite heavy and electronic, but the melodies and songs were still there. I thought it was a brilliant, so that's how I became FERAL. Then, two art curator friends and close people I respect, were saying I should link the past music with the current and not try and eradicate it. So for a short while I became FERAL aka MC Kinky which was a mouthful. Then whilst working really closely with Liz from S.PL who directed, produced and edited the My Selector video, a mutual friend chipped in with Feral IS Kinky and then Liz worked on the logo with me late one night and I became FERAL is KINKY. I like the abbreviation: FiK.

You experiment a lot with your sound, playing around with genres like Global-bass, Trap, Moombahton, and more. Can you tell us about your creative process and what influences help shape your sound?

I love melody, I love bass, I love energy and dark heavy vibes. Analogue synth sounds and tribal percussion and raw drum sounds work for me. I try and put different influences in my work without trying to hard to come with something consciously, I’m not against pop, I love a well-crafted song, but I do love a twist. I might start with a melody or a line or an idea; I’ve been writing, producing and voicing my solo tracks. I work with an engineer called James Hurr, but he’s more into deep house and tech than my vibe. I’ve got one track to finish and then I’ll be looking to work with other producers as a vocalist, there’s loads of producers I rate at the moment in the US and UK and I might also start writing for other people.

What message do you try to send with your music? 

There’s no specific message but there are things I feel like saying so I do, they can be dirty, humorous, sexual, melancholic, deep, or a straight up party track, there’s always something a little subversive in there. Can't seem to help myself it’s more cheeky than preachy, it depends what state I’m in and what’s going on. Its topical I enjoying writing about whatever moves me. it’s my take on the world

Do you go into a track with the intensions of it being for a specific genre?

 Sometimes I might write something that’s not really genre specific, more of a mutant version, but that’s what’s so good about the whole bass thing, its multi genre. It didn’t used to be that way. More often I will start with a specific tempo dictated by the lyrics and melody, which then helps define the genre, less often I’ll work from the genre backwards, but I do that too.

)Your latest single "Tweet" dropped May 27th can you tell us about this track, what do you want people to know about your newest production?

It’s a moombahton track that’s got a partly sexual vibe, I it wrote back in 2010 as a twitter and social media parody. I gave it a re-rub for the Play Me release, I’m really happy because it's currently at No.19 in the Beatport glitch hop chart and Spenda C’s remix went to No.13 in the hip hop chart. The video, directed by UK director and visual artist Ladypat is out as of Monday, June 10TH .It came about after I linked with Munchi on SoundCloud back in summer 2010; I was into his Datsik Firepower remix we decided to do a collab and recorded the vocals with my engineer in London. His schedule got mad and he wasn’t sorting the track then had the seizure in Hawaii, so I decided to go ahead and write and produce the track alone. It’s all good though I hosted and performed at the Valtifest moombahton stage in 2011 alongside Dillon Francis, Brenmar, and Brodinski MC-ing with Munchi for the finale and we hung out with some of the other Moomba lot in Miami.

Are you touring?
 
I’m planning to be in NYC and LA in September and hopefully some other states and Mexico. I’m looking for an agent at the moment, so if anyone wants to book me for shows or DJ sets while I’m out there feel free to get in touch. Its gonna be a sick trip!

What projects are you working on currently?

I’ve got a few collaboration releases lined up coming from Europe with Endymion, the video goes live in 3 days, then Naffz and writing lyrics for Donkong but I’ve just nailed the final mix down for the Trap version of ‘Brother’ this Friday it’s a 145 bpm serious number and I’ll be looking for remixers for this as from next week. There’s 2 other Dub-step versions at 140bpm and there’ll be a video. I’m looking for a label for this one as well as for “Tun Up (Booya!)” a lively 120bpm distorted bass party track that’s been going down well live. There’s a Trap-step song I’ve recorded with Stenchman and Suspect from the UK, called “Back where we started” that’s out with a video and remixes as soon as we find the right home for it. Also in the UK Backdraft are mixing down “Get Mad” that’s coming out on Botchitt and Scarper in the UK The current song that I’m writing is a Trap love song …the music’s sounding epic, the songs quite melodic with a tougher verse it’s got a working title, I’ll finish writing it by next week,then I’ll send the produced vocals back to Australian Spenda C who’s working on it with DJ Butcher + Oski.

Your style/music is hard-hitting aggressive and real. In America we don't really have strong female producers like yourself, how do you think being from the UK has influenced your style/music?

Thank you, but I’m sure you’ve got a few knocking about…Missy Elliot for starters! She’s a complete Don and had to fight against all kinds of prejudice in the industry from day 1 and there’s Reid Speed who runs Play Me Records who released my last two solo tracks.
I grew up in an aggressive environment, but a loving family. I had to learn how to deal with different situations, which doesn’t mean I’m physically violent, but I do have a raw edge, but I’ve had a really good education too. I don’t have much time for vacuous or fake; I’m not conventional, I didn’t fit in where I was raised, I didn’t fit in at secondary school (High school). You adapt and create your own rules and life outside of mainstream acceptability. I’ve got nothing to prove, I just want to create and enjoy myself and make some kind of contribution that isn’t based on validating fame or celebrity status they’re not my benchmarks. The UK is a small island and we have a different social and musical history. We haven’t had the large-scale racial divide on the level that America has. Reggae has been the root of my inspiration from childhood and I’ve been exposed to different scenes and cultures. You have to almost go about your business and not give a fuck…but I do, which makes things tougher and any one who pretends they totally don’t give a fuck is a liar, or has no emotions or feelings; I’m human. People seem to be into the UK vibe in the States, Australia, the combination seems to be working. I just did a track with David Heartbreak on OWSLA called ‘Acid Youths’ and another With J-Trick and Taco Cat from Australia, that’s just going up in the Beatport Electro House chart at the moment and is No.2 in the Australian club chart. What’s interesting is people linking from different parts of the globe and making cool tracks for all the right reasons. I guess people like it real, its time to filter out that cheesy mass-produced shit, we can make records that are tough but still ‘Tun up’ and crossover.

Being a Female in this industry is hard. How would you say it affected the way you produce music? What are benefits and or challenges female producers face when trying to establish themselves in the male dominated EDM scene?

I see myself as a person before I see myself as female, so when I work I work as me not as a person restricted by their gender. Of course I’m shaped by that but a lot of guys that contact me about my productions haven’t seen what I look like and assume I’m a guy that gets some girl to spit over the top, or they assume I just write lyrics, MC or do my version of ‘singing’.
I’ve never used my pussy to get on and I’ve never been the girliest of girls, I try to make what I can and hope other people are into it. Being female and not a typical girlie, big titted blonde, can have its drawbacks, but that depends on how you view the situation, we all know it’s largely a male dominated world, but you have to work with what you have and try not to compromise. I’m confident in the music I write and produce and the lyrics I write and record, if you please yourself, chances are other people will be into what you do. It's not about conforming or fitting in its about creating something you can feel positive about and not worrying if it's going to be accepted on a mass, often generic scale. The challenges are that it’s a male dominated scene and tokenism sucks, I’m not sure I’ve felt many benefits to being female in the scene, but when legit female producers start getting recognized and our music gets through we might get the respect we deserve and it’ll be on our own merit and not because we’ve fucked our way through a steady stream of DJ's and sucked every EDM cock out there. It’s a lot to get on top of and swallow.

What do you to say to other female producers out there?

I say major respect to not only other female writers and producers and MC's out there, but also to any female doing things her own way in this game and persevering. I would also say that dry situation whereby some female MC's feel they need to be rated as the best or need to compete against other female MC's needs to be eliminated. Its lame and getting them nowhere, bitching each other off when there’s only a handful doing well in the game shows nothing but their insecurities and desperation. Settle.

"Just do ya thing and don’t be such a Pussy Claat!"
-FERAL is KINKY

Hear all of FERAL's hot new releases on Souncloud today:

About the Author

Katie Moran
 
feral is kinky

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