Our friend & anonymous producer Deeper Kenz just put out a fantastic tape on the always-excellent LA-based label 100% Silk. They put together a disco-laced mix for us and we chatted about wandering, relationships, and of course, Kensington.
Peep the mix & our discussion below:
KDU: Where did the Deeper Kenz alias come from?
Deeper Kenz: The name of the project was meant simply to pay homage to the place in which the music was made. I first moved to Kensington in 2007 and was 19 at the time. I feel like I became an adult there. I owe a lot to the neighborhood and its different residents.
KDU: How did Philadelphia influence the sound of this tape?
Deeper Kenz: The Sound of Philadelphia is a wonderfully dense landscape and so many parts of it have affected me deeply- the city’s towering contributions to Soul, Disco, and Hip hop, the Experimental and Noise music communities of which I was a peripheral part, the Saturdays of Caribbean music on WKDU, the talented people I DJ’d with at clubs and parties, the dancers there- I felt so connected to and inspired by all of this while I was working on the tracks that would end up on the tape. I spent so many hours wandering around the city but I was always most attached to Kensington. The track names were an attempt to create a map of some of the details of the area that were most important to me.
KDU: Were there any artistic influences that went into Deeper Kenz?
Deeper Kenz: I was obsessively digging for Techno, House, Disco, Funk, and Soul tunes at the time I was working on these, so I’m sure I was fully processing my education. I also was trying to make music I could play out Djing and would fit in the context of my sets. I was also inspired by the personal relationships I had at the time and the inexhaustible current of music flowing through so many of them. I hope the gratitude I feel shows in the music.
KDU: How did you get involved with 100% Silk?
Deeper Kenz: I got in touch with 100% Silk through some mutual friends- Britt Brown had written a review of another project of mine and we first began corresponding about that. He was interested when I told him I had some music that sounded vaguely appropriate for the label and I was ecstatic when they agreed to release it. I hadn’t exactly intended for these recordings to come out- they were just for myself and my friends. All this comes as a pleasant surprise.
KDU: What is your favorite food and/or drink to eat before or after hittin tha club?
Deeper Kenz: Ha- thanks to everyone at W/N W/N who fed me whether I asked for it or not.
Pour yourself a nice covfefe & enjoy the full Deeper Kenz tape here.
DJ Sega is one of the most unique and groundbreaking artists to come out of Philly. He was one of the original artists signed to Mad Decent and has remixed the craziest variety of songs with the Philly club sound that he helped pioneer (e.g. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Theme – DJ Sega remix). His set at the EMM was absolutely INSANE. My jaw was on the floor as he pulled out track after track of unexpected / WTF goodness. Sit back and listen to his set and read our chat about the start of his career, current projects and the original Mad Decent HQ.Yeah, we talked about the Diplo beef too…
DJ Sega: I’m alive…that’s what counts. Right now, I’m in my hometown Philly. I’ve been staying in South Philly lately.
CB: How did you first start getting into music?
Sega: I was born into music. My parents were choir directors and my father was a DJ in the Nicetown area for almost 40 years, playing classic soul, funk, hip hop and other feel good music. My little sister and I grew up being a little competitive when it came to the music we collected. We competed on who would get an album first. My first tape was James Brown 20 All-Time Greatest Hits and the first album I had was Bad by Michael Jackson.
CB: Were you DJing before you started producing?
Sega: My production came before I took DJing seriously as a career. I received an email survey asking for feedback on this music production software called Acoustica Beatcraft. I gave my ideas and then received an email saying that not only did they use my ideas, but that they were giving me the software for free also. I cut and edited samples in a wave editor and made music for my own entertainment. I was going through a lot in that year and needed an escape. That’s where my imagination and the producing came in. This is my 10 year anniversary of producing!
CB: What was some of the first club music you listened to?
Sega: Baltimore club of course. I first heard it in my Dad’s car. He ran into the bar and left me with the radio on for a few minutes, and that’s when I first heard “Doo Doo Brown” by 2 Hyped Brothers & A Dog. I must’ve been about eight! Later, I was in disbelief when I went to a teen night at an arcade up by Erie Ave and they were playing club music. They had the events in the laser tag area – so it was neon paint and black light all over the place.
I knew the sound, but to experience it in a club for the first time with a sound system was incredible! The bass under my feet, the breaks in my face, the girls on my lap – but we won’t talk about that. I still remember the songs that were played that night but I had no idea I’d be making it myself.
CB: Then you started spinning gigs? How did you learn to DJ?
Sega: I’ve always played in front of a live audience and never really “practiced” before. Not because I’m on some Allen Iverson stuff – I’ve just never owned equipment to practice on. You have DJs out there that have all the equipment and only want to look good having it – they don’t really love this stuff.
CB: How did you take your career to the next level?
Sega: I always heard my mixtapes being blasted out of cars and houses, but they were only being sold at one location, one day a week. I started getting my mixtapes into some stores downtown like Armand’s. That’s where I met Dirty South Joe. He introduced me to Diplo and we talked about this new label he was starting at the time (Mad Decent). I became one of first artists signed to Mad Decent and invited their crew to come check out my regular party. Diplo, Switch, Joe and his girl all came to check it out. Switch bought all of my mixtapes that night.
CB: What were those initial vibes like at Mad Decent?
Sega: It was a big creative family – Diplo, Derek (DJA), Paul Devro, Blaqstarr, Rye Rye and me. It was fun and productive and we all shared ideas and helped each other out. Those initial block parties were crazy – 2010 in particular. It was the first year the block party was on tour and also the last time it was at the mausoleum at 12th and Spring Garden. I guess my set ran a little over my allotted 20/25 minutes and I was told to cut the music off. The crowd was in a frenzy, chanting my name and wanting an encore. After that show, I was put on the lineup for NYC.
CB: What do you think it is that drives people wild for SEGA?
Sega: I think that I’m reaching into a part of people that they forget all about. For example, I flipped the Power Rangers theme and when I’d play it out, I’d just see the smiles come on people’s faces. That theme song was how I got into rock and metal. In 7th grade, I caught Headbanger’s Ball one morning and saw the video for Mudvayne’s “Dig”. I ended up remixing that track and when I met Dirty South Joe, that was the song that motivated him to partner up so fast. People couldn’t believe my rock and metal remixes because of the way that the sound was manipulated and even more so that it was coming from a black kid from Philly. That’s what my latest HellaSonix project is about. I decided that since I’m in my 10th year producing, I would go back to my roots and remix everything from Yes to Aphex Twin.
CB: Let’s talk about ‘the tweet’ from Diplo – give me the context around that whole thing.
Sega: I take care of my disabled family members and have been doing so for years. My mother was in two car accidents and my uncle is deaf and mute. I used to come to the mausoleum late and Diplo would ask me why wasn’t I there earlier or more often. I would tell him there’s some shit going on at home. Recently, the city condemned the house my family was living in and I had to move everything out, literally overnight. I was raising money to help – didn’t ask Diplo for any money – and then he tweeted at me what he did. I didn’t even know he had a problem with me. I was just trying to take care of my family with a crazy situation.
CB: And you’ve heard nothing from him since the tweet, correct?
Sega: There was a little bit of back and forth and talks from people telling me he’s contacted them for my number. I got contacted by everybody except from him. People asked what happened so much that I got sick of it and posted everything on a blog in chronological order. I wanted to get past it, but at the same time I refuse to be in that long list of people that bow down or fold to someone, no matter how much power they have. However, I don’t want people to think that everybody at Mad Decent is evil because they aren’t. In fact, some of the crew that works for Mad Decent donated to my GoFundMe page to help my family.
CB: I’m sorry to hear about the whole situation.
Sega: I feel like I had to show that people that no matter how low you think you may be, you still can fight. I’m just glad for the experience. I’ve always been on the DIY tip as far as my career and I can only imagine what will come next. Me going from being Diplo’s first “protege” to a “bum” is an achievement in itself. But why would somebody that high up on the power ladder come at me in front of millions? All while I’m going through shit? There must be something he knows that I don’t…
CB: So what do you currently have in the works?
Sega: I’m always working on music. I have three projects I’m working on right now: the next volume to my Sixer series, a special edition of HellaSonix and my second EP of all original material called, “Is That Your EP Too?” I also play big events and last minute gigs. You have to stay tuned to catch me out because anything can happen at the drop of a hat. One minute I could be here in Philly and the next I could get a call to come out to Tokyo. I love Japan. STAY TUNED!
The 2014 Electronic Music Marathon was a SMASHING SUCCESS.
This was our 11th year of the EMM after 7 years on hiatus, and my first year involved in the event.
Before I get into this post, I want to give a big shout out to one of my radio inspirations – Jenn Louie. For many years, Jenn had an amazing house and electronic show on KDU called Foundation, and organized many of the previous EMM’s. Some of my first beat matching and set building lessons were from watching her mix using our cruddy CUE speaker and CD players with rudimentary pitch controls.
I’m so honored that I got to pick up the history of a 10 year event, and continue the tradition of connecting Philly DJs of all kinds through electronic music.
Part of me wants to just dive in and rave about how RAD everyone’s sets were, but I’ll have to do that later when we get all the audio sorted to go with.
I want to tell a story.
We have one caller who ALWAYS calls our station to say hello. I’ll be in the mix on my show, see his name come up on the caller ID, and then get a little grin on my face.
I know that he’s going to suggest some rave track for me to check out, or talk about how I should check out this particular Kung Fu movie (not even kidding), or mention how another DJ earlier in the day was killing it.
He damn well knows his house music – but when I talk to other KDU DJs, they also tell me about how he knows his jazz, his psych-rock, and so on.
His support of the entire KDU DJ roster is really amazing, but his main message is even more awesome.
Whenever I ask him his name, he simply says, “SPREAD LOVE!”
We refer to this caller as SPREAD LOVE, and have taken his message to heart.
I TRULY believe that the Electronic Music Marathon SPREAD LOVE through ALL kinds of electronic music this past Columbus Day Weekend, as we rocked the airwaves for 75 hours of CONTINUOUS ELECTRONIC JAMS.
From electro to disco, boogie to gritty, Italo to techno HOLY MOLY the 2014 EMM DJ lineup absolutely KILLED their sets.
From talking with King Britt about Sun Ra, to chatting with Billy Werner about how he went to high school with Ron Morelli, to hearing about how Dave P spun at KDU to promote his first ever Making Time – our studio was BLESSED with the energy of some truly amazing DJs who donated their time and resources to make this a SMASH.
We received the kindest words from Dave P, who is definitely one of the RADDEST DJs around.
He posted this photo from his closing set of the EMM on his Instagram and really blew me away with his words….
“Last nite I had the honor of playing the closing set on @wkdu‘s Electronic Music Marathon and….it truly was an honor. It was also one of the most positive and inspiring musical experiences I’ve had in years. I have not seen such genuine positivity, true love of music and excitement about music and being involved in music from a group of people like I did last nite in the WKDU studios in a very long time. They really are a MAGICAL group of people who are doing great things for the right reasons. It makes me think that the music “industry” should be learning from these kids and gaining inspiration from them and people like them as opposed to them learning and gaining inspiration from the music “industry”. One of the staff members was talking to me about some of the DJs they wanted to have play who didn’t ended up playing for them. One DJ’s manager, who will remain nameless, told him he would need a minimum of $10,000 to have him play. C’MON…..REALLY ??? The music “industry” and the people involved in it….artists, managers, agents, labels etc should be doing everything they can to support these kids and others like them and like I said….probably learning from them and gaining some inspiration from them too. (Hey….look how much DAVIDE taught and inspired me while I was in Positano and…..he was younger than me.) Anyways….They’re doing this for the right reasons and so should all of us !!! This IS supposed to be FUN….remember ??? Here’s to a group of college kids who put together what was basically a 4 day DJ festival on their RADio station with no budget while, in the words of one of the staff, “hopped up on falafel and red bull” !!! Congratulations WKDU and thank you for allowing me to have such a MAGICAL and inspiring experience last nite !!! I can’t wait to do it again next year and…..hopefully DAVIDE can join me next time. He has some really rad olde ITALIO-DISCO records.”
We can’t thank Dave and everyone else who helped us out enough!!!! DAVIDE, come back with those Italo records ANYTIME!!
Ahead of his set on the #2014EMM, I caught up with Philly DJ and producer Blueshift to chat about house music, changing tastes (music and otherwise), and the Philly scene. He’s got a release out on the legendary New York label Nurvous Recordings, and was the co-founder of the highly acclaimed French Express blog, amongst manyyy other things.
Chris B: Wassup man, thanks for linking up, and looking forward to having you on the EMM!
Blueshift: Noo problem, man – happy to chat, and stoked to participate!
CB: So, how did you get into house music?
Blueshift: I’ve always been a fan of 80’s music. Even as a kid, synthesizer-heavy stuff caught my ear. I loved Eurodance! When I discovered dance music and really got into it, it was mainly the harder stuff like hard trance and such. Over the years, I just branched out and moved to different genres.
CB: What was one of the first tracks like that that you loved?
CB: As you got older, what was some of the dance-y stuff you got into?
Blueshift: In the later years of high school, I was really getting into music, but listened relatively passively. I remember this one track by Ghost in the Machine called “A Time Long Forgotten” – I listened to that a lot. I think I had a few Hybrid tracks around then, too. College is where I discovered internet radio dance music stations and got into hard house and trance. Stuff like Tidy Boys and Tunnel Trance Force.
CB: So how did you end up moving towards the funky side of things?
Blueshift: Just through changing tastes. I moved from trance, to progressive stuff, and somewhere around 2006/2007 my ear really caught onto the french house and nu-disco sound.
CB: Around that time for me, that was Justice / MSTRKRFT – what was it for you?
Blueshift: I liked their sound, but for me it was the Lifelike/Fred Falke/Alan Braxe crew that really did it for me. Thinking back, the turning point might have been when my friend played one of James Grant’s early Anjunabeats Worldwide shows for me, and I heard Michael Cassette’s tracks for the first time. Something about it just seemed to combine trance, but with a pure 80’s sound and it totally shoved my taste in that direction for the next few years.
Blueshift: I haven’t! I’ll load it up on queue for today 😀
CB: Have you always been based out of Philly?
Blueshift: For the most part. I was in NJ for a couple years for the last year of high school and for college, but moved back around 2006.
CB: I feel like the ‘scene’ here has kind of blossomed recently – tell me about your experiences in Philly – as a resident, as a DJ, etc
Blueshift: The scene in Philly DEFINITELY has exploded in the past two years or so. The caliber of artists coming through now is so great. We have tons of awesome and current acts in on a regular basis, and lots of smaller groups popping up as well. There’s a pretty steady rotating lineup of good gigs. Philly can also be a pretty tough city to get a handle on though; I’ve played a wide range of shows here, from empty to packed, but I’m definitely grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had to play here.
CB: Who are some of your artist homeys in Philly that we should know about?
Blueshift: The Worldtown peeps have been putting out some great tracks recently (and crushing it with their events) **editor’s note: they’re spinning for us on the EMM, too!**,Apt One always brings the heat **also spinning for the EMM**, Les Professionnels are super pro **ALSO spinning for the EMM**, and PS 118 has some really tight stuff upcoming. Maggs Bruchez are also some of my favorite Philly producers.
CB: Where’s your fave brunch spot?
Blueshift: Cafe Renata in West Philly. I’m always there. I’ve also found myself at Broad Street Diner a bunch recently.
CB: I love pork roll – how do you feel about pork roll?
Blueshift: Pork roll is great, man. Blew my mind when I first heard it called Taylor Ham.
Matthew Law FKA DJ PHSH is a man that really shouldn’t need an introduction.
He’s rocked pretty much every spot in Philly, and has been moving asses in clubs before he was even allowed to drink. He was the tour DJ for Dave Chappelle’s Oddball Comedy Tour, the Northeast champion of the 2013 Red Bull 3Style Contest, and has spun numerous highly acclaimed gigs including LA’s the Do-Over and Low End Theory.
It seems like forever ago that I sat down with Matt, and since then, he’s recorded the official Roots Picnic Mixtape and opened up the annual PSK event for J. Rocc, Rich Medina, Cosmo Baker, Cash Money, and Questlove – amongst his normal crazy schedule.
Peep his dope set from PSK, and read our chat to get hype for his 3rd annual PHSH TANK Block Party this weekend.
ML: I’m Matthew Law – you might know me from before as DJ PHSH. I’m a DJ, producer, vision guy – I have a lot of ideas.
CB: What were your first musical memories?
ML: My parents had a theatre company together, up until I was 14. I grew up with that, and also played violin for six years.
Growing up in West Philly in the 90s, the hip hop and alternative rock stuff was really poppin, so I remember that. My Dad liked the modern rock too, so we’d go on drives and listen to Y100 or WMMR and joke around. I still remember being like 7, and listening to Pearl Jam and making fun of Eddie Vedder with all the aaayyyyy-eee-yayy-yuhhh’s.
CB: Y100, RIP! I remember them making fun of Creed also.
ML: Oh Y100 would rag on Creed so hard.
It’s a weird segway – but I remember there being such a weird feeling of race separation once I started hearing Beastie Boys and Eminem on Y100, but not any other rap. I was like, “Oh so I guess if they’re white guys it’s OK for them to be on Y100?” I thought that was really strange, and even at 12, I boycotted them for like two months. My first concert was at Veterans Stadium with Dave Matthews Band, The Roots, and Santana. I was 10, and I came for Dave Matthews Band. I had no idea who The Roots were.
I don’t have any older siblings, so when it came to hip hop, the reason I probably attached to it so much, besides a few key people, was that I really had to discover it on my own, and make it my own.
CB: So how’d you get into DJing, and what was your first set up like?
ML: I saw Scratch, the documentary, and I was like, that’s what I wanna do, I wanna try it out. I didn’t really have anybody to show me anything up until I met Illvibe Collective. It was just watching Scratch over and over again.
It’s funny because on the special edition of it, Z-Trip gave a 20 minute tutorial on how to be a DJ for the most part. Last year, I was DJing at Output with Rich Medina, Questlove, and Z-Trip, and I was like, “Yo, you were my first DJ teacher!”
My first set up was the Stanton STR 880 DJ in a box. The first pair of turntables I saw in person was from this kid I went to Hebrew school with, he got those for his Bar Mitzvah. His Bar Mitzvah was after mine, and when I saw his, I was like, “Man, I shouldn’t have gotten a guitar!”
CB: How did you start to build up a name for yourself in Philly and beyond?
ML: I started DJing the Gathering, the longest running hip hop event in Philadelphia. When I was 18, I had my first consistent gig in a club at Medusa Lounge on Tuesdays. I didn’t try to drink, and I think I got a way with a lot of stuff because I knew I was there to work. I wasn’t there to party – I was there to make the party happen.
Then in 2009, everything blew up with my first party, Superdope. Nose Go, Yis Goodwin, had a magazine called McJawn with Gwen Vo, and Leah Kauffman had just started the blog Phrequency. Sammy Slice had his party Mo Money Mo Problems, and while we were somewhat in competition, as far as the kids that were our age, we all were working together in some way.
I started Superdope when I was 20, still not drinking, and on my 21st birthday, there was a thunderstorm. I thought nobody was gonna come out, and we had over 350 people that night.
CB: How was Low End Theory when you spun out there?
ML: Low End Theory was great. It was the first time in a while that I understood that a large crowd of people might not be there to dance, cuz it’s beat heads. So they’re just looking at you like, yeah, you might hear a ‘wooh’.
CB: Let’s talk about the Matthew Law name change.
ML: My full name is Matthew Lawrence Fishman-Dickerson. I came up with DJ PHSH in 10th grade chemistry – I just needed a name. I’m producing now, and I don’t want people to get the wrong idea about what I’m capable of, so that’s why I’m going with Matthew Law.
Plus, a lot of my mentors go by their names, Statik is now Mr. Sonny James, King Britt’s real name is King Britt, Rich Medina’s real name is Rich Medina, and I thought I’d get on the bus.
CB: Tell us what to expect from your new EP.
ML: I’m currently working on it. It’s a storytelling record. Originally it was like oh I’m breaking up from DJ PHSH, but it ended up being like oh I’m breaking up with a girl and then going into a new relationship, new girl. Each track is it’s own thing – it’s a score to my own short film in my mind. I just got a bass player on it, there’s some funky samples and modern funk electronics, and a slow jam with a really ill guitar solo from Joe Jordan.
CB: Favorite closing track:
ML: Between two records.
I’m always the first one there and last one to leave, somebody better be going home with something.
It was sampled for SWV’s – The Rain.
*editor’s note – I linked to the live version of this song because it’s the shit*
CB: What’s something interesting about you outside of music?
ML: I grew up watching a lot of anime. Not like oh Pokemon’s on, Dragonball Z’s on – no, I watched Akira in a dark room by myself when I was 11. I saw Ninja Scroll when I was 9. I think it’s really funny when people try to rag on anime and act like that shit’s for nerds – it was the foundation for your entire childhood! All those cartoons you used to watch were outsourced to Asia, stop bullshitting. Do not front. I take the strongest approach possible when it comes to defending watching good anime.