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Derek K & The Heat interview

Author: Roger McHungwell
Thursday, 25 May 2006
24 year old local DJ/producer Derek K talks about his DJ career and production outfit, The Heat…

As one of two original Onelove residents, long-term jock at OneSixOne, and regular supporter of the world's best internationals, you're well versed in Melbourne's house scene. How do you compare your residencies with larger singular events- Do you find crowd reaction more uncertain at bigger parties-

Derek: Definitely… a specific example that comes to mind would be the Falls Festival 2005. That was something I'd never done before - playing to an indie crowd more so than a dance crowd. You've got to gauge what's happening in the room beforehand, maybe get there early and program the set towards the acts you're supporting.

I guess it depends on a number of things: age groups, whether there are more males or females and other acts you might be closing or warming up for. With a residency, you're more inclined to have like mind punters coming in week in week out. They know what you do so they expect a certain standard. In that sense you might have a bit more freedom at an event where people are a bit more open-minded, whereas at a residency you have your supporters that trust you ear and track selection for new music. You can kind of take whatever direction you like really, within reason. That being said, if you're supporting an act that plays a lot of electro, you'd obviously play more to that style than you would vocal house, for instance.

So what is it that makes a Derek K set-

Derek: Well people say, `Derek has this sound', or, `x has that sound', but when they come in and listen to me DJ, hopefully I can provide them with newer stuff for them to say, `hey, he's playing this new track… what is it about this particular track that he likes-'

I remember playing electro when I hooked up with Felix Da Housecat about five years ago at a time when all the house-heads were either purely vocal or more into the west coast/boompty gear. For example, they were all into the more Classic recordings type vibe, or fluffier vocal sound. Now, most `house' jocks are playing at least a synthesizer based track in their set. I remember my first full electro/nu wave electro set was at Prince back in 2000: tracks from artists like Miss Kittin, Adult, Felix, Tiga, and Joey Beltram. I played Chicken Lips for the first time and dudes were like, `What the fuck's this-' No one knew what was going on!

And this was around when DJs like Smillie jumped on a similar kind of sound-

Derek: Grant- No. He was a resident at Seven at that stage, they had a different music policy. It was me and Coursey, with internationals in and out every week. John Course was playing his signature vocal house at that stage. And even he's changed: he used to say to me, `you can't play this… this electro stuff!' Now he almost sticks to it!

The Heat
You currently balance production work with your outfit The Heat, weekly DJ sets and a full-time job. Do you foresee music taking a larger portion of your time in the near future-

Derek: How much am I allowed to say Frunch-

Frunch: (Laughs) Go for it. I reckon definitely, DK is heading down that line.

Derek: The Heat consists of my studio partner's Todd Boycott, Frunch and myself. We're more or less an artistic unit: apart from writing and producing our own original material, we produce other artists' track/ albums and work with a lot of local bands.

Frunch: We team up with people... We try and find anyone willing to bounce out a few chords or throw down some lyrics, anything like that.

Derek: I've also worked with people like Junior Sanchez, Steve Angello, and Felix Da Housecat. I like to keep in constant contact with Jacques Lu Cont, Granite and Phunk just to name a few. I could sit here and throw names at you, but I guess what we're getting at is we're not bound to a single particular sound.<
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