- Mon, 2010-08-16 12:51
It's not what you know, it's who you know, a phrase that when uttered within the realm of the music industry often takes artistic creation for granted. For every thousand talented musicians out there, slaving away around the clock in their bedrooms trying to get noticed, there is also a musician whose uncle owns Universal Records, or whose father is Billy Ray Cyrus...or something like that...
When it comes to UK producer Kwes, there's a strong element of who you know about to arise, but in a completely different sense. His father wasn't Michael Jackson and he didn't appear through suspiciously well organised circumstances, instead, he's made such an impact upon his fellow musicians, that we just kept on hearing his name and being pointed in his direction.
We were first introduced to his music way back when we interviewed Micachu and The Shapes at the start of 2009. We asked Mica if there would be a follow up to her amazing Filthy Friends Mixtape, and she said this;
Mica: Yeah, there should be. It's just down to organisation! I'm doing the next one with Kwes. He's a great producer!
And her drummer Marc tempted us even further with this;
Marc: I've been listening to Kwes' mix tapes a lot recently, he bases them all on teas. So there is Earl Grey and Lapsang Souchong. It's an interesting mix, it goes from soulful hiphop to in your face rock. I can't describe it really. But they do actually all sort of sound like the teas he has named them after.
So we went and bought some tea, turned up our speakers and went here www.kwes.info/ to find out more.
Then we interviewed the Mercury Prize nominated, London trio The Invisible, just after Kwes had remixed their track Passion. And lead singer Dave had this to say;
Dave: Kwes has done some fantastic things and we hold him in really high regard. He is an incredibly creative individual.
Turns out Marc, Mica and Dave were right. And we happily followed the progress of Kwes, which included the video below...
Fast forward a few months, and I Like Music interviews the legendary Leftfield. We found out whilst talking to Neil Barnes (one half of Leftfield...) that he has re-learnt all of Leftfield's material for their new live show, in order to reference the old tracks and push the show forward, making sure it was more than just a nostalgia trip. And how exactly did he make that happen? By getting new musicians on board of course. And who exactly did he chose to get on board? Er...yes, you guessed it. Kwes:
Neil: I didn't want to just remix it and come back with a whole load of new music that didn't sound like Leftfield. I had to try and get a group of people together who I felt could play the music and add something new to it at the same time. I started to learn to play everything again myself, and learn how it was put together. So the first part of the process was about two months in my studio getting back in touch with all the tracks. At the same time as doing that I'd found two people I knew I wanted to be involved with it, including a guy called Kwes, who is a new up and coming producer…
ILM: Ah, we know Kwes...
Neil: Yeah, he's got a really new take on electronic music. He doesn't come from the DJ side completely; he's into noise music as well as electronic music. And he's a fan of Leftfield. I met him through the band my daughter's in. It's bizarre really!
Bizarre indeed. Well, sort of. Unless you're a very talented individual, doing your own thing and getting it completely right: www.kwes.info