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Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Kraddy

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with KraddyBoy do I love dance music. But this… this is not dance music. This is rock. This is hip-hop. This is metal. This is just about everything BUT dance music. He does throw some dance-floor beats in there, but I am not sure I would classify him as EDM. (EDM stands for electronic dance music in case you were wondering!) Heck, after talking with this guy, he doesn’t even listen to that much dance music. He is more than that. He uses the word “epic” to describe his work, and well… he’s right. The sounds are unique, and the beats are unmistakable. He is slowly making his way from a DJ that spins records to a more heavy, full stage performance. He is even going to start adding lights to the mix, and a live drummer to spice things up a bit. Not to mention, he is also one of the founding members of The Glitch Mob, another act that is hard to describe. I put the tunes down for a moment and took some time to sit down with the one, the only… Kraddy.

So your name… it’s not the most common DJ name I have ever heard. Tell me more about the name Kraddy.

It’s been my nickname for years. A close friend gave it to me before I was making music. It’s just an old nickname.

Your name is actually designed. You also have some pretty impressive album covers. Who does all of your graphic design work?

I have had different designers do the work actually. I have had a few different people. I am always looking for new designers. I like to have access to those creative people. There are a ton of people out there, but I need someone who can share my vision well.

How long have you been performing?

I have been performing for thirteen, maybe fourteen years.

What’s a typical Friday night look like for you?

Totally depends on if I am performing or not. If I am performing, I fly in and sort things out at the hotel. I then head to the venue and do a sound check, have dinner, and hang out at the club or the hotel. Then play.

I am having a hard time comparing you to anyone else out there. I guess Pretty Lights would be my best guess. How do you describe your music to other people?

I call it bass music. If people are in the know, it’s a fusion of dubstep, rock, and hip-hop. There is even some dance hall in there as well.

Where do you get inspiration for a new track?

Anywhere. I find little bits in songs and the sounds I hear. I record stuff off my phone all the time. Usually I just open the computer and start messing with stuff and see what happens.

You are on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter… how do you find time to control all of these social networks?

There is plenty of down time when I am traveling. I do it when I have a moment. There is a lot of waiting. I am always waiting for “this to get fixed”, or for “that to get done”.

What’s the best concert you have ever been to?

I would say when I once saw The Roots play on the Okayplayer Tour. They had Guru and Talib Kweli… a bunch of other acts. The Roots played everyone else’s music live. MCs and singers sang over their instruments. It was just epic. Then The Roots would do a song, and then let the next act do a song. They can just play anything. They played all this stuff live; it was really amazing to hear.

Since I play golf, PGA stands for the Professional Golfers’ Association. But for you, it’s something different. Tell me a little bit more about the Progressive Global Agency.

They manage my booking.

I love your rap remixes. I bet those get a fun and energetic response when you perform live shows.

Yeah, definitely. People love the remixes.

What would you be doing if you were not performing?

I have no idea. I have been doing this for a long time. I just don’t know.

You were one of the original members of The Glitch Mob. What made you decide to branch out and do this on your own?

It was just time to do my own thing. It felt like the right time. I had a vision that I wanted to follow.

I actually interviewed those guys here on rickyleepotts.com. I even had the chance to see them perform at Electric Zoo last fall. Are you still friends with those three?

Not really.

Where are you originally from?

Upstate New York. I love New York.

Tell me a little bit more about The Labyrinth EP.

It’s my first step in this new direction I am working on. The theme and the title are based on a Greek myth about a guy that goes into this maze (the maze is actually on the album cover) to kill this monster. The monster is actually in the center of the maze, and then the man has to escape.

It’s a story about journeying to the center of your mind and facing your fears. It was sort of mirroring what I was going through as far a breaking out on my own and making Kraddy, the Kraddy brand, into something bigger. There was a lot of apprehension to that. I used that myth as the basis; I wanted it to be heavy and epic. I wanted it to feel as if there was a combination of impending doom and a possible successful glory of the hero type of thing.

That was the idea when I was writing it. I had certain themes in mind as I was writing it.

You play all over the world. Is it possible for you to choose a favorite venue?

I don’t know. It’s hard to say. Different shows… are different. Red Rocks was insane. It was nuts. It’s just beautiful. It just feels like an amazing spot on the planet… more than a music venue. Red Rocks is up there for sure.

I love playing in LA. I have so many friends and family out there. I love playing the Belly Up in Aspen. It’s a beautiful venue there… everyone has played there. There are tons of stories there too. It’s a really cool spot.

What’s the biggest crowd you have ever played for?

I don’t know how many were at Red Rocks, but years ago I played in England. It was maybe 2,000 people. I have played in front of that many a bunch of times at this point. Even playing at Coachella, I played for that many. 2,000… maybe a few more. I played on the Do LaB stage. They have stage every year, and I usually play for them.

The smallest?

(Laugh) Myself.

Your sound is just so unique. What can someone expect from a live performance?

Everyone has a different vibe. I try to make stuff that’s fun and very danceable. I like melodic, rising melodies. I like epicness. That’s been a big word as far as picking songs these days. It has a hip-hop vibe, a rock vibe… lots of low end. I always like to throw the dance hall in. People appreciate that.

Where did the name Android Porn come from?

That just came up. A friend of mine just came up with that when he tried to describe the song. He nailed it; it was an awesome name.

So let’s say you are about to go on stage. Do you have any rituals or routines that you go through before you perform?

I try to think about all of the people out there, and the excitement of the crowd. I try to get myself amped up. I like my shows to be a celebration, to let go and to have a good time. I like to let the music move. I try to let the music move you.

Who are some of your favorite DJs?

I don’t listen to a lot of electronic music. Really most of what I put on is metal, hip-hop, independent rock; stuff like that. I do like Alex B, or Flylo, a ton of J Dilla recently. I have been into Mount Kimbie, which is kind of cool. I don’t really get into electronic music. DJs, growing up, when I was more spinning records, I loved the Scratch Pickles, and the X-Men, and DJ Shadow and guys like that. All of the DJ heroes of the 90’s were big inspirations for sure.

It looks like you have a pretty impressive light show to complement your work. Do you plan that too, or does it just sort of flow with the music?

We did a big light show at Denver, and then at a show in Boulder. That is going to be something I work into all of the shows in the future.

I am working on a live show that is fit with light that is tied to the music. I am moving away from a DJ feel with my tracks. I want to play live music and not be just spinning other people’s tracks. I am bringing in the live drummer, and I will be playing keys and samples. The light show will be tied in with the set.

I have never heard of Alpha Pup/Minotaur, Refiner, Muti. Tell me more about your relationship with those guys. Is that just one label, or multiple labels?

They are all different. Minotaur is my digital imprint, more like a baby label, under Alpha Pup. They are a classic underground label out in LA. They have been out there for years. It’s run by a guy named Daddy Kev, a visionary as far as music goes. He has been pushing the beat scene for years. I am proud to be affiliated with those guys.

Refiner is the label I had when I started. I started my own label to begin pushing my own music out. Muti was the first label I started working with when I lived in San Francisco.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Right now, the way I see it, I want to step up the live show. I want a full light rig, a live show with dancers, visuals, video… the whole deal. I want to have a band… you would be going to see a band when you see me live. I will have a drummer, and maybe another person who will play. I want the whole show to be a story, in a sense. I want dancers, but not just dancers… almost like a figure “coming out” and people in interesting costumes. Stuff like that.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

Stepping up the game, and taking things to the next level. I want to open people’s minds to what’s possible. I just want to start forging a new road. I want to be trailblazing a new road. My heroes are guys like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Radiohead… those are the people I look to. When I look at their legacy I look at that. I look at people who were pioneers, those who changed the face of music.

They flipped the game, and after that you can’t talk about rock and not reference Hendrix. He is built into the guitar. No one has touched it the way he has since. Just like how you can’t be in a funk band and not reference James Brown. It’s part of the textbook; it’s the first… and the last chapter.

I want to be one of those people who are remembered for taking things to the next level. If you are going to be doing heavy bass music, you better one up on Kraddy… that’s what I am trying to do.

I always let the artist get the last word. Go.

I am just flattered by all the people that have come out to the shows on this tour. So many people I have talked to are inspired by the music, either old fans or new, so much love to all those people. I have realized that at the end of the day, people and generosity run a tour, not money. It’s the people with the time, the energy, and the blood, sweat, and tears that really want that music in their town.

There have been so many people who have been so generous. They have gone above and beyond what their job was because they wanted to make the situation more comfortable. They wanted more people to be there… they go out of their way. They didn’t do it because they were getting paid, but it was because it was their passion and they wanted to do it.

To all the people who buy the tickets… that’s one thing, but the love and the people set it apart. I love talking to people after the show. I love taking pictures and signing autographs. Whatever people want to do, I love connecting with those people. That’s what’s at the heart of it all.

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