I'm not sure how many of you other DnB heads fell in love with this sound, but one of my favorite producers is DJ Krust. I knew him primarily from the Reprazent clique (Roni Size, DJ Die, DJ Suv, and Krust) and their critically acclaimed New Forms 2xCD. I purchased that and the stellar V Classic, vol. 1 disc, and got to delve into one of Krust's best tracks, "Blaze Dis One". It wasn't overly dramatic, just straight ahead sly drums and FAT bass, but the groove was laid out so well. Dipping from that, I fell into a deeper zone with Krust, from the awesome "Warhead" to "Angles" to "Maintain" and "Bad Intentions". The man can flip it from a very deep, brooding tone to a tune aimed directly at your feet. He created Coded Language, which seemed to be a culmination of his chilled, soulful side. After that, he delved into a more straightforward style, to much praise and scorn, but he has seemed to dig deep inside himself and come up with a hybrid sound: soul and funk. Minimal bombast. He also has a deep intellectual mind, which he let me pick away at earlier this month...
khal: First and foremost, your latest album, Hidden Knowledge, is some very great work, and is being well received by heads all over. What mind state or zone were you in while producing this long player?
DJ Krust: I think what I wanted to do was go back to point in my music when I was my most creative and use that as my starting point; it was a time in the music when everybody was known for there own style. Being different was what the seen was all about. Before starting any project I build the concept in my mind I see what its gonna look like how the sounds are gonna work. I try to see the colour of the music first then I start to build. I don’t think about it, I feel it: if it feels right then it's right, if it feels difficult then I know I am on the right track. I am not trying to be different just for the sake of it. It's just sometimes you have to take it there to find new ground.
khal: I assume that you are aware that many of your fans from your “True Stores”/”Soul In Motion” days seemed to be either taken aback or downright frustrated when you delved into tracks like “Kloakin’ Device” or “Follow Da Vision”, places that can be seen as a bit lighter than your deeper output. Do you have any feelings as to those listeners who seemed to wish you stayed in that “deep” stage as opposed to branching out? Do you feel as though your varying styles of DnB as detached as others feel they are?
DJ Krust: No one wears the same pair of trainers all the time; we like different things at different times. That’s what it's like making music, I don’t feel it all the time. Sometimes it's about having fun, the party. I think it’s important to do what you feel. I enjoy making the music that I do for me, that’s the main thing.
khal: Times have changed in the DnB game, from the early 90s to 2006 and beyond. You’ve pretty much been involved since the scene’s inception; how do you feel about the many changes that have come about, from production to the raves to the ravers themselves, as well as the impact the Internet seems to have had on the worldwide scene, as well as producers getting noticed and signed, in some cases?
DJ Krust: The world is changing fast its important that we change with we must have an active roles in this change. The technology is moving fast (some good, some bad); we should not get confused as to its use. I think that’s one of the problems of today: people try and use technology to replace the hard work that you have to do to become what you want. Technology is a part of what we're about, not a replacement. As far as the new rave, that’s the way it is; new people, new ways of doing things. The Internet is here to help. We just haven’t figured out how to use it properly and get the most out of it. People want music and they're gonna get it anyway they can. We have to work out the best way to get it to the people in the best way and still make a living. What’s happening now is, we're not control the distribution of our music on the web so we have a problem.
khal: I’ve read in the past where you spoke on your visions, mainly dealing with Reprazent, in terms of your sound; how many thought your sound was a bit jazzier, but you guys were edging towards a more of a Funk vibe. Hearing tracks like “Initiation”, I can definitely hear the Funk still. Do you still aim for a specific vibe running throughout your albums, or do you just go with the flow?
DJ Krust: My background is Funk, Pop, two-tone, Rock, Hip-Hop, Reggae... then I got in to breakbeat technology. So these are the aspects in my music all the time, in one way or another. Sometimes it's not that straightforward. We deal with the vibe and the energy of the music. It’s the feeling. I start with what I am and who I am and the rest comes from there
khal: I saw yourself and the Reprazent camp play live in Central Park NYC back in 2000 I believe. The place was rammed, and it was great to see such a solid confirmation of your talent and the talent of your crew. I always wondered 2 things: a) do you ever plan on doing live PA’s, and b) what was that piece of equipment you were using, the thing that you were waving your hand above, making all those hot sounds?
DJ Krust: I am working on a live show right now, we've got some shows later on in the year. And the box of lights that was an experimental device. You put your hand over the light and it sends MIDI. You can control LFO, S-filters, anything MIDI.You can find it on some of the new Roland keyboards.
khal: In packaging this album as a 2xCD, did you initially decide to throw some of your classics on the second disc? How did you choose those tracks?
DJ Krust: We just went through the tracks that we liked and would give people who don’t know me a look at what I was about.
khal: From listening to a number of the themes brought up on this album, as well as reading your blogs on MySpace, you seem to be a very philosophical cat. Do you study a lot of what you are speaking on, or is this just what comes into your head from time to time?
DJ Krust: I have been studying the books for a minute now, talking to people and travelling the world, seeing different cultures; that will give you a different world view. I think we're on a new road right now where the rules change as much as we do. We are only just finding out how the mind really works, so its all new ground. We have the greatest tool in the known human universe, it's called the mind. It's an untapped resource with immeasurable power. We are jus learning how to use it properly. Once we understand it and how to use it and our connection to all things, we will know more about what we are and who we are. On the album, the titles of all the tracks are search keys: type the names in Google or Yahoo and see what comes up. I think we need all the information then we can use our own minds to decide what the truth is.
khal: For the first time ever I got to see your awesome video for “Coded Language”, with you and Saul Williams bugging out around exploding TVs and bugging out. How did the two of you hook up to create this epic track?
DJ Krust: We meet through Giles Peterson and Paul Martin. They used to run Talkin' Loud, the label I was signed to. I had the track and was looking for something special, and the guys were like "there’s this cat, you should meet him". So we link up and from the get go I knew something was gonna happen; the guy has got mad flava, his whole outlook is from over there. So it fit in with what I was about.
khal: You’ve produced a string of classics over the years. How does it feel to have your place in the DnB scene solidified for years to come? Do you feel as if you need to top your last hit?
DJ Krust: It feels good to know that I help build some thing that has travelled round the world and become what it is today I still feel as though there is a lot more to do the music is only part of it. Now we have to work on the business and get that straight .as far as making another hit. I try and use what I’ve learned from the last track to better the next one. If it’s a big one then bless all good but first and foremost it’s about adding on in a positive way
khal: What’s going on with the Full Cycle camp these days? I know you guys have been pushing Clipz hard… is his sound the future of the label? What’s on the horizon from the FC label?
DJ Krust: Clipz has been working hard on breaking his style of music and he’s made a good name for himself. He’s very focused and knows what he wants. The label is about music, experimental music. We have made a lot of music and continue to do so. We're building another aspect of the label, FC TV, which is documentaries ,videos, web-based programs; V-Cycle, which is our online shop where people can become a member and get up front promos and limited edition clothes. So were expanding what we do as a label now and into the future
khal: Last year, the latest DnB hitmaker, TC, remixed a couple of your hits for V. Did you have to approve these mixes? How did you feel about the sound and style he brought to two of your most well known tracks?
DJ Krust: Remixing is tricky one; it's very hit and miss. Add in classic tracks and it gets deep. I think the mixes were good and they worked on the street. As far as me approving them, I’ll have some input, but bottom line if it works, then it works. Simply.
khal: OK so your album has been out for a bit now… what’s next for you as an artist? Do you have any DJ gigs lined up? Where can your fans see you? Any 12”s or EPs coming soon from you?
DJ Krust: The album is out, all bless. For me right it’s about putting a live show together and getting that tight. Getting the Remix of the album tracks done. I am also doing a photo exhibition very soon. I did one in Bristol in April that was good, gonna do some more in London, apart from that its back to lab to make the next project
khal: To round things out, what do you see your place in the history of DnB music when you are gone? Do you have any aspirations that you have not met as of yet?
DJ Krust: This music can do anything, go anywhere. Right now, for me, it's about pushing this thing as far as it can go, even changing the format 'til it becomes a new one. That's how this music started and that’s how it will end. There will always be more challenges. Life is about that. If you don’t push your self you don’t grow. We must go forward with strong ideas and good values; the future is what we make. We must take responsibility for our actions and use our hearts and minds. Bless.
We would like to thank Krust for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about his art and thoughts. If you want any further info on this artist, peep the following links: DJ Krust on MySpace.Full Cycle. DJ Krust discography. DOA Review of Hidden Knowledge written by khal.