Ahead of the monster April Edition of Prognosis we are lucky enough to get the chance to interview the talented producer and DJ, Brisbane’s own Verve, who will be making his highly anticipated Prognosis debut.
Thanks Kieran for taking the time for us to pick your brain.
No dramas, thanks for having me.
For those unfamiliar with your music (i.e. those living under a rock), can you describe your sound?
I’d say my Verve productions could be summed up as: emotive and melodic, groovy with a dash of techiness. I try to avoid repeating the exact same sound twice, as certain producers do thanks to their templates, so my tunes can be quite varied – in saying that I do often place emphasis on the melodic content of a tune, as I try to capture a snapshot of a particular feeling or emotion which may come through on the day of production.
The last few years have seen your tunes signed to some amazing labels and you play some big shows. Do you have any personal highlights you’d like to share?
I’ve been lucky enough to be signed to some of my favourite labels, of those I think having my tune ‘Fusion’ signed to Particles (sister label of Proton) was one of those ‘cross that off the list’ kinda moments, as I’d been sending them originals for some time with no success up until last year. Fusion sold well so they decided to pull together a remixed EP, which should be out soon, along with a remix from a long time hero of mine, Danny Bonnici. I recently signed a 2 track EP to DAR Digital, which will see the launch of my new techno moniker ‘KC Roma’ – couldn’t ask for a better way to launch this new project!
Gigs wise, spinning at clubs in London was pretty cool, though I have to say the gig which I had the most fun at was a bush doof in SEQ, where I got to crank out a handful of my own tunes, full pelt on an epic system.
You’re originally from Brisbane but have also spent time in Europe. What is the Brisbane scene like? Can you tell us about your travels and how this experience has contributed to your music and the development of your career?
I grew up in Brisvegas but have made the voyage over to Euroland twice in the past few years, first in 08/09 and more recently in 11/12, I returned back down under in Dec last year.
One of the reasons I jetted overseas was to get away from the stagnation of Brisbane’s scene – as most big cities there’s no shortage of DJs playing cheesy tunes, but in the last few years there’s been some amazing gigs go down in Brisbane, thanks to a few local promoters like Rich Curtis and the Auditree boys – these guys have been known to throw a mean boat party. Rob Babicz played at one. Sun setting with skyscrapers in the background is a memory that has stuck with me.
Whilst in Europe I lived between Sweden and London. I embraced the clubbing culture to the max on my first visit to London, and was pretty overwhelmed with the amount of choice you have, often we had to sacrifice one gig for another – some heartbreaking decisions were made. I got over to mainland Europe as much as possible, rocked a few road trips with my mates and experienced some amazing places. The most influential city for me, as a producer and lover of dance music was Berlin without a shadow of doubt! Before moving to Europe I had no particular affinity with techno or minimal, but Berlin has a way of getting deep inside your brain.
There’s way to many clubs/festivals/street-parties to list here, but all I can say to peeps out there is if you haven’t done Berlin and you’re a fiend for dance music like me, you should have been there yesterday.
You’ve had the chance to remix a whole swag of quality tunes and added your own special touch. If you had the chance to remix any tune from the past or present, which tune would it be?
Touch question! Tunes from the past that come to mind are the classics of the golden era, like Underworld – Born Slippy or Orbital – Chime. For present stuff, being given the chance to remix anything by Stephan Bodzin, King Unique or Guy J would make me happy in the pants.
Can you offer your opinion on the current state of the electronic music scene, both locally and abroad? Do you think that the scene is still strong or has the global commercialisation had a negative impact?
Locally it seems like the scene in Sydney is quite healthy, since I moved hear 2 months ago, there have been gigs catching my eye more or less every weekend. I feel spoilt for choice moving from Brisbane. Like all places there are people who want to be part of the scene for the wrong reasons, but that’s unavoidable. Like Dosem mentioned recently, despite the negative aspects of the booming EDM scene in the US there are positives coming out of it like the gateway effect, and as time passes people with decent taste will dig deeper to find music with more meaning and complexity. The underground is stronger than ever though, so I’m happy to stay here for a while and keep doing my thing.
Your productions are turning heads around Australia and across the globe with support from some of the biggest names in the business (Hernan, Jaytech, Above & Beyond to name a few). For the budding producers out there, can you offer any insight into how to get your tunes heard and recognised on a global scale in such a competitive industry?
Focus on your own sound and identity; this is key for success in such a saturated market. Buy a couple soft synths after doing some research and get right into them and their architecture, know them like the back of your hand, so you can pull the sounds that you want quickly rather than digging through thousands of presets. Once you get your head around the technical aspect of production, and you’re able to develop unique ideas – you’re already half way there, and people will start to notice you.
Make sure you research labels and their prior releases before sending demos to make sure your sound fits, this is a big must.
In the studio, are you a software guy, a hardware guy or a combination of the two? What couldn’t you live without in your studio?
Used to be a big hardware guy a few years ago when my mate and I had our studios joined together in one huge downstairs rumpus room, but relocating to Europe, and the limited space most people have to live in forced me to cut down and condense the studio. That being said I’m still a sucker for analog synths. Love the warmth and imperfections in sound.
Still have my Roland SH2 and MKS70, but software has largely been able to replace my hardware, as I’ve multi sampled most of my synths and made custom Kontakt banks from them. I’ll take this opportunity to plug my Sound Design outlet, where I’m releasing these banks for Kontakt and EXS24.
Can you tell us about your current project ‘FutureForm’ music? What else is in the pipeworks for you?
This is my first label project, kicked off recently with my partner in crime, Pete Helskanki. We have our first release scheduled for 10 April, featuring an original from Quivver, titled ‘The Fog’ and remixes from Cid Inc and DNYO. The 002 sees Kassey Voorn deliver a remixed EP of Quivver’s original. We have some big tunes coming through from some really talented producers, so you can expect one release per month from us, to ensure consistency, quality and longevity of the label.
The label is actually one facet of the wider FutureForm Collective, an overarching brand that will also encompass other outlets such as a sound design department and touring services later down the track. It’s a life-long project that will hopefully grow and evolve organically with the assistance of a multi-faceted team of passionate and talented minds.
What can the Prognosis faithful expect when you hit Melbourne next month? Are there any artists, labels or tunes that are rocking your world right now?
They should prepare themselves for some serious fun! I’ll be dropping plenty of bouncy, melodic, driving tunes. A stockpile of my own productions as well as stuff acquired whilst overseas is sure to be unleashed. At the moment, I’m really feeling tunes from Bodzin, Romboy, Max Cooper, Cid Inc, Andre Sobota, Ryan Davis, Dousk, Kobana and Maceo Plex to name a few.
To settle an age old quandary, who would win in a fight; a toasted cheese sandwich or a taco?
Cheese toasty fo sho! It’d melt all over, crush and suffocate its weak and helpless victim.
And finally, no Prognosis would be complete without a wee tipple and a healthy dose of shenanigans, what’s your drink of choice?
It ain’t a real party without some shenanigans right? I’ve been known to get stuck into a few Zubrowka and apple mixes (the most deliciously dangerous vodka I came across in Poland), and I can’t say no to an icy Deustch Weisbier.
Thanks again for your time and we look forward to your set at Prognosis.
Cheers! Really pumped for this one.
Interview by Simon Murphy