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New Mix Series ▶ Future Frequency Mix 001 + Interview w/ Kush Arora — Shocklee Entertainment Universe ● The Future Frequency

New Mix Series ▶ Future Frequency Mix 001 + Interview w/ Kush Arora

As part of our new Future Frequency Exclusive Mix Series we present to you Kush Arora, a music producer and DJ who’s been sculpting sound in San Francisco and beyond for over a decade. He has branded his own signature imprint on bass driven music and recently UK Funky, Kuduro, African, and Tropical Dancehall sounds.

All shades of Dub, Garage, Dancehall and Indo-Caribbean influences merge into the unique genre known worldwide as Dread Bass. Intelligent yet driving, cultural and simultaneously resistant, the tunes walk the balance between the club and the studio, keeping motion in mind. Distinct from his West Coast contemporaries and always a music outsider, he offers a emotional, cultural, and tribal view of the musical landscape.

Recent production work with Elephant Man, Lady Chann, Jahdan, Top Billin’, Nickodemus, Balkan Beat Box, Mega Banton, and many more has him on a furious production schedule. From opening for The Bug, Thievery Corp, Flying Lotus, and many more, his DJ sets and live hybrid shows have helped spread the word throughout the world. These influences can be heard throughout his diverse, 10-record discography.

We wanted to know more about Kush’s musical background and inspirations so we asked him some questions.

Where did you grow up and how did you first start making music?
I grew up in the hills/burbs around Oakland and Berkeley in the East Bay of San Francisco. I first started making music by playing piano in preschool. That moved from piano to drums and by the time I was in junior high was playing with synthesizers and basic music programs. From then on it was pure experimentation with sounds, tapes, field recording, and drumming a variety of punk and noise projects, which slowly joint forces with my fiddling with the computer.

What’s your studio set up like? What are you favorite writing/production tools?
Studio is in two places: Two computers, one laptop, one tower, one at home, one at my studio space. Studio is a Mac quad core tower loaded with a newer UAD card, Cubase, Ableton, Logic, all the Native Instruments, Oxford, and every darn plug in I can get my hands on. Whisper room vocal booth, Rhode and variety of microphones and Focusrite preamp/comp. Lots of Punjabi instruments, percussion, shakers, a few controllers UC-33e and E-MU Xboard 25. Also have a Nord modular first generation, and a round of custom made instruments my studio mate has collected which resemble marimbas. Dynaudio BM5A monitors as well. Favorite tools are for sure Cubase paired with Native Instruments and whatever live instruments and field recordings I can do. I use Battery heavily as with Reaktor and all the Rob Papen synths- albino, sub boom bass.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Music is basically heaven and hell for me. It’s my good side and my bad side fighting for space on an audio canvas every day. Sometimes the vibes are fun, party, bashment, drawing influences from the wacky town known as San Francisco and my adventures here and beyond. Other times equally and more often than not it’s me trying to take in everything that I see, the struggle people have in their lives, the injustice in this world, the hopeless demise of this never ending industrial revolution that never ended once it started and just the influence the powers that be have over everybody’s lives, and the battle each and every one of us fights inside everyday, whatever it may be. I love to delve into the darkest and most primal places of my own mind and people around me and see if I can extract that essence and fire that keeps people going and somehow translate into sonics. The breaking point is very inspirational. It doesn’t always translate to sounding just like that either, it’s more about taking that energy and capturing it.

Musically I draw inspiration from lately a huge portion of the Angolan and African electronic movements, baile funk, UK funky and house, and as always, reggae music. The recent wave of industrial and ambient sounds have really rejuvinated my upbringing in those traditions.

What are 3 things in your DJ bag you can’t be without?
Well, given that I DJ on Ableton and such I would say I need my laptop, soundcard, and controller hahahahahaa. Let’s use that as ONE. Two other things – drum pad [Roland SPDS] or noise maker to hook in and do some live electronic percussion, and a slew of earplugs, Pepto Bismol, cigarettes, and small bottles of whiskey for a serious party weekend.

Any future projects we should lookout for?
Yes. Currently working on a project of 3 tracks with the fire starter Zuzuka Poderosa who is here in the states, a girl from Rio who is turning baile funk on it’s top. We already have a video that you can find on my homepage that got utilized somehow in a Mad Decent promo and found it’s way on to Diplo’s wall, of industrialish baile funk and tropical bass sounds. Video on my facebook of us live together a few weeks ago. Also, Gunshot Riddim featuring Mega Banton, MC Zulu, Juakali, Messenjah Selah. 140 pure bashment evil dancehall, released on my own label. Some mixes for the dancehall legend Cutty Ranx alongside a few other Bay Area producers including Smash N Grab. A remix for J boogie and MC Zulu on OM Records. A mix of “Cher Nuana” 12-inch vinyl featuring Ethiopian vocalist Issac Haile Selassie and Dubloner coming out on De’fchild Recordings. Real deep Kwaito Afro House split with a heavy bass vibe I haven’t heard yet. Also, a remix of Da Cruz, a brazilian singer from rio on Six Degrees Records – 2 step baile funk!!! Track called “Boom Boom Boom”. In 2012 look out for “Tribal War” to be released on Subinfinity Recordings out of Amsterdam. This is my first non vocal pure electronic tune that is the first tune of my new solo album. Expect industrial tribalism, funky vibes, and evil subs. This is developing into a live performance that should be pretty big game changer for me. Kush Arora solo record in early 2012 with a live tour as well.


Big thanks to Kush for kicking off our new series with this wicked exclusive mix – blast it!

Shocklee.com Presents Future Frequency Mix 001 Kush Arora by Shocklee.Com on Mixcloud

T/L:
01. Amazon Riddim with Jahdan Blakkamoore “International currency”
02. Gappy Ranks – Watch Out Fi Dem
03. Mr. Tickle – Grinding
04. Jumping Back Slash – Kwaai Sneakers
05. Yolanda Be Cool – Afronuts [EduK Remix]
06. Douster – King Of Africa
07. Los Raakas – Borracho
08. DJ Killer – Church Song feat. Chaka Chukwu
09. Kush Arora feat. Lady Chann – Wid Dem [Spanish Street Riddim]
10. Hxdb & Self Evident – Hoof Hearted
11. DJ Abza – Swsakunazeka [Deep Tribal Vocal Mix]
12. Rudimental feat. Mc Shantie – Deep In The Valley
13. Major Nots – Gassed
14. Gregor Salto and DJ Gregory – Vem Rebola feat. Dama Pancha and DJ Mankila
15. Chrome Optimism [Remixes] [Dubblestandart Meets David Lynch & Lee "Scratch" Perry]- Kush Arora Tropical Bass Mix
16. Greenmoney feat. Roses Gabor – Into You [French Fries Remix]
17. CDBL – Back
18. Crookers and Savage Skulls – Bust Em Up [French Fries Remix]
19. Ophex – Rainforest
20. Radioclit-Secousse [Riva Starr Remix]
21. Starfoxxx- Bazookah
22. Starfoxxx – Pegale
23. Canblaster – Clockworks [TekiLatex Para One Remix]
24. DJ PM – Oultimo Grito
25. Figura – Ze Bula
26. DJ Marfox – Radio Oxigenio AM
27. Buraka Som Sistema – Hangover [Zak Matic Remix]
28. Sully – Black Projects
29. Tessela – Slugger
30. Squarewave, Sukh Knight & Mr. K – Tribesman
31. Rat Poison Riddim – with Mega Banton “Repping and Steppin ” [forthcoming on KAP Records]
32. Sizzla- Rough and Tough
33. Delly Ranx – Say Weed
34. Kush Arora – Gunshot Riddim
35. MC Zulu – Vigilante Gun Court [forthcoming Gunshot Riddim Series]



You can pick up Kush Arora’s latest release Spanish Street Riddim over at itunes. Remixes are also circulating by: Dread Squad, Diamond Bass [Enchufada], Ill Eisha [Muti], Kozee [Palms Out], the Knightriderz [Muti], Peek [Blipswitch] and Bukka [Dubs Alive]. To keep up with Kush online – hit up his website, Facebook and SoundCloud.

photo: Kelly Koehler

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  1. [...] record in a recent interview Kush did with Hank Shocklee from The Bomb Squad/Public Enemy and newmix Kush threw together for [...]

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