The beat scene knows a broad variety of names, producers and people who are pushing the game to the next level constantly. One of the names you should definitely be familiar with is Knxwledge. The beat maker has been crafting his beats for a couple of years now, floating under the surface of international attention for a while. His productions have a special feel to it when it comes to samples and the sounds he’s using. Soul is an immanent part of his music. British radio Djs by the likes of Benji B and Maryanne Hobbs have been playing his tracks on the radio. Last spring he dropped his first full-length album Klouds on the critically acclaimed All City label. Valentin Menedetter seized the opportunity to talk to him when he played a show in Vienna.
You’ve put out your first solo album on All City Dublin.
Knxwledge: Yeah this is an album, six years worth of music. Different beats different sounds, half Synths half samples. Original music, original chords. It came together really well, it has been doing really well. I’m excited to put out another one with the homies. Should be dope.
So you will be staying with All City for the next record as well?
Knxwledge: Yeah most definitely, those are the homies.
You were speaking about sampling and all that, how much does digging mean to you. Digging for records going into the record shop?
Knxwledge: To me it’s pretty crucial it’s like with every track. It comes with a certain amount of inspiration I need. If I wanna finish it. I’ll go diggin’ bring a bunch of records and if any of them move me I just try to work out something on the keys and if not I go back to the records and I usually turn them out. It’s like 6, 7 joints a day whether they are finished or not. It’s pretty cool process.
»A Track has to be to my standards, it can’t be just anything. It just has to hit right; I’m my own worst critic so I’d say that.«You are originally from Philadelphia?
Knxwledge: I’m from New Jersey actually, a lot of people don’t know that, but I’ve lived in Philly for probably the last six years. Worked out there and traveled, played shows out there. I went from there to LA, to New York. It’s not that far. It’s a good city it’s a nice vibe out there. Nice vinyl selection out there as well, so it’s been dope.
What is for you one of the main differences between the US scene and the European scene?
Knxwledge: In the States for my steez of production it’s mostly all west coast. There is not that many indie labels that put out beat stuff. So if you are not in LA or at least close to it it’s really hard. But you gotta try and get yourself out there. It’s definitely a lot more love, a lot more love comes from over here than I get from over there. That’s for sure.
If you get down in front of your Mac Book, you grab a bunch of records you pick up some samples – what does a usual day of yours look like?
Knxwledge: I wake up and I have to go to work, regretting that. Sometimes I even bring my computer to work with me. It doesn’t disturb anybody if I make music. I make music everyday, I wake up, and I do it as long as I can and as much as I can.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Obviously you are on a very influential label, All City is known for its LA series with a lot of big names on it like, P.U.D.G.E, Dibiase, Take, Tokimonsta, Exile, so many great producers. Do you get inspiration from these people as well?
Knxwledge: Yeah, definitely. One of my biggest inspirations at the moment is Mndsgn, he’s from Jersey as well but when I lived in Philly we met, because he lives like 15 minutes over the bridge. So we have done a lot of work and his music is incredible, where his mind is at – it opens up my mind. It’s lovely, of course J Dilla, Soul records I can’t get enough. Lovely sounds.
When you are producing something and you are working on a song, how do you know that the song is ready to be put out there, how do you decide if you still have to work on it or not?
Knxwledge: To me it’s a gut feeling – I have to be in love with it to even export it. It has to be to my standards, it can’t be just anything. It just has to hit right; I’m my own worst critic so I’d say that. I’m terrible at mixing but I try my hardest to have everything leveled out. It’s a crazy process.
The making of Klouds, was it a done project when All City approached you, did they actually approach you?
Knxwledge: He actually hit me up on MySpace, years ago. That lead into emails and then I basically sent them a huge batch of beats and we narrowed it down to something like 15, 13 joints. And it came together well; you know back in the day I didn’t sample as much. For my new album I will probably be using more samples, more Soul. Maybe some of my own stuff that I did.
Speaking of the future, what are you working on currently?
Knxwledge: I’m working on something, I don’t know if it’s going to be Klouds 2 but it’s going to be a continuation. Somehow probably have my homie Teebs do the art again. I’m actually working on something else, Chris aka Free the Robots; we are doing a split on All City too. I have an EP coming out with the guy from Circulations; he’s a great guy. His art and his label are influential as well. You know Blu from LA – he’s about to release his album on Warner Brothers. One track is by me.