Kevin Cunningham, AKA KC has been a force in the worldwide drum ‘n bass scene since the 90s. First unleashing mixtapes alongside local legends like DJ 3D and hard-hitting productions via Canvas, Bassdrive, and Rawkuts – turning to heavier release schedules on Dieselboy’s Human Imprint, Sudden Def, Big Riddim, and so many more. In addition to slaying the decks all over the United States, this was and is still the man to watch.
KC, You’ve been at it for a while in the drum & bass scene, signed to the likes of Symmetry, Human, Eatbrain, Mainframe, Nemesis and many others. How would you say that your sound has evolved over time? What is fueling you these days?
I tend to do things a little less heavy now. While I still go for a more aggressive vibe, I like to keep musical elements present. I like the contrast. I’m not sure that it’s coming from somewhere specifically. I’ve always seemed to like a moody or haunting sort of vibe.
You recently released Blast Off and We Can Roll on Patrol the Skies Music and, according to a PTS post, those guys were the heads behind the famed Rawkuts imprint of the 90s/2000s. How’s it feel to be back with one of your original crews?
Feels great. Al and Wally were really supportive of what I was doing from the very beginning. So it’s amazing to be connected with them again. Al works so hard at pushing the sound and what he’s doing with Patrol the Skies. I think the fact that we’re still doing this 20 years later is a good testament for the love of what we do.
How would you say your production differs now versus back when you were signed to Rawkus/Rawkuts?
Those were the early days so it was slow with lots of growing pains. We had less access to information on production tips and tricks, and guys weren’t as quick to come off their process. But through all of that trial and error you learned what worked and what didn’t. I was initially all sample based using Acid on a friends computer, then switched to Reason, then to Cubase, but now I’m strictly on Logic Pro X and mainly synth based. Also, beyond that, sonically much better. Drum & Bass mix-down standards are high. So it’s something that is a crucial part of the learning process.
We were chatting, and you mentioned how you’re “finally locked in”. What does that mean for you?
Through the years I never really felt I was where I wanted to be. I didn’t hate what I was doing by any means. But just didn’t feel like I was at the level I was looking for. Musically and sonically. So at times I became less visible than others. I didn’t stop making music, I was searching for that zone. I was being influenced by too much outside noise and second guessing what I was making all the time. Wondering if it fit in with what style I had to be making, or with what was coming out. After years and years of working, things finally just aligned and clicked. I’m making more now than I ever have.
To upcoming producers just starting off, what advice would you give?
Be productive. Spend more time laying out and finishing some arrangements than tweaking knobs. Overwhelming yourself with loads of tools can be counterproductive.
What upcoming releases can we look forward to?
I just released two singles. One for Patrol the Skies and one for ELM Imprint. I also have a track called ‘Live Again’ coming soon on a Playside 175 EP. Also, a single with Christina Tamayo for Audio Addict. I tend to stay pretty quiet about forthcoming material. I’ve had deals fall through after announcing them, so lesson learned. We can talk about it after it happens. That’s all I’m going to say for now.
What else is happening that you’d like to speak on?
Nothing really. Business as usual for me. Work, family, and Drum & Bass.
I would like to thank everyone for their support! It really means a lot to me. Beyond the music, I’m extremely grateful for the experiences and amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to meet!
Check out KC’s “We Can Roll” on Patrol The Skies Music in Podcast 224’s Bad Tunes of the Week –