Kevin Knapp hasn’t always been an international touring DJ. His journey started in Kentucky, USA where his vocal talents were nurtured early on in various locals choirs. From then on his main focus was being an accomplished vocalist. It was only in the mid-2000s — whilst living in San Francisco — where his love of house music and DJ’ing really took hold and spurred him on to strike out on his own and start making his own tracks. In 2013, he finally decided to make the pilgrimage to Berlin where he now calls the likes of Pan-Pot, Tiefschwarz, and Sacha Robotti neighbours.
The adopted Berliner today releases his latest heavy-hitting house salvo via Damian Lazarus’ Crosstown Rebels. Set across four tracks, Knapp’s influences shine throughout the EP, especially so on ‘Find Me’, which features Baby Luck aka Brittany Ballard’s first ever vocal. The track itself is a bubbly cut of soulful house that sees Ballard’s enticing vocals front-and-centre whilst Knapp creates a hook-laden groove out of her deconstructed vocals.
We put the Berlin-based DJ and producer in the introducing hot set to learn a bit more about his varied influences, what his new Berlin digs are like and, of course, what he’d save from his burning studio.
Can you please Introduce yourself.
I’m Kevin Knapp and that’s my artist name too. I’m hiding in plain sight.
Whereabouts are you today… ?
Germany, Berlin, in my somewhat quaint flat in what they refer to as the “Garten Haus” in the neighbourhood of Prenzluaer Berg.
And what’s the view like…?
It depends. From my balcony there is not much of one. However, outside this is arguably one of the busiest areas in East Berlin.
Gives us five words that best describe your new tracks…?
Bouncy, Present, Latent, Urgent, Shoulders
Who inspired you into a life of music… ?
My middle school choir teacher, Mrs. Le Leux. She was my first source of legit musical inspiration.
Do you ever regret it…?
Would not matter if I did, but I don’t. I don’t feel like I’m built for anything else and can’t see myself doing anything else at this point. It kinda chose me.
If you could change one thing about the music industry what would it be and why…?
Bad music is not the jam. Consequently, I would not be hurting if there was less of it.
Who is your favourite artist…?
All the likely heroes which probably prove less interesting than expressing the fact that I’m a Sam Flores fan. He’s dope.
What was the first record you bought…?
Quiet Riot – Mental Health. Was a tape actually and this was the biggest single off the record I believe.
When I got my first set of 1200’s though back in 2001, I think this is the first house record I bought. It’s a local SF label and the owners are still good friends to this day.
What was the last record you bought…?
Mandingo – Universe II (Larry Heard Remix)
What track do you wish you’d written…?
Ame – Rej
What track makes you happiest…?
George Benson – Give Me The Night
What track makes you saddest…?
William Fitzsimmons – They’ll Never Take the Good Years
What’s your favourite club…?
I’ll keep it local for this one. At the moment, KaterBlau, Berlin.
What’s your favourite after party record…?
Mike Dunn presents Mr. 69 – Phreaky MF (Mike Dunn’s ‘Original Phreak’ Mixx)
What track has had the most influence on you…?
Impossible here to choose just one but this was definitely an important one. Adultnapper – You just arrive
Which of your own tracks are you most proud of…?
Kevin Knapp – Heft
What’s your current favourite record…?
Today? Justin Martin – The Feels (Walker & Royce Remix)
If your studio was one fire and you go back in to save one thing, what would it be and why…?
Easy one, all my external drives! Can’t say it’s much of a studio as I work in the box and mostly in my headphones but it works for me. I don’t need much other than an idea ;)