Home Interviews Feature: Kamadev [Interview]

Feature: Kamadev [Interview]

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The Miami native music producer, crafts melodic tracks under the name, KAMADEV, deriving his moniker from the Hindu deity of love and lust, he is known for creating texturally vibrant electronic music that is filled with visceral melodies. With each release, he shares, forward-thinking music that defies the quick-shifting trends of the music industry. KAMADEV has developed a style that delicately walks the line between deep introspection and pure club play. Now on the cusp of a new EP for Manual Music we catch up with the US artist in this exclusive interview. Enjoy!

Hi Alex, thanks for sitting with us today! Tell us where in the world you are today and what your plans for the week are.

Thanks, Mitch, for having me. I’m currently in Miami, FL, and presently in social isolation due to Covid 19. Since the entertainment industry is now on hold, I’m using the free time to work on new material.

Tell us more about your story. How did you discover electronic music and what led you down the path of wanting to be a producer and Dj?

Back in 1997, I started getting into electronic music. There was something beautiful about repetitive patterns and how the music would progress in the arrangements. I was drawn to the local radio stations because they would have time slots featuring all sorts of electronic music. Whatever was playing on the radio during those times. I would hit record on my boombox. So around 1999, there was a local venue called ‘The Mixx Afterhours’, they put out a CD mixed by David Padilla. This CD was the soundtrack of that summer. I was able to experience The Mixx a few times, and hear David live. Watching him control the dancefloor and program the music inspired me to want to DJ. It wasn’t until 2000-2001 that I got my hands on my first mixer and turntables, and from that moment on, I haven’t stopped DJ’ing.

Tell us about your record/music collection, what were some of your early influences? How has growing up in and living in the USA or perhaps more specifically, Miami shaped your sound and career?

Growing up in Miami during the 80s and 90s, we heard a lot of 70s disco, 80s electro and nuwave, 90s freestyle and house music. I was listening to artists like: Afrika Bambaata, France Jolie, Information Society, Human League, Jomada, Inner City, 2 Live Crew, and the list goes on. My collection of music is composed of classics from different eras and genres. I thank all the artists from those times for being my influences.

Can you name five tracks that were influential in your musical development?

Tapps – My Forbidden Lover

The Beat Club – Security

Gouryella – Gouryella

Beanfield feat Bajka – Tides (Ripperton Mix)

Odd Parents – Fame (Catz n’ Dogz & Martin Dawson Sweet Saturday Mix)

I think for a lot of artists, music allows you to write a sketch of your own personal universe in a way; your travels, life experiences etc. Is this something which is true for yourself? Where does inspiration come from?

Yes, all of my music tells a story from moments in my life. My experiences translate into music and are my way of connecting with the listener. Most of my records that feature vocals share similarities. I’d recommend readers to listen to Break Through, Allegory, and Beloved. You’ll hear a common theme in these tracks, but I’ll leave it up to the listener to interpret.

You have a new EP entitled ‘Beloved’ out this week on Manual Music, tell a bit about the release and walk us through the production process on one of the tracks, whichever one you like.

The Beloved EP is named after the ‘Beloved’ track. This track is something I started years ago and evolved over time. Initially, I found a sample of this dreamy music box and converted the audio to midi. From there, it grew. Most of my productions begin by building up a groove, then adding elements to add emotion/tension to the storytelling, or they start as a sample and evolves around it. After I feel that the theme is good, I’ll start experimenting and look for vocals. For Beloved, the vocals are what completed this track.

Why did Manual Music feel like the right home for these tracks?

Manual Music is a label that pushes all types of forward-thinking electronic music. They are about music that evokes a feeling. You can hear that in the artists they feature. Ok, so true story – back in early 2019, I was working on a lot of music and said to myself, I would love to release on Manual Music. So I sent a few demos to the label and got a reply back. They liked the tracks and signed them. The tracks were Break Through and Allegory. From that point on, I would send Paul a ton of music. Paul is a fantastic guy, and he gets first dibs on a majority of my music. He opened the doors for me, and from where I come from, loyalty goes a long way. He has helped me develop as an artist and gives me honest feedback on my music.

Is there a side of yourself which you wish to explore more in your upcoming projects?

Yes, and that’s a deeper side of my sound. As music trends change, I’m caught in this middle ground that I’m trying to avoid: either being too underground for some or too commercial sounding for others. I’m learning to become confident in my sound and accepting that not everyone is going to like your music. This ideology helps me come up with new concepts when producing during these months.

What’s a piece of gear that gets used on every track? And what are some of your favourite studio tools?

So my two essentials that used all the time are Slate Digital and Soundtoys plugins. I process a lot of audio out of those plugins. I have a couple of hardware synths in my collection, and they get used, but the real MVPs are the analog modeling plugins that push the sound to another level.

When working on music is the dance floor always something that’s taken into consideration? Or does a certain vibe or flow sometimes transcend that?

I think of the dancefloor first then think of listeners. I want listeners to dance to my music, but then say, wow, this track is beautiful. I try to make my tracks DJ friendly and dancefloor-ready. As producers, we want DJs to play our track to the masses, but also with the changes in the industry, it’s easier for people to find music that fits a mood/vibe. I take these things into consideration when producing and arranging a track.

The industry and how fans discover new music has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so. How do you discover new music nowadays?

I discover music via promo pools and by the charts. If a label catches my attention, I’ll scan through their catalog and see what I like. The same thing goes for artists I like, I’ll scan through their discography and see what stands out.

There are a lot of factors that affect the perception of an artist other than his music these days, social media for one, how much emphasis do you put on stuff like this? And what are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?

I’ve been a part of the music industry for 18 yrs. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Social media has a significant influence on bookings and how artists become relevant regardless of talent. This is why I let the music do it’s talking. In today’s market, a majority of artists have to be their own agent, manager, graphic artist, photographer, AV person, tour manager, audio engineer, etc… This requires a tremendous amount of effort, money, and time. I am fortunate to be able to dedicate time to produce, but the remaining time is used working and DJ’ing gigs. This leaves some of the social media lacking in some aspects. This is an area that needs improvement. Can anyone recommend a good PR team? lol

Is there a movie you would have loved to have produced the soundtrack for? And if so, why?

Never thought of that, to be honest. Hard question, pass on this one.

Current five favorite tracks?

Ioakim – Bring Me to Life

Qbical – Sunrise [Manual Music]

Ed Ed – Crescent Moon [Poesie Muzik]

Tom Peters – Novum [Studio Kreuzberg]

Modeplex – Fire [Steyoyoke]

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

My kids and traveling the world.

What does the rest of 2020 hold for KAMADEV? Anything you can tell us about?

2020 is full of music releases. I can’t go too deep into the details, but I have several releases set and working on new material for Q4 2020 and Q1 2021. I will be attending ADE 2020 if all goes as planned, and looking forward to playing some events during that trip.

‘Beloved’ is out now on Manual Music, you can purchase the release here: https://bit.ly/2QSjNTv

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