Home Interviews Interview: Kabi (AR)

Interview: Kabi (AR)

30 min read

Hailing from Argentina, Lucas Khabie aka Kabi (AR)'s dreamy, club-effective style caught the attention of the progressive community with stellar EPs courtesy of Soundteller Records and Balkan Connection, back in 2020. Enjoying a quick rise, the Buenos Aires resident went on to land key releases with Clubsonica Records, Freegrant Music and Plattenbank Records. Already a favourite of progressive music tastemakers Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren, Guy J and Guy Mantzur, Kabi now embarks on a much anticipated project with India's premiere progressive imprint, Praveen Achary's Juicebox Music. We had a chance to catch up with Kabi for an exclusive interview just prior to the release. Enjoy!

Hi Lucas, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hey there! How are you? First of all, let me thank you for the invitation to have this chat. I’ve been a Progressive Astronaut/Release Promo follower since I started on this electronic music journey so it’s a pleasure and honor to join you on this interview.

My current mood is kind of enthusiastic because at it’s own pace, social events, like live music performances and open air parties are slowly but surely coming back. The last piece of music that I’ve listened to actually was a live concert by Electronic band “ColoR” at a small venue with limited capacity here in Buenos Aires.

What are your plans for the coming week?

I’m planning to keep working on new music and as every week, selecting new quality music for my upcoming guest mixes and live performances. Also I’ll be promoting our next collaborative release alongside my friend, K Loveski on Juicebox Music which will be out by friday. Excited about this one!

Tell us a bit about yourself, how did you discover electronic music and what led you down the path of wanting to be a DJ and producer?

I’ve loved music since I was a kid. I’ve studied guitar and a variety of percussive instruments like congas, cajón, djembé, surdo among others. I’ve also been interested in a “live composition” technique that was created by Santiago Vazquez and ‘La Bomba de Tiempo’ with a particular sign system that allows you to lead a group of musicians as a director and improvise a musical (mainly rhythmic) piece in real time. On the other hand, I love dancing. And as I grew up, I started going to clubs and discovering the magic of electronic music. Got hooked listening to DJ’s such as John Digweed, Nick Warren, Hernán Cattaneo, Guy J, Guy Mantzur, Tale Of Us, Khen and more. At that time I really didn’t know what the DJ was doing exactly, but immediately fell in love with the way they were able to drive the dancefloor and crowd’s mood. So in 2018 I started to dive into the DJing world, and almost a year later I started producing, focusing on Progressive House sound and it’s variants.

Can you name five tracks that were important in your musical development and why they are so significant for you?

01. Guy J - Lost & Found
02. Khen - Carolina
03. Simon Vuarambon - Ethiopian
04. Hernan Cattaneo, Soundexile - Astron (DAVI remix)
05. Cid Inc. - Shifter

I selected the 5 tracks that shaped my musical taste when we talk about electronic music. Groovy and emotive vibes, danceable percussive elements and exceptional melodies make the perfect combination in each track.

Progressive music is well known for being hugely popular in Argentina, how did your country become the genre’s mecca over the last 10-15 years? What would you attribute that to?

Simple: Hernán Cattaneo. No more words.

What are your favourite venues to play in Argentina and why?

To be honest, I’m kind of a beginner if we talk about playing in big venues since I started my career not too much before the pandemic. There are a lot of spectacular places in my country where I dream to play one day. Mandarine Park, Crobar and The Bow in Buenos Aires; FORJA and La Fábrica in Córdoba; Metropolitano in Rosario, just to name a few.

Do you see a noticeable difference between the South American scene in contrast with the rest of the world?

I think every country in the world has its own peculiarities. We, as South Americans, are well known for our euphoric way to express ourselves. I really hope that one day, once everything comes to normal, I can travel to play live in other continents so I can experience how other cultures feel the music. What is amazing about music is that it transcends languages, religion and beliefs of every culture in the world.

Who are some up and coming Argentinian artists to look out for?

There are really a lot of great new talents here in Argentina. Just to name a few: Polo (AR), Nacho Quaglini, Rodrigo Lapena, Gonzalo Sacc, M.Rojas, Andrés Moris, Agustín Ficarra, Cocho, Julieta Kühnle.

Your bio states that “Creating electronic music makes me feel a little more free” – expand on that a bit for us, what is it about making music that brings these feelings for you?

It’s hard to explain with words, but I’ll try.

When I’m sitting in my studio, working on a new track, maybe improvising melodies while percussions are already grooving, there’s a moment when I get goosebumps. That’s when I know that idea that just came into my mind, is the one. And for me, that physical sensation, it’s just unique and there wouldn't be another way to feel the same without music. Moreover, I feel blessed to have the economic possibility and a family that has always supported me to do what I love. We live in a very unfair world system where billions of people are forced to work in jobs that I’m sure they wouldn’t choose if they had the chance. So I’m really really grateful to life for giving me the opportunity to work on what I love the most and I choose every day: music.

You have a new EP ‘Lost In Roses’ that you’ve worked with Russian artist K Loveski on, it’s out this week on Praveen Achary’s Juicebox Music imprint, tell us how you guys initially met and decided to work on a project together.

It’s crazy because we’ve never met in real life, but we became friends because we liked each other’s music and got in contact via Facebook. I remember Konstantin contacting me for the first time and wanting to listen to some of my tracks. It didn’t take long until we decided to collaborate in the creation of new music. We first produced ‘Lost In Roses’ and a few weeks later ‘Whisper From The Moon’.

The release is two tracks and they are decidedly different from each other, tell us about the tracks and how they came together for the release.

Actually both of them were created in a very organic way. Since we finished ‘Lost In Roses’ we thought we should produce a second one, to release both of them as an EP. Each of them was created by sending across the project more than one time, like a ping-pong. I focused on creating groovy drum loops and catchy melodies with a nice mixdown, and K did a great work on the arrangement and synths with his Virus TI, so you can say it was a super complementary team work.

This is your first release on Juicebox Music and likely your most high-profile release to date in fact, what made the label the right home for these tracks?

It definitely is. I’ve been following Juicebox releases for a long time and we thought Praveen and the crew might like our tracks. Fortunately, they liked them both and we could schedule it for release as an EP, just like we imagined. Let me say that their work is superb and we’ve been treated as kings since our very first contact. It’s fabulous to feel that the record label values your work.

What does your set-up look like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of these tracks?

Sincerely, my set-up is not as sophisticated as you can imagine. It’s only my Laptop with Ableton Live (I’ve recently acquired a new desk PC with better processor and more RAM memory), a MIDI Keyboard, Mackie CR5 studio monitors and Sennheiser Headphones. Of course I would love to have physical gear in the near future. I believe working with real drum machines and synths gives the production a more humane kind of feel. Nevertheless, there are many great VSTs (virtual instruments) that do the work in an amazing way.

Looking over your discography this release marks your first ever collaborations I think, tell us how that process was for you and the advantages of having someone else to work with.

Actually it is not my first collaboration hehe. I’ve also worked alongside Rodrigo Lapena & Gonzalo Sacc, Polo (AR), Nacho Quaglini and Agustín Ficarra. However, working with other people in the production process is really exciting (if you share in some point the same vision and taste). It’s good to share ideas and receive other’s and try to complement them. Also it’s a nice exercise because sometimes you have to give in and try to get the necessary consensus for the track to move in the right direction.

So you’ve just collaborated with K Loveski, who is an artist you’d like to work with but haven’t yet and why?

Tough one. There are a lot of artists that I admire and would love to work with. If you let me dream, a collaboration with Khen would be definitely a pleasure since he is one of my favourite producers in the genre.

Generally speaking, do you find it more difficult to come up with original tracks than remixing a track from another artist?

I wouldn’t say that any option is “more difficult” than the other. It’s just a different process, each one with its own pros and setbacks.

What’s a piece of gear or software that always gets used when you’re writing a track?

I love Hive 2 VST (from u-he) for riffs and groovy synth-lines. Also Arturia V Collection is a great pack of classic analog synth emulators. For creative FX I love Soundtoys’ plug-ins, and for the mixdown I use Fabfilter EQ and Compression quite a lot.

What has the last year and a half been like for you? Have you focused more time on making music? And has the pandemic affected your creative spirit in any way?

I’ve been through very different stages. Although I had moments where inspiration and ideas didn’t show up, I can tell you I’ve improved the sound quality of my productions A LOT, and have made what I believe are the best tracks of my short career.

What is the current situation with the pandemic in Argentina?

Nowadays, things are getting better thanks to vaccines and starting to come back to normal. But we will see how the situation evolves if the Delta strain comes in… let’s cross our fingers.

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 think following record labels is a nice way to find new music and artists that you might like. Also a good exercise is to exchange music with friends. If we talk about non-electronic music, I discovered a lot of amazing artists in the Tiny Desk series by NPR. I always try to be open-minded and listen to different styles, because each genre can contribute something to my taste and my own productions.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

My friends and family are the main source of happiness in my life apart from music :)

Current five favourite tracks?

1. Stereo Underground - Sabba
2. VICTHOR, DSF - Luna
3. swoof - Tidal (Tim Green Remix)
4. DNYO - Radiate
5. Mariner + Domingo - Skating on Ice

Not in any particular order.

What does the remainder of 2021 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I can tell you that I’ll be back on Guy Mantzur’s “PlattenBank” very soon. I’m also joining The Soundgarden family, the record label from the master Nick Warren. I’m so happy and grateful for these and more opportunities that I have to show my music to a wider reach of people.

'Lost in Roses' is available now via Juicebox Music: https://bit.ly/2TXat5j

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Release Promo
Load More In Interviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *