Four time Grammy-nominated musician, Kenny Dope kick-started his India tour in Delhi this week. A prolific artist, who has regaled the music lovers around the world with the pure energy of his musical prowess, Dope played some of his best-known hits in an energising performance. All of Bandstand at Hauz Khas reverberated with his signature sound of house, hip hop, Latin, jazz, funk and soul, reggae, alternative pop and broken beats, leaving the audience asking for more.
Dope, who has been a part of the music industry for more than 25 years, took the stage after supporting acts by Soulspace and Jitter had set the tone for the night with an hour-long set each. Taking over, Dope managed to mix things up nicely. He began with some latest beats— his signature old-school hip hop. He followed it up with house music ensuring the dance floor stayed packed throughout the evening. Guardian 20 caught up with Dope after his performance. Some excerpts:
Q. What’s your take on house music and how is the Red Bull Music Academy Club Tour helping the genre burgeon?
A. Red Bull Music Academy Club Tour as a platform has not only bridged the gap between different cultures but has also boosted creativity in the young generation’s minds. DJ-ing requires a lot of knowledge about the present state of music in the world. It’ll definitely help the culture of house music in order to elevate and strengthen the present house music genre.
Q. Nowadays we see so many new DJs making a name so early in their careers. How different is it from the time when you began?
A. Back in the days, when I started playing with beats and experimenting with my music, it was really hard to take out studio time for myself, it was way too expensive and we also needed a lot of things to snap in the right place. But now it’s totally different, you can get all your stuff in a laptop or a computer. All thanks to the tech world, easy access to internet and technology has almost lessened the hard work by 50%. Nowadays, DJs don’t really have to spend too much time in studios because everything is so accessible and clear. Electronic beats have taken up the present music scene. In my time we used to make beats on our own, I rarely see anyone doing that these days.
“I’m a ’60s kid, I love being rooted to my culture and my craft. Every day is a new day for me, I’m a studio junkie. I love experimenting with my music and genre.”
Q. You are the face of house music. How has the journey been for you? And do you feel a sense of accomplishment seeing yourself at the peak of success today?
A. I’m a ’60s kid. I love being rooted to my culture and my craft. Every day is a new day for me, I’m a studio junkie. I love experimenting with my music and genre, I learn every day. The day I say I’ve accomplished everything which I ever wanted, I won’t be able to work. I don’t believe in setting goals, doing that will kill my hunger to learn more.
Q. What goes in your mind when you see thousands of people waiting to shake a leg to your tracks?
A. See, I always feed off of the crowd. They are there to enjoy and have a fun time. The presence of the people who are there to enjoy gives me a positive vibe. I always roll according to that, and then putting my signature thing into it totally works.
Q. Would you like to work with any of the Indian artistes?
A. Of course! I would love to, but for that I have to study and absorb the culture, the taste of Indian audience. India has a strong and wide heritage of music sense; I always wanted to visit this country because of its rich culture.
Q. Any Indian musician with whom you would want to work with?
A. Well, I have a lot of respect for Ravi Shankar, the sitar player. I think he is one of the legendary artistes from India whom I have always looked up to.
Q. What inspires to create music?
A. There were times when I wasn’t inspired to create music because of the domination of the new direction of sound. However, learning to listen without prejudice has allowed me to continue to discover new styles, artists and musicians. It has kept my love for the music alive. I stay inspired and motivated not by doing what I like, but doing what I love.