Sunday 1 November 2009


Continuing with my series of dj interviews
I remain in the Windy City and am honoured to catch up
with Kenny Carvajal.A dj / producer/mixer whose output
always has class written all over it.I personally have featured most of Kenny's work in my sets over the last 8 years.

When were you born ?
I was born in December, 1976 and grew up in Chicago.
What got you into listening to this music?
My mom played a lot of music around the house when I was growing up. But my brother got me into playing instruments when I was around 9 years old, such as drums, guitar, bass, etc. We had bands back then and I looked up to him as a musician.
What were your musical influences as you developed your own style?I'm a huge fan of MAW, Frankie Feliciano, Blaze, Ron Trent, Matthias Heilbronn
Did you accumulate a huge vinyl collection and what styles did you collect ?
I did. I had a couple residencies in Chicago where I would blow my money on vinyl. I'd shop probably 3 or 4 times per week, spending anywhere from $100 to $400 per visit. I'd buy records I didn't need to get. It got to a point where I'd go home and realize I had already purchased the records previously.
Growing up in Chicago can you describe the club scene back then and talk about the different nights ?
Well, I didn't grow up in the warehouse disco days. However, I believe I experienced one of the best times in Chicago when the soulful, deep house stuff was really getting played. Madbar was the spot back then where they would have the big names coming weekly, sometimes twice a week. It’s not a
huge venue so it would always be packed from wall to wall. It was a 2 AM venue, so we’d head to Red Dog after, or One Way which were both 4 AM spots. It was a really fun time.
Who are your favourite producers,arrangers ?
My favorite producers have been my favorite for years. Louie Vega, Frankie Feliciano, Spinna is damn amazing, my boy Abicah Soul, Fanatix.
Which dj's and artists do you admire ?
DJs, early Miles Meada mix tapes were dope where the blends were perfect and flawless. The songs went so well together that you wouldn’t know where the song ended and the next began. It takes time to put together a set like that and a very very good ear.

As for artists: My friend John Redmond, Kenny Bobien, Kim English, Stephanie Cooke, Carla Prather, Michael Watford
How did you get involved with Phuture Soul,Carl, Mark etc
I was shopping “My Words” to a good number of labels and couldn’t get anyone to bite. Apparently Tony Humphries played it at a club in New Jersey and Mark and Carl heard it and asked about it. From my understanding Tony was going to pick it up and I don’t recall how I got connected to Mark and Carl but they were very interested in the project. Pretty much started there.
Can you describe some of the WMC parties and how important you feel this event is ?I'm not really a big partier anymore, so when I go to Miami, I take advantage of the beach, the drinks while jamming to good tunes under the sun. The Deep parties were always fun! The MAW Opium Garden parties, Nikki Beach parties, those were one of the best ones I've experienced. Our Habitat Parties have been fun as well. I was extremely pleased by the turn out of our first event in 2007.
As for its importance, I think it's something that everyone in the industry looks forward to each year to relax and let off steam. But so many Djs are playing everywhere that I don’t know how some people find the time. It’s gotten so huge and hectic. One great thing is that it’s also a great time to network since everyone is there. But I haven't attended lately and I'd honestly rather be in a less hectic environment nowadays like in the Caribbean or some place nice and quiet.

How did the the " My Words" track develop,a soulful vocal bomb !! ?
I'm honestly not sure! It took some time to arrange since I wasn't quite satisfied with what I had to work with. John is an excellent singer, the Fender Rhodes was distorted, so I had to do a ton of editing. I honestly didn't know how big it was going to get.
" You Remind Me" was another huge tune can you talk about how this came together ?
This was originally a remix for Chilli Funk for a Vanessa Feeman song. They didn't dig it, so I used the music and hooked up with Consuela Ivy. She's damn awesome and I need to work with her again for sure. Anyway, yeah, it was originally a remix project. Also didn't know how big this was going to get.
Who else have you worked with?
Vocalists, Carla Prather, John Redmond (miss him), Dwayne Morgan, Karl the voice, producers: Olivier Portal, DJ Halo. I don't usually work with other people since I enjoy the freedom of being solo.
One of your current collaborations is with Soul Addiction with a great new track called "Let It Go ",also hooked up with Vick Lavender,Jihad Muhammad,Abicah Soul,Ian Friday and one of my personal favourites
"Rise" featuring the great vocals of John Redmond can you tell us a little about these projects ?

Let it go was a fun project. This kinda just had a life on its own where from the beat to the solo, it just worked. It’s rare for me to do a project start to finish in one weekend. This was one of those.The Vick Lavender project was also a lot of fun. He contacted me to do the remix and since I love Carla’s voice, it was also fun to do.
Jihad Muhammad is the man. We connected about 6 years ago when I was in NJ for a gig. Shortly after, I was contacted by Camio Records for a remix of the Dawn. This was the first project where everything was done internally in the computer.
Abicah is my boy. He’s one of my closest friends. We hooked up about 10 years ago, ran into each other at one of the WMCs, we connected when we got back to Chicago, then we’ve just hung out since. I was just with him lastnight. Good man, that guy.

For Ian Friday, that project was hooked up by Halo for West End. That was fun too. Its neat how Halo can be on the West Coast and I’m in the mid-West working on a project.
Rise was my first released production. This came about as I was performing live at a show in Chicago and a friend approached me and said he knew a great singer that could lay down the vocal to one of the songs I played. He set it up, we went into the studio with John, and I just remember being completely blown away. Dude can sing. We’ve hooked up after that and became good friends. I seriously miss that guy.
Which other countries have you visited to dj and where have you played ?
I haven't played outside of the US very much. The only ones I've been to for music is Vancouver and the UK. I hope to make it to South Africa, Greece and France someday.
Could you list me ten records that influenced your life ?Father – Frankie Feliciano. I have 4 copies of this because I love it so much.
Your Eyes – Simply Red, Mousse T Remix.Waddu you want - Frankie Knuckles feat Adeva
What a surprise – Frankie Feliciano
In Time – MAW feat. V (singer)When love came in – Quentin Harris’s mix.
Wishing you were here – Blaze
I hear my calling – KOTTons more. Just can’t think of them at the moment.

And ten records on your current playlist ?Anything by Spinna, Louie Vega, Osunlade, Fanatix, Feliciano, etc. Love their music.

What plans do you have for the future ?
Musically, nothing planned. I just go day by day. I just hope that I’d be able to retire and live comfortably at an ea
rly enough age.

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