Brighton-born DJ Kideko has been crafting a career around old-school dance music sounds for over the past five years.
In 2015, as listeners started preferring more tropical and deep house sounds, Kideko got attention with “The Jam” and followed that a year later with his George Kwali collaboration, “Crank It (Woah),” which has earned over 20 million Spotify streams to date.
Further establishing himself in the U.K. dance music scene, he released a collaboration with Tinie Tempah and Becky G, titled “Dum Dum,” and with Friend Within, titled “Burnin’ Up.”
Along with his own output, support from some of the biggest names in dance music has helped shaped the trajectory of Kideko’s career, including play from Oliver Heldens, David Guetta, Fatboy Slim, Gorgon City, Pete Tong, Annie Mac, and Pete Tong, many of whom declared “Crank It” to be one of 2016’s strongest tracks.
Now with releases on Ministry of Sound, Solotoko, and Toolroom, Kideko collaborated with heavyweight producer Armand Van Helden to release “The Fire,” another jam playing to and reworking the timeless vibes of late ‘90s and early ‘00s rave music.
Your new track “The Fire” came out over the past month, and it has a very old-school sound. What influenced you when producing this track?
I’ve always loved the ‘90s dance and early 2000s sound, so I often try and get the vibe of that sort of time into my music. The amen breaks and the piano sound are heavily influenced by the old rave scene.
You collaborated with Armand Van Helden on “The Fire.” How did you two end up working together?
We spoke about working on something a while back and then met in Miami about two years ago. I’ve always loved his sound, and he said he liked my stuff, so it made sense that we’d eventually work on something together.
I sent over an idea I had, and he liked it, so he worked on it.
For creating “The Fire,” what was your approach with Armand?
I had the idea for the track on my computer for ages, but I couldn’t get it sounding exactly how I imagined it being. When Armand worked on it, he added his classic sound, and it worked really well. We went back and forth a few times until it was finished.
We’d call each other after we’d worked on it a bit to go through what each of us had done. I think we both had the same vision of how the track should sound, so it felt pretty easy going because there wasn’t really anything we disagreed on, which was great.
Your first hit “The Jam” came out five years ago. How has your sound and approach to producing evolved since then?
I think it’s always changing. I’m constantly trying to keep learning and trying new things, as I get bored with making the same sound. In terms of my approach to making music, it’s still pretty similar: I usually just sit at my computer pressing different buttons until something sounds good to me.
As a producer, how would you describe your sound?
I think it’s eclectic. I like to take influences from many different places. I also try and keep it upbeat and fun – I want it to sound like a party!
Over the past five years, you’ve collaborated with artists like George Kwali, Tinie Tempah, and Becky G. Who else would you like to collaborate with?
Fatboy Slim and Basement Jaxx are top of the list for me. They’ve had a huge influence on me, so that’d be amazing.
How did you get into producing?
I used to play drums in a band at school, so I got into producing through messing around with guitar and drum loops on a program called Music 2000 and then getting my friends to play the loops in real life and we’d write songs around them.
Then it slowly evolved, and I became more interested in the computer side of music, rather than the live instruments. I’ve produced many genres over the years, so I’m always trying to incorporate those into my current music.
Now that your career has been rising steadily, where would you like it to eventually go to?
Tough question. I’m lucky enough to be able to travel the world through my music, so I’d love to do more of that. I guess I just want to keep being able to make music and enjoying it.
Since sheltering in place, many dance music artists have been busy producing in the studio. What have you been up to?
I really enjoy cooking, so I’ve been getting more into that now that I’ve had a lot of free time, which has been nice to do. I try to keep active, going for runs and walks. Mostly still production and making music though.
I’ve also been doing some live streams online, which has been an interesting way to stay interactive with people on social media.
What do you have planned as a follow up to “The Fire”?
My next track is another piano house track – I’m loving that sound at the moment! It has a slightly more underground feel. The one that I think will be after that has a more ‘80s feel to it – I also love those type of synth and drum sounds.