Born in Illinois and residing in Columbus, Ohio, DJ, scratcher and live collaborator KGBeatz (real name Kevin Brugger) is one of the fresher faces currently surfacing out of the US electro scene. Incorporating the dance beats of hip-hop with the thick bass elements of electro, KGBeatz offers the smart partygoer something new to jive to.
“My beats are kinda ‘old skool’ except I want to have techno noises like keyboards and kind of a cold, dark tone,” he says when asked to describe his sound. “It’s largely meant for the warehouse dance environment. You know – really loud, lights off. Midnight. Hard beats pounding. That’s what I’m trying to do…So it’s slow enough for people to rap over, but fast enough for people to dance to.”
Addicitvely danceable while at the same time untethered and mesmerising, KGBeatz’s sounds boldly emanate his affinity for contrasting genres. This passionate mixture comes from his multifaceted background with music. “When I was younger and in the rave scene, I think I was gravitating more towards hip-hop. I always listened to electronic music as well and funk, so my DJ style reflects that.”
One of the most prominent contributors to KGBeatz’s style, however, is how dancers might react to it. “I’m keeping break dancers and electro pop lockers in mind,” he explains. “I wanna make music that they would actually want to dance to…You know, hip-hop started off as dance music and it’s not really like that anymore. I’m bringing that element back.”
The Columbus decksmith frequently DJs different events around the city and in a variety of venues. Recently, he played for a throng of university students and, before that, he provided the musical entertainment at an art gallery. The man is open to playing almost anywhere, it would seem. “I don’t like bars much, but I go there because that’s where the music is. If the music was somewhere else, I’d be there instead.”
Some of his favourite artists to spin at shows include Austin, Texas latin funksters Brownout, Detroit electro heroes Ectomorph and dark aggressive overlords Ministry. “The stuff I’m making is very influenced by the eighties,” he says. “It’s not retro – it’s just influenced by it. I’m using those same sounds in a more modern context.”
Right now, KGBeatz is better known as a live collaborator than a solo performer, however he’s trying to rectify this. That’s not to say he doesn’t appreciate the exposure (in fact, he really does and is currently spinning for three different bands), but he’s always on the lookout for ways to present his own work to the masses.
In addition to being potential dance anthems, many of KGBeatz’s tracks positively beg to be rapped over. This is something the Illinois native has already begun to address as he collaborates with more MCs. Overall however, his main objective is as modest as it is straightforward: “I want to be known as a DJ,” he says. “There are a lot of people out there who are producers and the only reason they DJ is because it pays, but they’re really producers. Me, I just want to be known as a good DJ.”