INTERVIEW: Karma Kid – “I love seeing people groove instead of rave”

Sam Knowles aka Karma Kid (Photo credit: Last FM)

NOTE: Originally published on Dance Music Manchester #WeAreDMM.

Sam, at DMM we’d like to know a bit about your background as a producer. How did you first start out and why ‘Karma Kid’? There must be a story behind that!
Hey guys! The name Karma Kid was born about 3 years ago whilst shopping with my mate in Derby. I was really broke and I lost my wallet, so my mate had to lend me money to get back home. I can’t remember why exactly, but he just called me Karma Kid. I was looking for an alias for my music as well at the time so it just stuck!

It’s fair to say your distinctive mix of garage, house and R’n’B sounds has taken the music scene by storm, with the likes of BBC Radio 1 and Bondax singing their praises. Is this level of success what you expected to happen or has it come as a surprise?
It’s weird, I never thought I’d actually end up in this position, but it’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do. I started recording local bands with my dad when I was 11. I’ve never really been good at ‘jobs’, so this is probably my only hope haha.

How about your own taste in music – can you tell us more about what you grew up listening to, what inspires your sounds and which tracks are a guaranteed hit with the crowd?
I haven’t got a very wide musical background. I used to love boy bands when I was a kid, and then in my early teens I went through a big rock and punk phase. It’s only since I started producing music that I’ve really delved into every type of music in detail.

At the moment I’m listening to a lot of neo soul, disco and hip hop such as Bobby Womack, Alexander O’Neal, Quasimoto, Robert Glasper. I find that people can really relate to disco music in clubs. I love seeing people groove instead of rave. My top tracks at the moment are: Loletta Holloway – ‘Dreamin’ (Jazz-N-Groove Club Mix), Zero 7 – ‘Don’t Call It Love’, Moonlight Matters – ‘Come For Me’.

Where’s the best place you’ve played so far and is there anywhere you aspire to get behind the decks?
I’ve been lucky enough to play around the UK and Europe in the short time I’ve been DJing, my favourite shows have been: La Machine in Paris w/ Bondax & friends, Bestival, and Solus Cardiff supporting Disclosure.

For those wanting to get into production and a foot in the music industry door, do you have any useful advice you’ve learnt from experience?
I think the best advice I can give is to always strive to be innovative and different. If you try to replicate some line else’s music, you will always sound like a cheap version of them. Try hard to create your own sound and style, and get people trying to copy you!

We’re looking forward to seeing you play to a Manchester crowd at one of our favourite venues, Joshua Brooks. What are your thoughts on the city and the music scene here?
I’m really looking forward to this one! I love playing out with Armeria, he’s my best mate, so there’s always a great vibe behind the decks! I played at Gorilla last year. Manchester crowds are educated and up for it, so it should be a sick night.

Finally, a few quickfire questions:
Guilty pleasure track? Sum 41 – ‘Fat Lip’
Tipple of choice? What’s a tipple? Lol
Essential item on tour? Laptop
If you were an animal, what would you be? Dormouse
Dead or alive, which famous person would you most like to meet? Quincey Jones

Catch Karma Kid DJing in Manchester on 3rd October!

On Thursday 3rd October, Sam will be headlining what looks set to be a very special night at Joshua Brooks – Coded Rhythm’s 1st birthday bash, alongside best mate Armeria. Check out our preview here and get your tickets!

In the meantime, we’re loving his remix of one of our favourite summer tracks of 2013, Ben Pearce – ‘What I Might Do’.

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