Purveyor of Modern Techno DJ Kuma's monthly techno show Revolution Black on New York based Frisky Radio comes up for a year end edition of sorts this Tuesday 22 December 2020, so you can expect nothing less than some of the best in techno sounds come Tuesday.
With recent releases on Malaysian based Sweatbox Records, Mexico's We Love Techno, and from his own Bandcamp page, with a new presence on Spotify, and his renowned VOOP techno nights at Le Noir, KL and many appearances across the globe, his Revolution Black show has been one of his mainstays this past few years.
You can catch him on schedule this coming 22 December 2020 at 9 pm (GMT+8) on https://www.friskyradio.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/kumamuzik for more information.
We take this opportunity to catch up with him, as he talks inspirations, coping with this year, future plans, and of course, Revolution Black.
“I’m onto my third year with the Revolution Black show now; it’s a ‘full On’ techno show that features top artists from all over the world,” Kuma says. This coming Tuesday's show marks his 30th consecutive monthly appearance on Frisky Radio.
“Each month my playlist is different and they comprise the latest releases and promos from producers and labels that are well known for their energetic, driving, peak hour bangers, the kind of records you’ll hear in festivals like Awakenings or TimeWarp. So only the best 10-12 tracks of that particular month's releases are compiled for the show and then mixed in a club progression manner. There’s an intro to mid then climax and ending, with a tracklist crediting the artist, remixer and label, so you get a nice one hour journey with anything from dark to driving and uplifting cosmic techno.
You also get to discover new artists and labels from the show; I have also been testing out my new tracks that I’ve been writing recently during this pandemic time, so yeah, it’s pretty cool to create new music and have them heard on my show.
This month I’ll be featuring my new track Cateran (Original Mix) soon to be released early 2021 on Deepsomnia Records, having my show on Frisky Radio is something I really wanted and I’m blessed that it came through, having a Malaysian Techno DJ, Producer in a New York based radio show is one of the coolest things.”
What and who has been your inspiration in your music?
What’s inspires me is everything around me; it comes in many ways, from just waking up on a normal day and feeling great, inspiration from the universe, I guess. Sometimes I’ll be watching a show on Netflix and I suddenly get an idea to write a track, that’s inspiration too. Or when I’m touring foreign countries visiting places seeing their cultures and infrastructures, you know, stuff like that happens to me most of the time.
Inspiration comes at any time, playing in places like Berlin and Ibiza in the summer or sitting on a plane heading to Goa to play another solid Techno gig. Things like that trigger the inspiration mode, being happy is a main factor I’d say!. My weekly routines like listening to new promos and releases or picking records for my upcoming gigs and radio show, that’s my feeling, good happy times at home. You know when you feel good inside you - you feel inspired.
What keeps you going? What keeps you different from the rest?
For me, it's like if you love something so much and when it’s organic, the energy and interest never fade. How can you not love something so awesome? I’m not into it because others are doing it, I’m so into it because it makes me feel alive! Djing has been everything great for me in every way, it’s like music and Dj'ing chose me, I’m extremely blessed for this.
What’s different about me from the rest? Well, for one, I never got into it because it was a cool thing or it brings you fame. I’m not interested in being that guy or the other DJ who wants to be great in every dance music. You know what I’m saying, I’m totally not interested in being that person. I’m happy with my balance of house and techno.
What kind of DJ/producer would you classify yourself as? What is your creative process like?
I’d say I’m a purveyor of modern techno, you can see how serious I am with techno as I have my monthly techno radio show, my techno nights playing solo open to close in KL and I bring that show abroad as well. So yes, I love Techno more! And for production wise I’ve only been producing music for the dance floor, it’s been a full catalogue of dark, driving techno.
Personally, for me it’s really important nowadays for a DJ to produce and write your own music rather than just be a selector, it’s pretty easy to mix two tracks seamlessly and play a good selection of tracks, there are many platforms where you can get good music easily available. “Anyone can do it” so it’s almost impossible to play something not so interesting, it’s also easy to imitate music playing style and taste.
Without being a producer and not having your own releases, you can’t really cross the border to play internationally. It would be super hard to play at good festivals and venues unless you're making some kind of trade in returns. With the immense competition now of everyone being a DJ, you need something more than just being a DJ / Selector to excel in the scene.
There're no boundaries on being creative, there are no bad music, just lousy judgement or not so tasteful choices; producing is when the artistic part of you awakens. It’s either you have it or you don’t, you can’t fake it.
How are you coping with this year?
I’ve taken this whole pandemic situation to reinvent myself, I’ve always wanted to be a better producer, and this break has given me the opportunity to spend more studio time learning more production techniques. When I was DJ'ing week in week out, I did not have the time to focus more on my productions as most of the time was spent on picking music for my next gig.
I got the chance to join Creative Agency Asia's intermediate Ableton course while the pandemic put the dance floor on pause; It was good to learn more and find out more stuff, tips and tricks. With (Malaysian music industry legend) HAYZE being a mentor, it was super inspirational.
What can we see, hear, expect from you from now as the future beckons, what plans from now on for you?
Expect lots of solid new productions from me for 2021, I’ve been writing a lot of new music, new press kit, getting new press shots; “out with the old, in with the new”.
I’ve been eyeing some esteemed techno labels to release my new productions, so I’m hoping and being positive about that. With the current pandemic, it’s good to take advantage of the pauses and equip yourself when we are back at it in a better way, I’m coming back with a better me.