OLD-SCHOOL WITH A NEW TWIST: AN INTERVIEW WITH DESKTOP JUNK

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Image from desktopjunk.bandcamp.com

Published on UIC Radio

Beatmakers and producers are creating content from left to right, filling services like SoundCloud to the brim with beats of all sounds and styles. From Jazz inspired Hip-Hop to snare-peddling Trap beats, it is hard to stand out from the competition of your style and the general competition from all the output.

One young producer is an exception. A recent college graduate who goes by the alias of Desktop Junk has been increasingly gaining notoriety for his ability to switch from old-school R&B to Hip-Hop and loop the samples without losing their original essence. He exemplifies this with one of his recent tracks ‘higher heights,’ where he samples a 1990’s R&B song and adds sultry chords and hard-hitting drums over the sample, keeping it nostalgic and melodic.

In another track called ‘knowhere (for quas),’ he samples the rapper Quasimoto (Madlib) and adds deep, mind-boggling drums over the lyrical sample. By this, he manages to keep the odd producing style of Quasimoto but shift the essence to the uniquely modern style of Knxwledge or Youtaro. I wanted to reach out to him, to understand the person behind these precise melodies. He was nice enough to let me tell his story.

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Cover of Knxwledge’s album ‘Hud Dreems.’ Image from knxwledge.bandcamp.com

How would you describe yourself and where do you come from?

DJ: I’m just a dude from the UK and currently live in London. I grew up by the coast in the country (the equivalent of a state) called Cornwall. I lived in Bristol before now so I have been lucky enough to live in cities that have great music scenes since my university years (I’ve graduated by now). I was big into skateboarding and the scene going on during my early teens. I don’t skate as much anymore but I still surf when I can.

How long were you making music for and what inspired you to start?

DJ: I’ve been into music for as long as I can remember. I had turntables and was buying records from the age of 12. I used to dig into my mother’s record collection before then — and I still do! I’m still finding gems to this day! I finally got my first MPC back in the Summer of 2014 and haven’t looked back since then — I’m still hooked. I guess what pushed me into making my own beats was realizing the amount of time it allows me to listen to Hip-Hop and how much more music I could discover.

I’ve always loved Jazz and Hip-Hop. Back when I would skate a lot, I would watch old skate VHS tapes with my friends back in the day, scoping out the music credits and getting a hold of stuff I’ve never heard before.

Do you think that the current scene you’re involved in will last or do you see something else coming up or evolving?

DJ: Yes, good music is timeless.

Where do you see yourself in the future with your music?

DJ: The great thing about music is the learning element never ends so I’ll continue on that journey, I’m sure. I don’t want to overthink it though. I just continue to enjoy the creative process whenever I get the time. I definitely dream about having my own studio space in a separate building at the end of the garden someday. And maybe move back to the coast/countryside for a more chill lifestyle eventually.

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Cover for Oxela’s collaboration project with Frumhere titled ‘fall in crete.’ Image from oxela.bandcamp.com.

What artists or genres have you been listening to lately?

A lot. Today it’s SLR’s new album titled “Airflow.” I’ve also been listening to Keem the Cipher, who I personally regard as a modern Instrumental Boom Bap legend. I’ve also been listening to Kut Klose who’s more 90s R&B, a lot of 1970’s Jazz Fusion, and some early 2000s Neo-Soul music. Some producers I highly recommend right now are Oxela, Knxwledge (obviously) Ohbliv, Wun Two, Ntourage, Kiefer, Repeat Pattern, Funki Flava, Swum, Mndsgn, Hurlum, Fitz Ambrose, Billy The Kid, Delicasteez, Fortnight, too many dope artists to name!

Thank you for your elaborate responses, man.

DJ: Cool man, thanks for reaching out and stay safe too!

It was, for the most part, very assuring to get to know Desktop Junk’s background and his inspirations. We’re about the same age. Him mentioning being a former skater during his early adolescent years and discovering more Jazz and Hip-Hop music through that scene instantly reminded me of the scene back in 2010 when Odd Future and Raider Klan brought Hip-Hop music and skate culture back together, and revitalized the movement with a more rebellious tone for the youth.

He’s also mentioned a lot of the artists I’ve been blessed to have discovered in the past, shaping the music I’ve been listening to this day. I hope wherever Desktop Junk’s creative and professional endeavors take him will lead to his desired destination, coming from a personal understanding.

Listen to Desktop Junk in the link below and support his work:

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