024 in our series flows right out of Kuala Lumpur! Super pleased to introduce Kingston, a member of the Public School KL DJ collective and resident at the well loved music and art space fono KL. His mix is a real flowy selection of steppy, organic percussion, fully embracing the energy of a jungle rave that somehow burrows its way into a basement. A truly captivating hour of body music for the movers and the heads.
Pleasure to have you on the series Kingston! How’re you doing these days?
Thank you for having me. I'm doing good actually. Currently based in Kuala Lumpur and I’ve been busy with my day job, helping out fono and of course DJing as a resident in fono as well.
For the uninitiated - tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started digging and DJ-ing!
Born and raised in Penang & now currently based in Kuala Lumpur I’m a DJ and part of the Public School KL DJ collective.
Back in early 2017 when I was on a holiday in London, I stumbled across this listening bar called Brilliant Corners. The experience was fantastic in a sense that everybody was having a nice meal while the DJ(selector) was there playing records. I never knew that DJing can be done in a setting outside of a music festival or a club setting. That experience really gave me another dimension on how to bring that auditory experience to the crowd later on in my DJing
career be it in a party or a cafe. From that same trip I stumbled across Phonica Records and that is where I bought my first record which was Todd Terje’s, It’s Album Time LP.
After coming back from that trip, at that time when I was still based in Penang (For the record I still did not know how to DJ at that point). I was lucky enough to be introduced to Daniel Tay & Khing Chuah, both part of the party collective called Ze Arcade Paint, that’s where I got my first gig playing for their parties which I trainwreck almost my whole set. But I guess everyone has to
start from somewhere. A little bit of timeskip from that point to early 2018 that is when I found out about fono and the Public School KL collective and decided to take a trip there and I fell in love with the space and the friendliest crew to hang around with. That is also when I had this small dream to join them because they played quite a huge role in shaping my taste for music
apart from big names like Hunee, MCDE and so on. Even watching them play, I would still be able to learn something every time till today, and that dream came true in mid 2020 which I’m now part of the Public School KL collective.
Hope you’ve been coping well in pandemic-era world. How’s the scene there in KL these days, has there been much respite?
On a personal level, I think I did okay in the sense that I still had my day job, even going through the early days of the pandemic. It also gave me the opportunity to be able to sit down and listen and explore many more kinds of music. I did purge my USBs and Hard Disk so that I’ll be able to refresh my whole tracklist and to be honest that was really liberating. Downside of the
pandemic, I still miss traveling overseas and spending hours digging records in the bargain bin.
As of now, the Malaysian government has announced that Malaysia will be moving into the endemic phase which is great news for us. Although nightclubs are still to remain closed moving to the endemic phase, independent venues and art spaces are able to find loopholes to operate to at least keep the music experience alive. As for fono, we are planning to increase the capacity limit but we still want to be on the safe side and close by 12am but from May we are
planning to open from 9pm to 1am. Malaysian borders are opening as well so maybe travelling will be in the cards in the near future not just for me but the whole crew as well.
Real flowy selection of steppy, organic percussion throughout this mix! Was there a context you had in mind while recording?
Why thank you! Well, the selection for this mix is some of the tracks that I played during the first 2 out of 4 hours of my solo set during the last month gig in fono called Resonance where we focus on mainly electronic music. I mainly play Funk & Disco but also I don't really want to pigeonhole myself in terms of just playing Funk/Disco. I really dig playing long sets nowadays so
it was the time to challenge myself to see how long and how deep I can dig especially genres that I am not so familiar with. I have to be honest I was really scared in the beginning because these are the tracks that I have never played to the public before and I don’t know how the crowd is going to react but it all turns out well in the end. Gotta thank Uzair (uzrswl) for putting that trust in me.
Definitely an eclectic vibe from start to end, getting a bit dark at times but the constant thing seems to be your taste in percussions. It’s certainly infectious - what draws you to this style of music?
Oh my where do I even begin, apart from digging funk and disco I do listen to other genres like jazz, afro, hip-hop and so on. From Creative Arts Ensemble or to modern molam like Paradise Bangkok or maybe I just love that syncopathic beats not just from percussions but even from J Dilla’s production,a reggae/ska track or even Tzusing’s or Howie Lee’s productions. But I guess If I were to track it down to when I really love this style of music is when I started to listen to alot of Jazz especially during the first year of the pandemic (Thank you Rudy a.k.a Ruud for introducing me to the many forms of Jazz!)
Who are the labels you’re digging these days?
I have been really digging stuff from Underground Resistance as of late. From there I kinda branch to a lot of Detroit Techno/Electro like Channel One & Computer Rockers. Apart from that I really dig Yu Su’s latest album Yellow River Blue from Music From Memory/BIE RECORDS, and of course Joy Orbison’s latest album still slipping vol.1 by XL Recordings.
What would your ideal place to play look like?
My wishlist would be a solo 10 hour set in a dark underground basement or maybe on a beach from 10pm till sunrise the next day.
Anything you’d like to shout?
Do check out one of our PSKL crewmember Benny a.k.a Shtikman’s mix. He is also one of the DJ’s I look up to when it comes to all things electronic and also do check out my latest Lunar New Year mix for PS all on wax!
Public School KL: