Elektro Exclusive: Interview With Damn Kids
Toronto rising star Stephane Deschenes, better known as Damn Kids, has caught the worlds attention with bass fueled trap anthems and party ready mixes. Catching the eye of the Trouble & Bass crew, Damn Kids released a massive EP entitled "GOVUDOH" this past year which received massive hype and chart climbing success. With support from the likes of Mark Knight, Green Velvet, and Pleasurekraft, Damn Kids is increasingly finding himself at the beck and call of fans and producers alike. Fresh off one of the most well received performances at Digital Dreams in June, and with a number of new releases in the making, Damn Kids is slated to dominate far beyond his Canadian Borders. Catch up with the young up-and-comer and see what he's up to in our exclusive interview below.
What festival or show is your dream to play at?
DK: I've always wanted to play at Coachella, I love how many different artists play there. It's just a wide variety of artists, and so many artists have played there. I'd want to play there. It's something I'd want to get in on, just because it's not just a dance music festival and a wide variety of genres. I really like that aspect of it. I'd like to play Coachella for sure. I totally blanked on going this year. I only realized it a week after. I said "Oh! I totally missed it" I'm going to try going next year but I always end up planning on going and then something's happening the exact same time and I just turned 21 this year so it's like perfect.
So how's 21?
DK: Well in Canada the drinking age is 19 so it's not the biggest deal, but now when i go to Miami I'm not going to get turned down from literally everywhere.
Are you working on anything right now?
DK: Yeah, I'm working on a bunch of releases, I have a lot of free stuff coming out like remixes and bootlegs. I'm in the studio everyday.
Where's your studio in Toronto? Do you have a home studio?
DK: It's in my house. Yeah, I just have a home set-up. It's not that ghetto, but it's i don't know, it works for me. I don't really need to much space or too much gear. It's perfect for what I need to do.
Whats up next for you?
DK: I have a single coming out on Provoke. It's such a monster of a track, it's so awesome. Also, the "Ussu" EP and it's coming out later this summer.
How did that track come together? Did it take you a while? Or was it random?
DK: I'd say it took me about a month. I wrote all the songs. It didn't take me too long, it was just kinda like I had points where I couldn't write anything so I'd write a lot. So it took me a few weeks to write a bunch of stuff at the same time. I put it all together, so since I made it at the same time it's all kind of the same sound. As a genre it's pretty diverse, but sound-wise it's all pretty coherent.
If you could party with any DJ, who would you party with?
DK: That's a tough question. I don't know, there's so many DJs I'd love to meet and have already met, it's so hard to say. I guess Daft Punk...not necessarily party but just talk to them because out of all the things they've done, guys like Skrillex, Diplo, Daft Punk and Steve Aoki, I'd just love to pick their brains at like what they've done and how they've done it...how they've built up big empires, because electronic music it's such a niche genre, as it is now it's still fairly niche, that I'd want to see how they were able to get that big and so much exposure from such a specific sound..would be really awesome to see what they have to say about it.
Who have you met already that you're still starstruck by?
DK: I met Phra from Crookers in Miami and that was a really crazy moment. I've met a bunch of people, I remember meeting Chris Lake in Miami and at Ultra. It's always the first moment when you meet a DJ that you get starstruck, but I find a minute later that once you get to talk to them, it's not that I'm not starstruck, but I find that they're human and not crazy other beings..you know what I mean? But yeah, it's pretty much every DJ I meet I'm always pretty impressed with how nice they are. I met Mark Knight and he was super awesome. I'd say that every DJ I've met that is somewhat established..it's always that moment of awe that it's crazy that I'm meeting this person but also crazy how nice they are, and open to talking and chill out.
Have any of those DJs given you any advice?
DK: On the production side of it, just try to establish your own sound and don't really try to emulate the Beatport Top 10. If you have favorite artist that's great that you're inspired by them, but don't try to recreate what they do. When big DJs are looking for music to play they don't want to hear the same stuff over and over again. They're always going to choose stuff that sounds different and a little bit more unique. So establishing a unique sound is really key as a producer. On the DJ side it's like so many DJs have already said "learn how to play an opening set" and learn how to play gauging on the reaction of the crowd. Don't just say this is what I'm playing because this is my favorite song...you have to learn how to adjust. So learn how to play for a crowd and adjust accordingly.
Have you ever felt when you've played a show that you totally had to change what you were going for in a set?
DK: Yeah, I remember opening up for some big dubstep DJ and I was already dropping "Scary Monsters" and the big dubstep songs I've heard, but then I thought maybe I should stop playing that and started playing more tech-y stuff/old dubstep and they said "woah, this is cool but we just want to rage." I was so confused what was going on, especially since it was back when dubstep wasn't really big. So hardcore dubstep has a pretty specific audience that knows that they like, it was just that time when kids were thinking I just want to listen to dubstep and really nothing else...that show was definitely one of those situations.
If you could rep any brand and get an endorsement deal with them, who would you want to do so for?
DK: I literally think about this all the time. If I could get any endorsement deal I would want Nike and Redbull. I just always think Nike and Redbull because 1. they always dump tons of money for endorsement, whether it's skateboarding, golf, or tennis...or car driving. They're just always going to dump tons of money into that so it's not necessarily just the athletes, but they'll throw parties/events, and they'll sponsor stuff. Since they're really big brands, you'll obviously get merchandise, like free clothes, but they're such big brands that that'd be my dream endorsement deal...Nike would be so crazy!
What are your plans for the rest of the summer?
DK: I'm going to be playing probably a few more shows, so I'll be touring and writing. I'm going to try to write a lot of new music. I'm already sitting on probably 20 tracks but I'm going to try to just keep writing and keep doing stuff. I'm going to be traveling a bit, but I'm also going to try to relax obviously this summer because I've been running around. I want to go back to DisneyWorld, even though I already went this year but that's definitely a must. I could go there everyday for the rest of my life and not ever get bored. I just want to go back, but other than that just writing more music, hanging out and going to all the crazy festivals.