Jonah K., co-founder & resident artist behind Dark Rooms & SUMA, whom I had the pleasure to meet and hear play on the mighty 40 hz Soundsystem, was so kind to talk to us about space, the evolution of genres in his music, and his vision of creating his new album.
What does the “The Black Sea” stand for?
The “The Black Sea” can be interpreted simply as another name for Outer Space. I’ve been thinking about space a lot lately. There are SO many incredible things out there on a scale so much larger than ourselves. It helps lift me up and keep perspective when I start to feel weighed down by the heaviness of human existence.
The title track “KBC Void (The Black Sea)” also refers specifically to an enormous region of space that is nearly empty… the largest known void in the universe… which also happens to contain our own Galaxy. On universal terms, we’re essentially in the middle of nowhere.
Each of the tracks on this album are actually named after things in space that I think are especially cool. Do a wikipedia search on the first portion of the track names if you’d like to find out more.
The mixture and variety of genres really give the album its dynamic and wide range of styles in my opinion. How do you see the evolution of genres in your music and in the bass music scene in general?
Well, I began DJing in the late 90’s and I was mostly drawn to early rave music. Some of my favorite tracks were long, techno-infused journeys by artists like Orbital, Plastikman and The Prodigy. I got into Drum & Bass shortly after that, but I think the other-worldly elements of those initial influences has always persisted in my sounds.
So why Drum & Bass?
I guess you could say that Drum & Bass eventually won me over by its wild, dark energy. DnB is still my dancefloor music of choice and it’s at the core of most of my music. From a production standpoint, though, I’ve always had a hard time with its density and rigid structure. It relies on a super-strict formula which doesn’t leave a lot of room for experimentation. When Dubstep infiltrated the DnB world, I think many of us were ready for the emptier spaces in it’s framework. The energy wasn’t defined solely by speed and predictability but driven by a huge variety of divergent sonic details… and that gave producers (and dancers) room to play again. The recent resurgence of halftime DnB has allowed for similar sonic space but has brought the energy and speed back up. It’s allowing us to mix the new styles with classic DnB. I think that is what is really exciting about DnB again. The energy is back but it can be much more unpredictable and fluid.
What about other genres?
Ultimately, I don’t see genres in dance music as limitations… only rhythmic framework that helps DJs mix and dance floors to flow. To me, the syncopated rhythms and dynamic range of DnB and Dubstep are far more interesting than the endless march of techno, but the aesthetics and atmospheres of trance and techno are still a huge inspiration. In bass music genres, where styles and flavours change almost month to month, you just can’t be locked into one thing… diversity and adaptability is what makes this fun.
Soundcloud Preview: https://soundcloud.com/d-m-t-records/dmtc207-jonah-k-the-black-sea-preview-mix/s-x56q5
Bandcamp (March 13th 2019): http://dmtrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-black-sea
Beatport (March 29th 2019)
Released on: https://dmtrecords.bandcamp.com
Stay tuned and keep it dark, minimalistic and technologic!
Interviewed by Lisa Teichmann aka Schnuppofsky