K-1 (Jay Johnston) Electronic Music Producer
As a child, I was brought up with a father who played the acoustic guitar. I tried to learn from him but I just didn’t feel comfortable with it.
It wasn’t until my family moved to Bristol in the mid-eighties that I started listening to electronic music of the period.90’s started and I then got a ‘feel’ for rare Northern Soul that my sister’s boyfriend of the time had Dj’d and put to tape.
Living in Montpelier meant that the Bristol Drum and Bass scene was emerging within close distance, so naturally I had to visit a few clubs that were playing it.
A big turning point for me was at 16 years and several visits to a friend of the family’s house. He was the first electronic music producer I’d ever met. He was more into DJ’ing at the time though and that was when I got the chance to go on some turntables, I remember the 2 records even now-one was by Leftfield the other the Chemical brothers. I put the stylus down and within seconds, the other people in the room couldn’t tell if I was playing one record or both simultaneously!
The rush I got was amazing. I felt confident that this wasn’t just fluke so invested in some decks and was collecting my own records a year later.
The years rolled by and I’d developed my own style of the ‘anything goes’ type of DJ’ing that is now what some other DJ’s are finally doing such as the 2Many DJ’s.
Even this had its limits. I had exhausted my DJ repertoire. I reconsidered the situation and realised that I should be making music. But how?
I was impressed by the quality and inventiveness of the electronic music scene. I had in my mind the basic structures used to create it.
I got myself a cheap pc; it couldn’t even create acid bass lines as it wasn’t a Pentium. I crudely rigged it up to the decks; this process had me tearing my hair out-considering I had no music tech knowledge-the soundcard wasn’t behaving. Even nowadays I come up against equally frustrating problems usually to do with the bloody sound card!
So when the hair was gone, I managed to make really crude sound cut and pastes from the vinyl, and would then heavily effect it with time stretch and pitch effects etc. To be honest it sounded really scary. I still have a tape of some of it.
So the soundcard died…
I gave up temporarily on computers and bought a 10 track, synth and drum machine. This made work quicker and easier but not sequenced perfectly.
This however meant that I would actually have to play a lot of the music, instead of relying on the lazy cut and paste approach to production.
I’d previously been introduced to Reason music software but found it to taxing to make complete arrangements. This said, I remembered its concept being something special so went and got it along with Cubase for the Mac.
A couple of years on and I was teaching Reason to school children as part of a music facilitator course. The course, in London, brought me into contact with a large number of professional musicians from all backgrounds musical and otherwise. It was exhilarating to talk to a reggae promoter/musician one minute and the next minute a classical music scorer!
These events have given me the opportunity to meet some great individuals and meant that I now also have managed to branch into the band called Sweet Pea as a musician and remixer for them. My music has been played on internet radio by DJ Smoothgroove and I was officially the first electronic musician to play Mr Wolf’s bar in Bristol.
My music is always evolving, and always being challenged by me in different ways so as to remain fresh.
I am open to offers of music related work/collaborations.
Please send feedback to me...
written, performed and produced by K-1.
C & P 2006, K-1 Music
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