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Seven Quick Questions: Kamandi + Jaga

Seven Quick Questions: Kamandi + Jaga

By Martyn Pepperell / Monday 27th February, 2017 2:30PM

Over the last five years, New Zealand bass music producer Kamandi has traveled up and down the country, and bounced back and forth between here and America. Along the way, he's built a loyal listenership on Soundcloud, shared stages with Jonwayne, Tokimonsta, Daedelus, Mono/Poly and Kaytranada, and worked closely with Madcap, fOSTERCARE, Red Bull Sound Select, and Azizi Gibson.

After spending several stints recording and performing around California, and connecting with collectives like Waka Flocka's 36Brickhouse and Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder movement, he's on the verge of relocating on a more permanent basis. Over the next few weeks, Kamandi and his low-profile close collaborator Jaga are taking their new Sunset Snakes Tour on the road around the country. With the shows coming up, we called Kamandi and Jaga up in the studio and had a chat about what they've got planned for this tour, how they work together, their history, and what they've been listening to lately...


1. Kamandi, the first time I interviewed you was for Rip It Up back in 2012. You'd been living in Wellington, but you'd just moved back to Christchurch. Can you set the scene, and give us an idea of what things were like for you back then?

K: Once I found a connection with music - which is something that happened pretty much as soon as I started trying to do it in bands and that – I couldn't really see myself doing anything else. I didn't have a full-on game plan, but I wanted to take it as far as I could. I knew it was what I wanted to center my life around. I'd started playing a few shows after doing a bit of legwork in Wellington, where I got teamed up with Madcap. They were getting me to open for some niche but awesome acts. People like Jonwayne, Mono/Poly, Tokimonsta, lots of Brainfeeder artists. I also played with Daedelus and Kaytranada. Madcap were helping me get lots of cogs in motion as far as live shows go.


How important was starting to play live more regularly?

K: The reality is, as an artist, you need a live presence. You need to be seen playing. The production and making of the music comes first for me, so that was an eye-opener about playing live. So, I was doing a lot of that, and actually spending a lot of time outside of Christchurch. Apart from that, I was just making music and trying to get heard, like every other modern producer. I was just trying to get my stuff heard, which is hard when we're dealing with saturated amounts of music. I don't think that is bad that there is a lot of music, but it does make it hard. That Soundcloud repost life.


What have you and 
Jaga got planned for this tour, and what are some reference points for it?

K: Honestly. Visa dependant, I'm probably going to move to Los Angeles soon. So, we decided we wanted to do something special for New Zealand. We wanted to do some kind of send-off set that really shows what we can do. We're doing a collaborative Ableton live set. I guess we've taken our collective understanding of what works and what doesn't. This is the best set we could have possibly come up with at this stage of our existence. Something we’ve both talked about a lot while preparing it is trying to really make people feel something.

J: Putting both of our brains together to develop this set has been such a cool thing. We're at a point where we can feel out the whole set together, know we can translate that to a live setting, and hopefully make people really get into what we're doing. I know that sounds very general, but I think the amount we've thought about how we want people to feel has been a pretty unique part of this.


How long have you guys been working together for?

K: We met in high school. Me and Jaga have always been friends first and we've both always been into music. Since I started to know music is when Jaga started to know music. We might not have always worked together, but we've always been around each other.


Where is the musical common ground for you two?

J: I think right from the start, back when we used to play in bands, a real common thread was our ideas about melodies. Between us we've got really common ideas about how certain melodies work over certain beats or bass lines. That's stayed true from ten years ago until now. I think we still convey that in what we've made together and our set.


What has it been like making the transition from playing in live bands, to studio producer work, to live electronic sets?

K: I hate using this term, but it happened pretty naturally. That stuff is like chaos, we've never planned things. We just wanted to make music, and these different modes of expression became the means to the end. When people connect as friends first, they generally have the same interests, and the music we were exposed to was the same. Our ideas about what we like have always been pretty similar. When we started making an interest in the producer side of music that made us want to turn our hands to it. That was a transition that just happened. After we stopped playing in bands, we became more fluent in production.


What are you guys listening to at the moment?

K: Honestly, I just go down rabbit holes on the internet. I'm exposed to new music all the time. The internet is pretty good at helping you find related artists. If you go deep enough you find a lot. I'm always listening to some weird shit I'm feeling.

J: I think for this set especially, and I don't know if you feel the same Kamandi, even though the music might not directly reflect it, we've drawn a lot of ideas from rave culture.

K: A lot of what we listen to now is UK dance music. I guess that would be a fair way to generalise it? Old stuff and new stuff. A bit of a combination really. When we started out, we used to fuck around with breakbeats. We missed 90s rave culture, but when we started to learning to produce, we were on the tail end of 2000s rave culture and dingy underground UK shit. Naturally, I think we’ve developed our own sound from that. We're heavily influenced by the staples of rave music, but we translate it into our own take.



Kamandi, Jaga & Friends - Sunset Snakes Tour

Friday 3rd March, Whammy Bar, Auckland
Saturday 4th March, Re Fuel, Dunedin
Friday 10th March, Darkroom, Christchurch
Saturday 11th March, Valhalla, Wellington

Tickets to all shows available HERE at UTR





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related gigs
Kamandi, Jaga and Friends - Sunset Snakes Tour
Fri 10th Mar, darkroom, Christchurch
Kamandi, Jaga and Friends - Sunset Snakes Tour
Sat 11th Mar, Valhalla, Wellington






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