A Chat with Kaval

In the recent Riddim Box Radio episode #19, we presented a stunning DJ mix by the French producer Kaval. Here’s a little interview with the man behind the music.

Randomly spotted in Bandcamp, I liked the playful and percussive tunes of Kaval in an instant. After spinning a few of those on the Riddim Box Radio show, we asked Rémi for a DJ mix, and he delivered a dope original set of digital dancehall riddims.

To have a little background for the whole thing, I asked the 34 year old producer and DJ from Toulouse in France – who has released on labels like Argent Sale, Lowup Records, XXIII Beats and with his own crew Egregore – for a few answers and opinions.

Tell us a bit about your influences, please!

Rémi Kaval: I like every kind of music but definitely fell in love with a UK Funky record in a shop in Paris, since that day I’m focused on percussion-driven sounds: UK Funky, Tribal, Hard Drum, Breakbeat, Dancehall – but I love to blend other styles with that. As far as DJs and producers go: Ben UFO, Joe, Batu, Objekt, Pearson Sound, Roska aka Bakongo, Emvee, Kouslin, NKC, Noire, Pangaea, DJ Plead, Anunaku or Circuit 900.

Do you listen to UK stuff mostly or are there also French producers you look up to?

Both, as I really want to support the new French hybrid bass scene but I’m a fan of the UK scene as well. Some of the French artists I support are Stacktrace, Tim Karbon, Folklore, TMRW or Realitycheck.

Is there a scene for the music you make and play in France and in Toulouse?

We have a big eclectic local scene, but no venues, and the new mayor is putting the brake on culture and creative things. So we do our own illegal parties with my Ruff Club crew, mostly in abandoned places, under bridges or in the forest. Since the factory explosion of AZF, we’ve used this place for our free parties – shout out to Folklore and Hors-Jeu, two top crews from Toulouse with an amazing spirit. With five of my Toulouse friends, we also do the web radio and label Egregore.

Going out on a limb here, but I have to bring it up: There was an early 2000s French label called Africanism with tunes by DJ Gregory and others that predate the UK Funky and Afrohouse styles of today (and which I feel inspire your music as well). Would you agree? Are people still aware of that label and its music?

I would agree with you, but there are American DJs and producers like Kenny Dope who themselves influenced the French and European DJs and the House and UK Funky genres. But the Tribal House of DJ Gregory is something special and surely influential. I’m a total fan and play a lot of his songs in my sets.

Press pic courtesy of Kaval. Merci!