We kick off our 2020 mix roster with Scotland’s Stephen Kirkwood AKA Kunky. The Waveform Transmitter’s Ste Knight took time out to talk to the SKapade boss about his brand new partnership with Pioneer DJ.
Many of you will recognize Stephen Kirkwood under his Kunky moniker, following on from the release of his Come With Me EP, which we reviewed last year. The techno/trance producer hasn’t been sat on his hands since, though. Oh no. He has been busy striking lucrative partnerships with the globe’s leading DJ equipment manufacturer; Pioneer.
His DJ and production school, SKapade Studios, which is based up in Dumbarton, Scotland, has recently teamed up with Pioneer DJ to deliver a range of masterclasses that cover a glut of music industry-related topics designed to give young people the nouse they need to begin a career on the scene.
Our editor, Ste Knight, spoke to Stephen about the project, its aims, and what he hopes to achieve with his new Pioneer DJ partnership. Take a read while you listen to his brilliant mix. You can find the track list at the bottom of the page…
Waveform: Hi Stephen. Thanks for joining us for a chat. So, SKapade has been recognised as Pioneer DJ’s only official partner in Scotland! Congratulations – that is some heavy recognition! You must be excited about what the future holds for the school. Tell us a a bit about the school. When was it founded? What was your vision at the start of the project? How has that vision grown or changed over the time prior tothe new partnership?
Stephen: Thanks for the interview! I had opened the studio in November of 2014 before it was officially SKapade Studios with the idea of helping people to produce music and or learn how to DJ. I then had an idea about helping the community and put together a ‘creative workshop’ for young people. This was done with our now partners, Y Sort It and it was a major success. From there the studio started to develop and that’s when I realised I had to get a team!
I then asked my best friend Steven Galloni if he fancied leaving his job to help me build a business and luckily he said yes! We have now developed a team of over 8 people & we are continuing to grow. The studio has now developed into something that we are insanely proud of.
Since starting out we have become something quite different which is exciting. We have gone from 1-2-1 coaching, to creating our own podcasts, running events, delivering group masterclasses, selling products online & working all over Scotland. From what started in West Dunbartonshire has now grown into working with clients from all over the world!
W: Regarding your partnership with Pioneer DJ – how did that actually come about?
S: Our partnership with PioneerDJ is something we dreamed of. I remember we would have late night whiteboard sessions in the office & that was one of our big goals.
We reached out to PioneerDJ in 2015 as the equipment we were using was outdated. They sent us a refurbished mixer and 2 speakers as they loved the work we were doing in schools etc. We couldn’t believe it, we were over the moon that they even replied, never mind sent us equipment!
Fast forward 4 years, a lot of meetings, conversations and relationship building, we are now the only official PioneerDJ DJ school in Scotland! One of only four throughout the UK.
W: And what does this new partnership mean for SKapade?
S: As a team, we will be able to get access to the most exclusive PioneerDJ equipment, official PioneerDJ training, and certification. Our students can expect discounts on all PioneerDJ equipment through our partners Rubadub. Access to exclusive equipment as and when we are sent it.
They will also have opportunities to work at certain PioneerDJ events and gain industry experience. They will also be able to gain PioneerDJ accreditation/certification once they have completed training with SKapade.
W: For those who want to get involved as students, how can they apply to join your SKapade?
S: Anyone can get in touch with the studio either via our website http://www.skapadestudios.com or across all our social media platforms at ‘SKapade Studios’. We encourage anyone who is interested in DJing or producing their own music to get in touch, regardless of what level you’re at. We help students at all levels and we are super proud to be able to help people from all over the world.
W: Your launch event is on Thursday January 30th. What can we expect from that?
S: This is our first time doing an event like this and we are very excited. Slightly nervous but I reckon that’s a good thing! We will be interviewing some of the leading DJ’s of Scotland in Gary Beck, Harvey Mckay and Rebecca Vasmant to chat about being ‘full time’ in the music industry.
This is also a celebration event and a way for us to connect further with our audience. We will be celebrating 5 years of being in business and of course our accreditation from PioneerDJ. We will be having discussions with the global DJ’s and producers on the music industry, finding out their journeys & we will also be filming the full show for our Youtube channel.
W: You have put together a cracking Waveform Mix for us here. For future students, can you talk a bit about your own personal mixing process? How does it differ from the process of planning a set to play out, if at all?
S: Thank you! Great question, I actually rarely ever plan a set, as I really love to be in the moment when I am mixing. I have an idea of what I am going to start with and usually know what I will end with, however that can change!
A good DJ will be able to read the crowd & play into their hands. If I am doing a mix for a podcast it will differ from when I am playing live 100%, as there is no better feeling than playing to a live crowd.
I also love having that pressure to perform as it makes me play to the best of my abilities. When doing podcasts or mixes that aren’t live, I look to create a flow to the set that is a little more planned out than when I play live.
I really loved putting this mix together for you and it actually marks the start of a new sound from me creatively. I have always been into my melodies, chords and atmosphere and combining that with heavy techno beats and bass is has really got me excited about working in the studio in 2020!
I managed to squeeze a new tune from myself and Co-Accused in there, it’s called ‘Galvaniser’. Thanks again!
W: Thank you for your time Stephen, and best of luck with your future SKapades!
Pavel Petrov – EXE (Original Mix)
Booka Shade, Lazarusman – Dear Future Self (Club Mix)
Felix Krocher – Free Yourself (Original Mix)
Lowshape – Away from Earth (Original Mix)
Alden Tyrell – Covert (Original Mix)
Harvey McKay – Black Horse (Original Mix)
Dense & Pika – SSD (Original Mix)
Rudosa – 20th Century (Original Mix)
Co-Accused, Kunky – Galvanizer (Original Mix)
Rudosa – Expanded (Original Mix)
Egbert, Secret Cinema – Maximaal (Original Mix)
Toni Alvarez – Fase 1 (Original Mix)