DJ Kevin Energy Interview / Profile
Interview with Happy Hardcore and 4-Beat DJ, Kevin Energy.
I have listened to Energy playing his popular sets on London’s ‘Dream FM’, and it is a surprise to me that he has not been spotted by the promoters already. However when he turned his resources to the studio, rather than his decks – Energy realised that his talents could be put to better use making music rather than just playing it. I strongly believe that the Hardcore scene will be hearing a lot more of Energy in the very near future.
DJ Energy, real name Kevin Thorpe, started mixing five years ago at the tender age of twelve. “I used to love the music, even at that age, and I wanted to do more than just listen to it. So I bought a pair of Soundlabs, and became a bedroom DJ…”
Like all the other top names, they all have to start somewhere, and Kevin has that advantage where he is on the brink of breaking into the scene and he sill isn’t even eligible to vote. He is the next generation, something that we all know is important to preserve if we are going to be raving into the 21st Century.
“I started off in my bedroom with my mates listening to me play, they told their friends, and they told somebody else, and it wasn’t long before I was playing to a crowd at Local Youth Clubs and parties”. DJ Energy wanted to get somewhere, but he never thought he would. He commented on the competition already out there and his age, however, through the right connections he managed to get a one-off slot on Dream FM, it was very soon after that his ‘one-off’ slot became a weekly weekend show listened to by thousands of ravers across the South East. “My Dad had some lodgers staying at his house who just happened to know the management of Dream FM, they liked my style and gave me my first break into the scene”.
So it became that in the year of our Lord 1994, Energy and Dream became synonymous with each other. He quickly rose to being one of the most popular DJ’s on the station, even more so than Spinback in some listener’s opinions. As with many other DJ’s who try to break from Pirate Stations, Energy learnt from friends and listeners that he was destined for more – although he has never lost his roots at Dream FM. “It was the listeners that told me I could do better than Dream, and gave me the incentive to promote myself a lot more by sending tapes out to promoters and so on”, he continues “So that’s what I did, the feedback I got was very positive and I found myself being put on the playing lists for various promoters”.
Energy started playing out seriously for the reknowned Dream Allnighters. This was to be his platform for showing others what he could do with a set of Technics and a mixer. The room he was playing in at Bagleys recently was more packed than the arena with Hype playing. “A lot of the events I have played at, I haven’t been put on the flyer – I was a stand in for the names that couldn’t make it. For instance, Slammin’ Vinyl at the Rhythm Station in Aldershot, and the best time was when Sy didn’t turn up for a 2-3 set at Elevation in Club UN, so I played the whole hour for him. This led to me being booked for Global Explosion, but sadly the promoter passed away, which was a blow to myself because I had a lot of respect for Roy. I have also played for Fusion at The Ravedome, again I wasn’t on the flyer, but since I ventured into the studio – things have really started to get going”.
It was the beginning of this year that DJ Energy was given the opportunity to experiment in the studio. “I had done a Sound Engineering course at College so I was familiar with the equipment”. Very musical at school an expert in the keyboard and various other instruments he jokes, “I know the bongos very well”, he became a natural in the studio. Techstep Records had negotiated releasing Kevin’s first track on their label, after hearing him playing out and knowing that he was a talent worth plucking.
The results were outstanding, in less than two days, on his first attempt, Energy came up with one of the best Hardcore tracks of 1996 – a tune that has been played out by the best, Dougal, Sy, Slipmatt, Seduction, Brisk, Spinback and Vibes, and not forgetting Energy himself. A tune which I am sure you’ve all heard and love ‘Hardcore Fever’. Whilst speaking to Dougal, when he first received the tune he said “It was a very good tune, and he is certainly one to watch out for in 1996”. Whilst speaking to Vibes, after the man permanently borrowed his dub-plate, Energy asked for some advice on his next track and Vibes told him “Make them all like that and you’ll go far…” Hardcore Fever was, in my opinion a brilliant debut, using original vocals, sung by Rachel from Techstep, and with the piano played by himself, it was the perfect ingredients for a Hardcore stomper.
“I thought the most tunes were linked to love, so I thought that writing a tune linked with the music, which is what we’re all raving for. That’s why the tune says ‘Raise your hands in the air, and dance with me’. It’s what they’re all doing so I thought why not write a song about it?”
Energy produced the melody by playing on his keyboard at home in his studio. Unlike many other tracks around at the moment, we shouldn’t forget the B-side to his first release, ‘Bass Go Boom’, which is a stomping, uplifting instrumental with a very teasing piano, and gated vocals. All in all, “Worth a fiver!”, he says, I would say it was worth more – hear it you’ll get hooked.
Energy got his name, from his Mother believe it or not who used to say he had too much energy! “There weren’t any other DJ’s, at the time called this, so the name stuck when I first started playing at parties. Even the other top DJ’s such as Seduction, Slipmatt, Sy, Vibes all know me as Energy, rather than my real name”. Knowing that his first track is going to be a success receiving rave reviews from all the dance magazines, he has just completed his next release, ‘Wham, Bam’, with ‘Move Your Fee’ on the B-side. I’ve had a sneak preview and it is certainly a top quality tune proving than this man is no fluke! He’s being hassled by all the top names for DAT’s of his new one, and he apologises for not getting them to them. If you are in demand from the DJ’s themselves, what does it say about the demand in the circuit?
Energy didn’t, at one point realise that he would get anywhere, and it probably hasn’t hit him that he is just about there – not often does a DJ come along who is both talented on the decks and in the studio, (and in bed apparently!), but we have that in Energy, and I think the scene desperately needs more like him. “In a years time I hope to be on every Hardcore flyer, and writing music to be played out by myself only and for the crowd to enjoy. I also want to release music on loads of other labels, but not until my contract with Techstep is over, they gave me my break and I’m gonna stay loyal to them, but at the same time I want to release on other labels such as Impact, Slammin’ Vinyl, Remix Records and other quality labels”.
Energy has recently started working with Wax City Records, in Croydon, after the shops plans to expand. He will be working in the Hardcore section, five days during the week. Then at the weekends he will be playing out at up to two or three places, so his involvement in the scene is never-ending, as is his commitment. “I was talking to John (aka Waxman), and he told me about the plans to expand the shop and how he was looking for more staff, so after talking for ages he offered me the job. I’m really glad I’m working there with him, Wax City Records is one of the best in the country. I’m a bit gutted because it means I won’t be visiting Pump Records as much, as I have always purchased tunes from there, so I’ll have to try and get up there whenever I can”.
If you know Energy personally, then I’m sure you’ll know his Father, Derek, or the Ultimate Raver as his is more commonly known as. Derek attends all of Kevin’s events and even ones he isn’t playing at. Energy owes a lot of his Dad, “He is the reason why most promoters remember my name”.
Remember who got to him first, because in a few months I think you’ll be hearing a lot more of him, both with his writing and his DJ’ing. He is a fine DJ, no doubt about it, and if he carries on writing music of the same quality as ‘Hardcore Fever’, then there won’t be a problem. One of the youngest, and most promising for some years, and as you can gather from this interview one of the most enthusiastic.
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