Get to know: Drunken Kong
The duo give us the lowdown on Tokyo's scene and their new album, The Signs Within.
Japanese duo Drunken Kong is the meeting of melodic minds between D. Singh and DJ Kyoko. The pair first collaborated in 2010 and have steadily built a name for themselves as ones to watch worldwide with a constant flow of releases of Tronic, Terminal M and Session Womb and more.
A heavy production and touring schedule have resulted in the pair gaining a growing global audience with shows as far flung from Israel to Amsterdam over the last twelve months.
Supporting the likes of Christian Smith, Monika Kruse and The Advent, it’s hard to believe Drunken Kong had their first show at the end of 2011 and have positively snowballed in the industry ever since.
With the release of their new album coming out late September and their Egg LDN debut just around the corner, we caught up with them to see how they’ve adjusted to life on the road and what’s next on the horizon.
Tell us where ‘Drunken Kong’ came from and who is behind the moniker?
DRUNKEN KONG is the project of D. Singh and DJ Kyoko. We are based in Tokyo Japan.
Living in Tokyo, what’s the techno scene like out there at the moment? Have you noticed an influx of EDM over the last few years?
Techno scene in Japan has been slowly changing. We have been seeing more underground techno parties growing here. EDM is still big though both in Japan and other parts of Asia.
Your new album ‘The Signs Within’ (Tronic) is coming out at the end of the month. How do you approach producing a track considering there is two of you involved in the process?
Well when it comes to producing, I usually do the first sketch. I make random loops with different feelings to each. After there is a few ready, I sit down with my partner Kyoto and we listen to each one of them. Whatever fits best with our concept at that time, we start working on that loop and add more elements.
The album includes remixes from techno heavyweights The Advent, Reinier Zonneveld and Mark Reeve - how did it feel listening back to your tracks reconstructed by other artists?
It’s really amazing to see such great artist remixing our tracks. To see which parts of the original track, the remixer used and how they used this is very interesting for us. We also learned a lot from this. The remix pack is a great honor for us.
Prior to ‘The Signs Within’, what was your relationship with Christian Smith and his renowned Tronic label?
We first met Christian a few years ago when he came to play in Tokyo. Since then we have been keeping in touch and we started to release music on Tronic. It's a great honor for us to be able to work with him and Tronic. It’s really amazing!
We always have a lot of fun when we hang out in Europe or Japan. He is also our mentor and always gives us feedback on our music. It’s amazing that you can get feedback from an artist like Christian Smith!!
What’s your studio set up at the moment and how do you both continue producing whilst on the road?
Our studio setup consists of both digital and analog hardware. We like to mix both software and hardware synthesizer so we have a feeling of both. When we mix down our tracks. We also do the same, using software and analog outboard units for EQ and compression.
We usually don't work so much on the road. We might make simple loops if we are inspired at the time but we do the final work once we are in the studio.
The U.S, Israel, China, Korea, Japan, Australia, France, and Amsterdam are just a handful of locations you’ve played in but what draws you to the London underground music scene?
We are very excited to be playing in London!! We have heard so many good things about the Techno scene in London, so this was definitely one of our goals. Really, really happy!! :)
How do you both prepare for a DJ set? Can we expect a live set anytime soon?
When we prepare a DJ set, we usually have a bunch of tracks that we go through. We pick the ones we like and we organize this into a folder. We would maybe decide on a few tracks to start our set with but after this, we just go with the flow and see what happens!
We usually don't do live sets, but we are slowly thinking about this, since we now have a good amount of tracks, it will give us more flexibility in different time slots and environments.
What three tracks would you consider ‘peak time’ tunes and why?
Christian Smith and Harry Romero - Power of Future
(Tronic) DRUNKEN KONG - The Rhythm (Tronic)
DJ Boris - To the Metal (Transmit Recordings)
What’s the rest of the year looking like for Drunken Kong?
After our Europe tour, we have some gigs confirmed in Japan. In December, we are working on an India Tour in December and our resident party INTENTION at Club WOMB. We also hope to be back in Europe!