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Tere are some people for whom music is their lifeblood, continuously searching out new tuneage, discovering new technologies and playing live until their suitcase falls apart. Strictly Kev, aka Kevin Foakes, is one such geezer. An intrinsic and original member of the collective DJ Food, he’s been on the DJ scene for years and is still as cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce. He designs record sleeves for Ninja Tune on the side too. Sure. We all do that. Bringing his audiovisual set to Norwich this month, ably supported by Norwich’s own Te Boy With Two Heads, Kev took a moment to tell me about how he got that amazing pinball song from Sesame Street licensed and how much he loves technology.



How did you first start DJ’ing and getting into music? I got into music properly around the age of 10; my dad used to tape his favourite songs off the Top 40 chart countdown every Sunday. Eventually I was given a tape to record my favourites on to before getting a stereo system with a tape player in it for myself. I started DJing around age 15 but only with one turntable, basically teaching myself to scratch by copying the patterns I heard on hip hop records. It was a few years later that I got two turntables and a mixer, when I was 17, but I was doing pause button megamixes as far back as 1984. Te DJ Food project has been going for an amazing 24 years! How did it get started? Coldcut started it in 1990 along with Ninja Tune out of frustration at not being allowed to quickly release music on the major label they were signed to. It was a studio project – Food for DJs in the turn-tableist / scratch DJ manner – first of all. Tere are five volumes of Jazz Brakes from 1990-1994 that start simply and gradually find their own groove

before the project became more ‘artist-led’. Te original Brakes albums are really meant to be quite anonymous; everyone thinks that DJ Food is the artist but it’s as much a descriptive title as anything else. How do you find using Serato? It must have really enabled you in your quest to mix visuals and music live. Absolutely. I was very wary of the whole audiovisual thing for years after touring with Coldcut and seeing how much equipment and cost it racked up. It just wasn’t a one man show and I explored different avenues over the years but it always meant a second person would be needed to operate the visuals unless you wanted the equivalent of an iTunes screensaver. Serato changed all that in 2008 with Video Scratch Live and I was on the beta-testing team with DK (Solid Steel producer) up until they released it. We put together what I believe to be the world’s first 4 deck video set and did several shows in late 2008 and beyond with this new software. But Serato really invigorated my DJing; I’ve used it since 2006 now and, lovely as vinyl is, I wouldn’t go back

“I was doing pause button megamixes as far back as 1984”

38 /February 2015/

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