Kevin Knapp: be patient, be present and be dope

Today Radio Intense had pleasure to talk with remarkable Kevin Knapp!

US-native Kevin Knapp is a leading figure in the contemporary house sphere, having cemented his standing as a true heavy-hitter with recent releases on Cuttin' Headz and Repopulate Mars.

The house legend returns to Crosstown Rebels six months after his last appearance with the three-track Dancing With The Devil. Detroit's 'First Lady Of Wax' DJ Minx features alongside, serving up a standout remix of the title track.

We talked to Kevin about his new release and other projects. Check it out!
Hey Kevin, great to have you with us today ahead of your upcoming 'Dancing With The Devil' release on Crosstown Rebels! First off, how are you doing and whereabouts are you based at the moment?
— Radio Intense in the building!!!! Thanks so much for taking the time to have a chat with me. I'm doing great. I'm currently back in Berlin where I landed a few hours ago. I've been in the states the last month, filming a music video with my mom and her motorcycle as the lead, finding a wedding venue with the future in laws, playing Dirtybird Campout, and where I somewhat accidentally bought a house.
'Dancing With The Devil' (out 12th November) marks your first solo release on Crosstown Rebels, having previously appeared on the label collaborating with Audiojack. What can you tell us about 'Dancing With The Devil'?
— Sometime last year I was tooling around on the net looking for an acapella and I found this ripper of a vocal from an artist that simply asked that he be informed if you decided to use any of his work. I was immediately drawn to the indie rock nature vocal as I always secretly look for opportunities to wed that part of my music past with my current dance music passions. Through a series of conversations, he decided he loved what I'd done with the record but it was outside of his brand and the hip-hop direction he was headed so he told me I was free to put it out and sign it if any labels showed interest. The guy is such a talent, I suspect it won't be the last time you hear me using his material.
As well as the aforementioned collabs with Audiojack, you've also released in the past on Crosstown's sibling label, Rebellion. What's your relationship like with the Crosstown family and what's it like to have their continued support on your music?
— First off, I love that Damian loves the track. I've been friends with him since like 2007 and he's always been a joy to kick it with, every time our paths cross. It was an organic road to get here and I feel like it's part of the natural progression of me with the label. To me, Crosstown and Damian have always been a benchmark for quality, since my personal early days of being into dance music actually. I feel honored that my music has reached a point that I can add to their formidable stable of releases. At this point I've done everything with the Crosstown family but release a solo EP. It feels like it's the right record, at the right time.
Your releases stretch back over a decade now and, alongside your distinctive vocals for yourself and others across the years, have cemented you as a mainstay name in the scene. We'd love to hear some more about the backstory of Kevin Knapp from the early years, when and how did you first set off down this path and what was it that led you to it?
— I've always been into music since I was a child. As early as 8 years old I remember myself and Baby Luck, who appears on my Rebellion release, choreographing and performing dance routines for our parents - once they were a pliable audience after a few bottles of wine. I sang classically for years through high school and part of college, and eventually landed in San Francisco in 2000 where I discovered a robust dance music culture that I was instantly attracted to. In 2001 I started law school and offered to take care of a set of Technics 1200's for a friend who never came to collect them for like 3 years. That started a dual career path that did not really end until 2019. As you may have guessed, music won out!
2021 has been another huge year for you musically, releasing on Crosstown Rebels, Cuttin' Headz, Repopulate Mars, Kultur and more. How has the year been for you and how do you feel about where you are right now as an artist?
— I am super excited about where I'm headed as an artist. I've finally gotten to the point where I can string several strong releases together in a row and I feel that's super helpful for career momentum. Working solo has been quite helpful in that regard as it gives me a lot more flexibility to make decision regarding release timing etc…. As well as choosing what labels I'd like to be working with. The year has been good, and I think that my move back to America at the beginning of next year might be just what I need to take it to the next level. I am super appreciative of where I am at though. I like to try and focus on living in the present, and things are beautiful and blessed at the moment.
— Returning to gigs has been a special moment for many artists across the scene following their absence through the pandemic. What was it like for you to return to the decks finally?
— It's been ridiculously great. The thing about me is, I'm a bit of a performer. I've been feeling like a supernova on stage, I can barely contain myself.
With the experience you've gained over the years, what would be your most valuable piece of advice to give to an aspiring artist?
— Be patient, be present and be dope. Find your unique selling point and lean into it like Bubs from The Wire on a street sign. Give it everything you've got.
Kevin, thank you for chatting with us today! Congrats on this latest release and an overall great year to date. To round off, is there anything else on the way from yourself soon that you'd like to share with us?
— There are more releases and remixes in the works and look for me on the American festival circuit next year as I return home after 9 years in Berlin. It's about to go down!