For the latest 1 More Thing podcast we join the dots between dubstep, garage and drum & bass with J:Kenzo.
The son of a DJ, brought up amid a rich culture of vinyl and digging, Kenzo’s musical inspirations go back as far as he can possibly remember but truly took root when he first heard jungle in the mid 90s… And consequently blossomed when he first became a DJ in the late 90s.
On a mission to “play music for the people”, J traversed the worlds of garage and drum & bass playing up and down the UK before being bitten by the then-burgeoning dubstep movement the mid 2000s and becoming part of the genre’s earliest generations of pioneers, pushers and protagonists.
Gradually honing his minimal signature, Kenzo became one of the most consistent artists in dubstep from the late 2000s onwards. With his weekly radio show on Rinse and releases on key labels such as Tempa and Dub Police, J:Kenzo became a key player in dubstep’s international explosion and found himself at the forefront of the US exodus as the genre rocketed to unparalleled EDM levels.
Dubstep’s underground credibility was compromised during this point, but Kenzo maintained his own rep and stayed dedicated to minimal heavyweight dub-wise music. One of the few first-wave artists who didn’t leave the genre at the time, J:Kenzo was part of a movement of ardent dubstep craftsmen who helped to maintain the genre’s deep roots and powerful cultural values.
Staying true to the deeper side of the genre, he found space to encourage and champion like-minded leftfield dubstep artists on his label Artikal Music and bring in other elements and influences in his own productions… Including his original passion for jungle and drum & bass.
As dubstep has found its original foundation spirit once more, and started to develop a flourishing new generation of artists and fans, J:Kenzo remains on the forefront as relevant and inspired as he was back in the mid 2000s. Only now he has a whole other depth and duality to his output as he also runs a fine line in jungle records.
Chatting to 1 More Thing’s Dave Columbo Jenkins on the eve of his release on Goldie’s Metalheadz (a label he’s coveted since his teens and never thought he’d release on) J:Kenzo takes the time to tell his story with more depth and detail than any other interview he’s done before. Enjoy!