Q. I’d like to start things off by asking you; were there any particular songs, DJ sets or parties that initially sparked your interest in underground dance music?
A. I got involved with djing at a very young age through an older friend who was a mobile dj. I used to tag along to parties and this led to me learning how to beatmix on the 1200’s. Back then, I was heavily influenced by anything 4/4. In particular the acid house sound; piano riffs and 303’s. Artists like Adamski, Mr Fingers and 808 State played a huge part in shaping my taste. I also developed an interest in hip hop and turntablism and had a keen eye on artists like Ice T, Public Enemy, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Eric B & Rakim and finally the Jungle Brothers who had managed to cross over to the housier sound whilst maintaining their roots. As the years went on, electronic music was becoming much more advanced and complex and alas I found my groove in the realms of the progressive sound that was pouring out of the UK and Germany.. Artists like Timo Maas, Quivver, Deep Dish, Guy Gerber, Mike Monday and Chab all amazed me, and continue to amaze me to this day. If I had to pick one mix CD it would be Global Underground 021 – Deep Dish Moscow
Q. You’ve been a regular DJ at the Prognosis gigs in your hometown of Melbourne, Australia. Have you played interstate?
A. I used to live in Sydney back in the late 90’s and so I did play at a few clubs, but as far as touring goes, no.
Q. Are you satisfied with playing local gigs or would you like to hit the big time and go international?
A. Im extremely satisfied with the gigs I’m playing locally because crews like Instinct and Substance allow me to express myself musically and let me drive my sound. There’s nothing I hate more than being told what to play.. I guess its a DJ’s nightmare 🙂 I don’t think there’s any dj’s who wouldn’t like to hit the international circuit.. And now with the internet revolution, the previously near impossible task of getting yourself out there is a thing of the past. Someone is ALWAYS listening.
A. I was introduced to Deanna Avra a few years back by a mutual friend and we instantly connected musically. She went on to host a show on innervisions called Emotions which to this day I am a regular guest on, and have been able to get other local talent like Mish’Chief, Simon Murphy and J-Slyde spinning regularly. As far as friskyRadio goes, its been a long long climb to being able to lock in a monthly residency. I first met Ingo Vogelmann back in 2010 when I was working as A&R for an aussie label and had signed him to do a remix. Our relationship grew over time and I was asked to partake in his marathon 8 hour monthly show “Lightworks”. That led to several other guest mixes including the “feelin Frisky” series, “Mind the Gap” with Marc Pole, “Frisky loves Australia” and the highly regarded “Artist of the Week”. Finally, I was asked to join the team in April 2013 and currently host my own monthly show “prog:steady”.
Q. You are one third of the group “The Chunky Fuckers” (also here), with Adam and Jayson Holden. In your DJ sets you are well known for playing a mixture of progressive house and techno. Yet your production efforts thus far have been on the housier side of things. Is it safe to say your favourite genre is progressive house and do you plan to dabble in other genres for your future outings?
A. As dj’s we like to play edgy progressive/techno, and are strong believers in taking the audience on a journey. I guess we’ve been labelled as progressive djs, and in a sense we are. Progressive in the journey, not so much in the genre. I like to refer to our sound as dark and driving. Production wise, we released our 1st tune back in 2010 and are still in the process of finding our groove as producers. The more tunes we make, the happier we are with the sound. Its been a massive learning curve and still is. Our latest releases on Movement Recordings and Mesmeric have been on the progressive techno front and I think that’s where it’s at.
Q. Elaborating on that, what DO you have planned production wise?
A. I’ve recently finished an original with friends Aaron Static and Verve that we’ll be releasing on FutureForm Music, the label I’m currently working with. I’m in the process of sourcing remixes at the moment. Im really excited about the release as this is the direction I want to go genre wise. Chunky Fuckers has taken a well deserved break, but we’re back dj’ing again and I’m sure the studio will get a work out soon enough 🙂
Q. Do you see yourself sticking with making tunes for the long term? Are there are other creative outlets that interest you?
A. Music is my passion and pretty much consumes my entire life. It’s my 26th year behind the decks this year and if I’m able to continue making or playing for another 26 I’ll die a happy man 🙂 I guess I don’t find the time for other creative outlets because I never get bored of the tunes haha
Q. Thank you so much for your time Herc, and for being the first interviewee on Underground Sound!
A. Thanks John 🙂
Listen to Herc Kass’ latest set here: http://www.undergroundsound.com.au/herc-kass-emotions-with-deanna-avra-25-may-2013/