William Kouam Djoko: "It's my belief you need to stick what you can do and cater..."

Words by: Ralph Turner
Posted: 19/1/15 8:52
Interview with William Kouam Djoko

William Kouam Djoko has risen through the ranks quickly. Being a son of the Dutch scene, the house don has played most clubs in Amsterdam. Garnering respect from some of the heavyweight spinners in the industry WKD has never been one to rest on his laurels now being a firm member of the Mobilee tour party. Performing at Egg London for the Mobilee showcase on 24th, we sit down with him to look back on 2014 and what the New Year has in store.

Setting oneself goals are a necessity when you consider yourself a creative, I believe. 2015 will be more structured and more about applying focus...How was the last year for you - what were the highs and the lows?
Hi, thanks for asking. 2014 has been a very strenuous year with countless of ups & downs. On the global stage our world crumbled as the news of hate and violence spread coming very close to home. It impacted my perception of life greatly on a personal level. Artistically on the other hand I've grown, made a lot of new connections to new people and had a good year rising to new heights.

Will you aim to do anything differently in 2015; will you change things up or set yourself goals?
Setting oneself goals are a necessity when you consider yourself a creative, I believe. 2015 will be more structured and more about applying focus. Something I, at times, feels I lack. Luckily I have an amazing crew around me that is willing to guide me through this process. Now Trouw, a place where I had a lot of freedoms as a resident, is gone this means I've lost a valuable playing ground for new ideas and experimentation.

You have been in this game for a decade, what are some of the most important lessons you have learnt in that time?
It's sounds absolutely cliché, but what I tend to find is that people that last in this game are the one that stay true to themselves and work from their hearts. Keep it close to yourself and keep developing. For me these are key principles in finding joy and inspiration. Don't be afraid to be you.

It's sounds absolutely cliché, but what I tend to find is that people that last in this game are the one that stay true to themselves and work from their hearts...And how much and how have you evolved as a DJ and producer in that time? Do you feel more able to make the music on your head now?
Oh, I've learnt a lot. I mean a lot! I can be cocky about my own skill set more often than not. And out of the blue in comes someone or something you never heard off and tear that self-image apart. Being able to realise that I've been able to evolve and be at peace with what I don't know. Only yesterday I played the very first track that I released on a VA on the label Quagmire back in 2007. Production wise I came a long way from there. But now I understand I still have a long way to go it’s definitely gotten easier to create the ideas I have in my head.

How much as the Dutch scene changed? Seems more health than ever now - was that important in influencing you over the years?
Living in Holland is a blessing. People from all over the world love coming here and we have a culture, especially in Amsterdam, that is focused on stimulating creativity. I'm surrounded by producers, graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, record shops, fashion designers, rappers you name it. All within the confounds of that free thinking Dutch mentality. So yeah, that has influenced me a lot.

You also run your own night - Late Night Society - tell us about that - do you like being resident vs headliner? How different is it?
Hosting our own nights (with Boris Werner) was like having your own personal playground, like I said. Do I play the warmup set, do we play b2b or what slot do we give our guests? And when I'm responsible for a club night, I want everyone to have a great time, from dinner to end of the night. There's so much depending on the right vibe for a night. But then again, I'm just like that when I go play as a headliner.

I like making connections with the people I work with, be it promoters, club owners or crowds. It's easier to do when your hosting, I think because it's home match. It's teaches you how you can be of service to the night instead of coming in and expecting everyone to work for you.

What should people expect from you at EGG when you play there soon?
I'll be out with my Mobilee team. That crew has a special gift of coming to the dance-floor with a family vibe; making the night together. I've got a great time-slot, so I'll give it a lot of energy like I'm used to when I play. I mean I like to dance and have fun. And what I'm hoping for is to get that same energy back so we can synthesise back and forth.

It's my belief you need to stick what you can do and cater to the skill set you've been dealt. Owning a record label is not one of those skills...How do you prepare for gigs do you have a ritual or anything?
Usually a good shower and some push-ups when I feel like it to get the blood flowing. But having a nice dinner will do too.

Might you like to start your own label and bring through new talents any time you think?
It's my belief you need to stick what you can do and cater to the skill set you've been dealt. Owning a record label is not one of those skills. Who knows in time I will develop this ear and passion, but at the moment I have none such desires.

How do you like playing London? Do crowds everywhere react the same?
Last time I played in London the roof practically came down. Londoners like to give hell on the dance floor from what I've seen and I like it. Open minded and full of energy, which I think is great. Of course, different countries have different dance floor cultures, sometimes people go completely nuts with just a hi-hat being added to a straightforward loop and sometimes that just won't cut it. It depends. Luckily I'm flexible like that.

What else you got coming up/are you looking forward to?
I recently got signed to Liason Artists who will represent me in the US from this year on. I'm stoked about that cause it means soon I will go for my first US shows ever! Next to that I've been busy in the studio a lot, got a couple of remixes coming out and working on new original stuff.

If you could own one record no other DJ was allowed to play, what would it be and why?
Haha fun question, but no man... Music's not supposed to be like that. Keep sharing, keep giving, we need it; maybe now even more than ever.

LWE presents Mobilee London @ Egg London
Line-up here

William Kouam Djoko Online

 


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