10 Questions With… Kop-Z

10 Questions With… A series that delves into the musical careers of some of our favourite artists, local and afar. With a particular focus on our Melodic Distraction friends and wider community, this lil natter gives us an insight into their musical escapades when they’re in their studio, not ours. 

Ahead of his debut live set at Manchester’s The White Hotel later, we chat with an artist making some serious waves; Kop-Z. Playing at the exciting first instalment of ‘Smooch Soundsystem’ hosted by Lintd and Porter Brook, we find out more about what to expect…

Hey Kop-Z, we’re super excited for your performance at Smooch Soundsystem this Saturday. What can we expect from your set?

Hey, I am really looking forward to it also 🙂 it’s an honour to get the chance to play The White Hotel alongside some really talented artists. To be honest I’m not sure the direction it will go in either haha. It’s a set built on a lot of randomness. One of the core ideas I’m exploring with it is complete and open freedom. But I guess you can expect a lot of glitch out sounds, breaks, ambience and noise.

How did you first get into music?

I’ve always been a fan of music since I was young, from my dad’s Joy Division, Prodigy and New Order CDs in his car, to my mum’s love of various African reggae artists and 90s pop. I feel this took me down a strange musical path growing up, first listening to a range of rap artists as a kid, to the more Americanised form of Dubstep on UKF, to then falling in love with the more technical and sludgy side of metal. I didn’t actually start producing my own music until I discovered decks and dnb when I was 16, and quickly gave up on my idea of doing environmental sustainability as a uni course and took a music course instead.

Who are your biggest influences when it comes to music production?

I think in modern times artists such as Aphex Twin and Autechre have really left a mark on my work. Their forward thinking nature and lack of rules is something I think is extremely important in all forms of art and expression, in my opinion at least.

Can you tell us about your most recent releases and the ideas behind them?

I have my ongoing bandcamp self-release series. Every element is done by me, from the artwork to the mastering, promotion and the tracks themselves. I believe this really allows me to explore my creative vision and what is important to me as an artist.

Alongside this I had a release on Nic TVG’s label Pinecone Moonshine. This is a label I have had a lot of respect for and really like the creative use of breaks, vinyl sampling and textures used throughout all the releases. This is something I tried to explore myself in my 5 track EP ‘Fading Light Above Us All’, which was released back in January.

What’s your take on the Manchester music scene? Are there any up-and-coming artists on your radar who we should know about?

I think there is a really healthy music scene in Manchester, with a lot of artists pushing a lot of boundaries. There’s many nights mixing genres and styles together in really cool ways. I think this is really important as it pushes more and more people to try new things, which influences others to do the same. Although there still are quite a lot of samey nights about, maybe if more clubs took more risks with the nights they host it would be even better?

There are quite a few artists doing some really cool stuff in Manchester, some of my favourites are Porter Brook n Lintd (obvs will see them tomorrow haha), Ship Sket, Earl Grey, Dirty K and Flames Disperse.

Also a seriously talented DJ, what’s been your favourite event to play so far? Dream artist to play alongside?

I think so far the most fun event I played at was the Manchester Carnival in summer alongside DJ Soyboi and FKA Hardcore. It was an honour to get to play an event with such historical and cultural importance to the city I’m from, and also really cool to play on the pick n mix soundsystem. Big ups to Atlas and K Super.

How have your experiences of the music industry been? Have you faced many challenges and if so how have you overcome them?

You know what, I think the music scene is cool and it’s the best feeling meeting like-minded artists who can change your perspective on a lot of things. Although I don’t always like the unreality of the modern world and social media, I think this has also brought in a lot of people who try to take advantage of artists but I guess that’s what business is ?

I think this is a problem with a lot of industries and the modern world in general. This also ties back to many problems we face in society. I feel growing up working class and mixed race also brings its own hardships when trying to pursue a career as an artist, which I’m sure many people in the scene will agree with.

What was the last record/tune you bought?

It was some weird ten track pre-hardcore album at the Oxfam charity shop in town. I’m not sure where it is and I can’t remember the name. I also bought a scarf 🙂

What does a Soundsystem mean to you?

I believe a Soundsystem is an extremely important concept and physical thing. First of all, it powers the rave and allows you to dance all night with like-minded people, whilst also being extremely important historically and culturally. It is something which has stood as a way for people to put aside their differences to unite through soundwaves, whilst also being a key form of resistance and freedom.

What do you have planned for 2023?

A few bits and bobs. Got an EP on the way following a more ambient 170 vibe. Work further on the live set, hopefully get some more releases down as well as DJing out more. As I have just graduated uni, I want to try and use this year to experience life outside of education and use it to learn and experience more. Wish the best to all artists grinding and doing the same 🙂

Join Smooch Soundsystem at The White Hotel this Saturday with support from Kop-Z, soundtracked by Dr Mystery and hosted by Chandé. Get your tickets here and check out the poster designed by Shannon from Admin X Lily Kennedy below!