Alex Kidd is a globe-trotting DJ who recently moved to Dallas from South Africa. Kidd was lured to the area at a time when the international club scene is taking interested in Dallas. With a string of releases and a three-decade career, Kidd looks to make Dallas his new home base for now.
Kidd brings a wealth of experience to his sets of what he calls minimal deep tech grooves. He has a deep knowledge of house and techno, but like any great DJ, his musical palette stretches far beyond the usual dance-floor fodder, reaching into the soul and funk sounds that tend to attract vinyl crate diggers.
Kidd often explores the finer aspects of technical DJing by playing four decks at the same time — basically using each deck as a rotating sampler to mix parts from all and create new music and unique dance floor moments. The technique goes far beyond the scope of less seasoned DJs.
You can catch Kidd settling in behind the decks April 25 at Beauty Bar.
How long have you been in the DJ game, and what drew you to the life?
I started DJing in the club scene in 1988 full time after practicing enough in my bedroom for a couple years on turntables, perfecting my beat-matching skills. As a kid, and coming from a musical family that were always playing records at home, wanting to be a DJ was a natural progression for me.
So you are recent arrival to the Dallas DJ scene. What drew you to Dallas?
Yes, I arrived in DFW two weeks ago again for the second time after initially connecting with Joe Mxmind and Yoshi Moto at the start of 2017 — both of whom had been following and supporting me enough to offer me a guest slot on the online radio channel called activesessions.fm run by Joe. Yoshi ran a regular show biweekly, which I gladly accepted due to Yoshi being a really close friend of mine. It was a very successful show in that the station ... record for the amount of listeners tuning in was smashed during first 20 minutes of our broadcast, which pleased everybody, of course. I was then asked to play four or five more shows after that, and each one of those shows ended up breaking the previous show's record with regards to number of listeners and countries tuning in to hear my MNML deep tech grooves.
Later that year, I was introduced to Chris Jungle and Miss CJ, who invited me to perform at their annual festival called Evarland, which I agreed to in June last year. However, I was not able to arrive then due to passport issues, etc., which I finally sorted and arrived in November last year just to come and meet them all and get a feel for the city.
I have always been aware, years ago already, how rich Dallas was and is with natural talent with their producers and DJs in the house/techno scene.
How is the scene in South Africa?
South Africa is a crazy-ass scene to say the least. I got involved in the after-hours minimal techno scene by teaming up with an old friend of mine from the Congo called Serge Bisingu. Together, we ran the only after-hours club in Cape Town, only opening our doors at 4 a.m., when the rest of the venues had to close due to alcohol laws preventing any alcohol sales anywhere in the country after that hour (which naturally came with its own challenges, i.e., being harassed constantly by the police every month).
However, there was a gap in the market for such a venue, which we saw as an opportunity to introduce my minimal deep tech to Cape Town, and they still can’t get enough of it. In fact, my partner is still running the club (when the cops aren’t harassing or fining him). A small price to pay to be able to open on a Friday at 4 a.m. and run it until Monday noon each week. Love it.
Are there any genres that you would enjoy playing out more often that you currently enjoy more as a listener or collector?
Yes, indeed, there are, and believe it or not, the first would be dub reggae and funk from the 1970s and early 1980s, which is pretty much all I listen to when I am at home. And the second would have to be that old-school proper house music, being a huge house-head myself in the 1980s and 1990s.
How often are you traveling for gigs nowadays?
Well at the moment, it’s around every seven to eight weeks to a different country and in between. I’ve decided to make Dallas my home now, where I am hoping to have an opportunity to be able to share my German minimal deep tech flavor first due to that’s actually where I was born, so I have a strong German influence with the music I play and produce, and then some of my South African vibe as well, being that’s actually where I grew up as a kid into a young adult. The deep house roots mixed with the minimal deep tech DJ I have evolved into at this stage of my life really complement one another perfectly and is a unique combo, which has kept me busy and still evolving 30 years after I began this journey.
How was this mixtape made, and was there a theme behind it?
This mixtape was made live at 6 a.m. in Mykonos, Greece, a few weeks ago, and the theme behind it has to do with a crime of passion between a man and his wife (I open the mixtape with an actual 911 call made by the husband after taking his wife’s life) and finding forgiveness through God. Now I know it may sound heavy, but it’s my way of making people aware that it’s a real problem in newlyweds who are involved with substance abuse. It is meant to be shocking so it’s remembered.
Do you have a preference between DJing or production?
I will always choose DJing any day of the week. I am known for long sets — 67 hours is my current record, which was at my farewell to the club I was involved with in Cape Town prior to coming here. I am currently perfecting my new DJ style I’ve been working on using four CDJs and two turntables in that I am looping sounds I hear at that moment from totally different artists' tracks on each CDJ, thereby creating my own grooves, which are always unique, once-off creations with an organic sound from the vinyl I drop over those loops to give that
specific groove I’ve just created some texture and a rich, warm bass line.
I very seldom play entire tracks anymore, to be honest, unless I only have two CDJs. Then I make do with what I have. I still loop the shit outta them to give it my version, I guess you could say.
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What is your musical background before DJing?
My folks forced me to have piano lessons as a young boy (which I despised, I must be frank). But nonetheless, obviously, I appreciate it — I can’t even describe how much now as an adult in my 40s. It’s definitely given me a very big advantage with regards to that natural feel for blending tunes together and knowing which tracks fit and which don’t. Also, it’s made producing or remixing a lot easier to understand and do, as you can imagine.
Do you like to dig for new tunes?
You know, I used to be the biggest crate digger. Anyone that has been around me from the start will testify to that, and in fact, I ended up collecting over 23,000 vinyls in my life. But in saying that, the way I am currently DJing and messing around with stems, I have found I am looking less and less for tunes to use while I DJ. But now I dig for tunes that speak to my soul more — like the dub reggae and funk or old Curtis Mayfield styles.
What was the most significant musical experience you have had in the past year?
Well, last year I ended up spending nine weeks in Europe unintentionally after flying from Cape Town to Germany but not being able to connect to my Dallas-bound flight due to my German passport only having a few months left before expiring. I was told I can’t enter States en route to play at Evarland, so I ended up going to Berlin, where I played at Festival in the Park [and] The Suicide Club and drove to Rostock, which is up north of Germany and on the coast, to get away from the madness I experienced whilst in Berlin, only to find as we arrived at the beach house, right in from of the house on the beach was a tech house beach festival busy being set up. I ended up being asked to play a two-hour set at around 6 p.m. to 2,000 people for free as I hadn’t been booked, obviously, which I was more than happy to do, and it was probably the most amazing sunset I’d ever experienced.
2. Butane — "Dancefloor Brethren"
3. Legit Trip — "Ne Destupen"
4. Ordinary Subject — "Rabbit Hole 03"
5. Dance Spirit, Audiofly — "Down the Rabbit Hole"
7. Men — "Too Drunk To Talk"
9. Jozif — "Good Man"
11. Hugo — "Little Helper 226-1"
12. Legit Trip — "Little Helper 307-5"