Jey Kurmis has been in the game for over a decade. During this time he’s released profile-raising floor burners on top labels like Hot Creations and Moon Harbour.
At the end of 2017 the Leeds-based DJ/producer dropped “Es Est” via ON IT Recordings, which set dance floors ablaze all over the planet. The fiery slab of tech-house has since been remixed by peers Mihalis Safras, Toni Varga, ONYVA, and Mark Holmes, who we cajoled into interviewing Kurmis exclusively for Big Shot.
In a revealing interview, Kurmis tells Mihalis Safras that witnessing a DJ set by Dirtybird boss Claude VonStroke inspired his production career and musical ethos.
“I was out in Leeds around 11 years ago and I heard him play a track of his called ‘Deep Throat.’ It was so wild and creative,” Kurmis recalls. “I didn’t know music could be designed to sound like this? He inspired me to start making music and try and make it quirkier and stand out.”
Read on to learn how Kurmis approaches creating his tracks and how living in the countryside influences his tracks.
What do you like the most: Being in the studio or on tour?
— Toni Varga
I love being in the studio, but being able to play music out on the road and trial run all the tracks I have made or promos I have received wins it for me. I appreciate all the time I can get to be in the studio, but if it wasn’t for touring and gigs it wouldn’t feel as complete, as I want to share my sound and style with everyone. It’s very exciting when you drop fresh tracks from the studio out on the road and collect the feedback from the crowd. It’s almost an inspiration in itself to make you keep producing.
What inspired you to become a DJ/producer?
— Mihalis Safras
It was Claude VonStroke. I was out in Leeds around 11 years ago and I heard him play a track of his called “Deep Throat.” It was so wild and creative. I didn’t know music could be designed to sound like this? He inspired me to start making music and try and make it quirkier and stand out. It was DC:10 when Tania Vulcano was playing and the sound was really cool and crazy. It was from then I fell in love with music much more and invested in some Pioneer decks. The best decision I ever made!
What’s your favorite track you’ve made so far and why?
— Apollo 84
I always fall in love with new tracks that I have made and the newest one’s I have to date are called “She’s Baking” & “Snoop.” So currently these. I think it’s because they are fresh. For released tracks I would definitely choose ‘ over’ because I still play it occasionally and when I do it still gets an awesome reaction from the crowd. I really enjoy hearing it after all these years too which is the cherry on top. A more recent one is “Jessycat.” It’s great playing it out and watching people mouth the words, such a good feeling. I’m proud of this track.
Is it cool being a viking or do you need a day off from time to time?
— Mark Jenkyns
Are you kidding, it’s the best! Ha. I do have days off from being a viking, yes, even though it’s in the blood. On these days you find me acting more like a cowardly custard, walking, eating, documentaries, films and everything else. When I act viking, you find me eating raw veg and table legs while making some beats. Mark, you are due to be a viking soon as well on this collab we are doing. Watch this space.
How do you usually start a track? Is it the hook/melody or the groove that has priority in your workflow?
I don’t really in particularly have a way of starting a track. I usually start by rounding up a tough kick with lots of EQ and compression. From there it’s whatever I fancy really. I think maybe most of the time I gather hi-hats and a clap, and develop a catchy bass from there. But all these are strengthened or even replaced to make the bass roll. As the track is developing that’s when the more creative side comes out when I feel I can build in a hook/melody. The groove on my tracks comes from the bass and the percs layered within but these are all tweeked throughout the process.
How are you finding life in the countryside compared to Leeds city centre? Has it helped your creative juices in the studio?
— Mark Holmes
It is much better living out in the sticks, being able to get away from the city life. I’m enjoying waking up and looking out over the hills and breathing in the fresh air. So it has helped me being creative. I have some great EPs now in the pipeline being released this year and have many unfinished projects awaiting completion. Lots of exciting things to come. Plus lots of good Sunday dinners to be eaten over this way too. Next EP is three originals on Cr2 in May which is exciting.