Kamaal Williams, South-London spearhead of the UK’s contemporary jazz scene, takes us through some of his favourite tracks from his DJ Kicks: Kamaal Williams mix for !K7 Records.
Kamaal Williams is the latest artist to contribute to the much-loved DJ Kicks series. The mix is the 70th instalment of !K7 Records’ DJ Kicks series and features four of Williams’ own exclusive tracks and hints at the global influences that have made him one of the most prominent musicians of the last few years.
House, broken beat, soul, hip-hop and of course jazz all permeate the mix, which captures the full spectrum of his work as both Henry Wu and his acclaimed live alias Kamaal Williams. Today Williams breaks down some of the key tracks from the mix.
“The main aim of this mix for me was to give praise and pay my dues to the forefathers, the originators London’s underground scene,” says in a statement accompanying the album. “From the likes of Dego, Seiji and Steve Spacek, through to contemporaries like K15, Tenderlonious or myself, it’s about connecting the lineage and giving respect to the creators – those undervalued heroes of this British dance landscape who deserve more recognition today.”
Read Williams explaining his track choices below and revisit our review of The Return.
“A couple of weeks ago I called Budgie and he’d just got back from Wyoming, he’d been at Kanye’s house for three weeks producing his album, Jesus Is King. Kanye heard Budgie’s gospel remixes and edits, samples etc… and was blown away that this kid from west London knew about tunes Kanye hadn’t heard since he was eight years old. Man’s not jumping on the hype though; I selected this tune way before! It’s a personal favourite! Budgie’s dad used to run Honest John’s (the record shop) in Ladbroke Grove so he knows good music. We hung out in LA earlier this year and trust me, he can hang!”
"Kanye heard Budgie’s gospel remixes and edits, samples etc… and was blown away that this kid from west London knew about tunes Kanye hadn’t heard since he was eight years old"
Snitches Brew (Live In Atlanta)Kamaal Williams
“Man rocked up in Atlanta, heard the saxophone, made the call and next day it’s Cartoon Network, fishes, fish food… and we’re on the wave. Big up Marlon Spears, Greg Paul, Quinn Mason and Jitwam cause that Adult Swim session was a vibe and Snitches Brew (Live In Atlanta) evidences that (hopefully).”
Summer MadnessKarriem Riggins
“I can’t remember the sample but having just come back from Brazil this feels appropriate, even though I selected this before going and falling in love with Sao Paulo. Kaeriem Riggins is one of my favourite drummers and out of respect to him I needed to include him on this mix.”
“Seiji is like my half Asian brother or my cousin that never was… he’s one of my favourite producers from the UK and this track is so dutty. I don’t know how anyone can programme drums like this. This came out on Reinforced Records, original jungle… I don’t even know what you call it but it’s a really aggressive track and he’s the sweetest guy on the planet.”
Hey ThereSteve Spacek
“Steve is like a father figure for a lot of us in the UK. For someone from Forest Hill to be invited to go to Dilla’s house and work with Q-Tip, Raphael Saddiq… legendary. I remember hearing his album about five or six years ago, thanks to Mo Colours. We didn’t know about his more house-y beats. I realised he was a genius and we’re good friends now. Hey There also features an 18-year old Thundercat on bass, way before anyone knew about Thundercat, how about that?!”
"He’s got German rock mixed with fusion, funk and jazz"
Two Tens MadamKaidi Tathem
“Kaidi is another one of my favourite producers of all time. As a keys player, in the two worlds he was in jazz and then house, brokenbeat etc… that was always what I aspired to follow; the linking of those two worlds, electronic and live, and Kaidi was one of the first people to do it like the way he did. He’s always been so welcoming and open to me learning from him, making himself available, and I was so honoured when he did a remix for me in 2015. I remember when I got it in my inbox, hearing how he’d interpreted my music, it was a really, really special day.”
He's So CrazyWbeeza
“He’s a living legend from Peckham. When I first started making music he was already touring the world doing sets and he does something very unique with his own productions. It was really inspiring seeing someone from my area doing well in that world with house and techno. To be from where he is, doing it how he is, is really inspiring. His drum programming and the soulful elements to his production, there’s not many in south London doing it like this, trust me.”
DJ Kicks: Kamaal Williams is available to buy and stream on Bandcamp now.