Stefan Kozalla’s sense of humour shines through his work.
As DJ Koze, the Hamburg-based artist has spent 15 years carving out his own weird space in electronic music, filtering kaleidoscopic pop oddities, pristine soundscapes and technicolour workouts through his mischievous charm. Starting out in Germany’s fledgling hip-hop scene as part of the Fischmob click, Kozalla soon turned his hand to melodic house and techno experiments. Recently, Kozalla mixed the landmark 50th edition of DJ Kicks, placing tracks from the likes of Portable and Freddie Gibbs alongside Star Trek actor William Shatner. We called up Kozalla to fire a bunch of silly questions at him, and it turned out to be a great idea.
What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid?
Tom and Jerry. I liked the over-exaggerated brutality.
What was the last book you read?
The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle.
What’s your signature recipe?
Steamed salmon with a little bit of wasabi and som tum.
Who’s your favourite comedian?
Who’s your favourite person to follow on Instagram?
I don’t have Instagram but if I did, maybe Damon Albarn. I’m not gay at all, but a little bit I could imagine with Damon Albarn. He’s a nice guy and he has a good attitude.
If you were trying to seduce a potential lover, what music would you play?
Chet Baker or Billie Holiday.
If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be?
George Clinton… And Hilary Clinton. [laughs]
Do you have a no.1 fan?
I had some stalker, but they are not so focused on my music, they’re focused on my body!
Out of all the tracks you’ve ever recorded, which is your least favourite?
There was a remix for German rap group, Fettes Brot I think it’s called, and I’m happy that it’s in the trashcan of history.
Would you go for a beer with Kanye West?
I’m not so sure, if he asked me it could be interesting. But if I could choose another hip-hop artist, I’d rather choose Kendrick.
Have you ever shoplifted?
Yes, of course, I love it. You don’t have to pay the bill, so you can go a get a drink or something with the money instead. It’s a really convincing principle, I don’t know why everybody doesn’t do it.
What’s your favourite drunken snack?
Udon soup. A pizza is also good.
Do you have any regrettable tattoos?
I have a tattoo with magic ink. So if I’m naked you don’t see it, but if it’s neon light my whole body is like a Yakuza.
And you regret it?
I don’t really have problems with it because I don’t have neon light in my home here.
Have you ever been arrested?
Not really, I never stayed overnight. But the police caught me when we made some silly things when we were young and we destroyed cars on purpose, or made damage in the city. It wasn’t so nice because my father was an attorney, and he didn’t like the police cars in front of our house. It was embarrassing for him.
Have you ever had a nickname?
My artist name is my nickname. My surname is Kozalla, and then they called me Koze.
While we’re here, what’s the correct way to pronounce ‘Koze’?
Originally, it is Kot-zuh – really hard. But people changed it to Koh-zee. Then in Japan they say Koh-zuh or Kowze. Now I’ve let go, it’s wonderful, you can say it how you want.
Have you ever taken acid?
I never tried acid, because I had so much effect from trying other things that I thought it would destroy my brain. Strange things happen if I eat a special cake or something, I lose it totally.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do after this interview?
I’m going to take a bath, and try to hold my breath for as long as I can under the water.
Are you trying to break some kind of record?
I do it for two to three minutes, I’m trying to increase it. If you don’t hear from me again, then you’ll know I broke my record.