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Q&A: Low End Theory's Daddy Kev Is Kind of a Nerd in Real Life 

Wednesday, Dec 1 2010
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While most of us were drooling over the latest Power Rangers episode in middle school, L.A.-based producer — and Low End Theory club night resident — DJ Daddy Kev was honing his DJ skills. With a badass appearance, fearsome talents, and a serious work ethic, the prolific Kev is what today's young producers should strive to be. His work with Daedelus, Prefuse 73, and Flying Lotus, among many others, has made Kev a tall figure on the L.A. beat scene. We spoke to him ahead of his show tomorrow at 103 Harriet with Zeds Dead and Knight Riderz.

Your party Low End Theory was recently nominated for Best Party in the U.S. this year by URB magazine! Congrats!
Yep, we actually won last year so hopefully we'll continue this winning streak.

Looking at your press photos, most of them make you look like you can kick someone's ass. What's something people assume about you that's not true?
That's a really good question. People think I'm having fun all the time. They think I'm in the studio all the time, when the reality is that I stare at spreadsheets and stand in line at the post office. Oh, and Excel sheets. Those things are 40 percent of my life. There's a lot of —

Waiting?
Yeah, tons of that. But it's all good. I mean, I do have fun, and accounting can be pretty fun.

I hear your studio is famously called the Echo Chamber. Sounds like a horror movie. While we're on the subject, what's your favorite horror movie?
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original. Actually, you know what? Back up. I'm gonna have to go with Psycho. The story of Norman Bates always gets me. The dual personality.

So why is your studio called the Echo Chamber?
It creates the echo effect — they actually make rooms called echo chambers. They can make mazes of audio capture. It's kind of like an audio term. I've moved studios a couple times, but stuck with that name.

You started the label Alpha Pup with wide array of artists. You personally have had many releases on different labels. When did you say "fuck it" and start your own label?
I just got sick of having to deal with all these punk-ass labels. I've dealt with a handful that was cool, but for the most part it was just a sham. Ten years ago, when you did get paid, there was no relation to what it is today. It was like they were making stuff up on a Microsoft Excel document. I ran into that scenario many times. With underground rap music there were no options; it wasn't pretty. After those stints, I was working full-time as a producer, then moved to Sony, and then after that, I left. Then I realized there was a huge void of independent labels. So we began and distributed differently from the very beginning.

Imagine a party full of paraphernalia and strippers. Who would be the key people from Alpha Pup in that party scene?
Well...that's a theme that's commonly used in the nightlife scene. But we're kind of like Revenge of the Nerds in real life. We're not really like that. I mean, these guys would rather play videogames. I don't think most of those dudes have ever been to a strip club. With that said, it's funny how successful how some of these people have become. Again, I'm not like a jock or anything, I don't know what's going on with sports. I'm [more] into like, 'What's new with PHP?' than the Rose Bowl.

I was listening to "May Baleen." It reminds me of ocean and beaches.
Yeah the vocals on that track are done by the singer of Islands and Mister Heavenly [Nick Thorburn]. And we recorded that whole record in Maui.

That's awesome. What's your favorite ocean animal?
Oh, I would have to say the sea turtle.

Another creative song title is "First Things Last." As a writer, there were a bunch of possible interpretations in my mind. What does it mean?
The night I wrote that song, Myka 9 just got of jail and it was awesome to see so much built-up energy within him. It was just meaningful. He was so hungry to record. We laid it down two days after he got out.

Since you're going to be in S.F. this weekend, what are you looking forward to?
The food! One of my favorite places is Marnee Thai. That's where I will be Friday night. The food in the Bay is awesome. Every town I go to, I become a huge foodie. When it comes to Asian food, I take it really seriously.
Fri., Dec. 10, 10 p.m., 2010

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Christina Li

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