Our Stories: Kacper Kurczynski

Aisling Kiely

Electronic Music Production & DJ Practice student Kacper Kurczynski – who produces under the name KASPA. has been named the UK Music Student Remix Competition Winner 2019.

Still busy celebrating his award, we caught up with KASPA. to find out all about the competition, and what he plans to do next.

First of all, Congratulations on winning the UK Music Student Remix Competition 2019, you must be thrilled. Before we get started, KASPA. Tell us, how did the competition come about?

Thank you, I still can’t believe it.

Well, myself and 12 other students from Spirit Studios, decided to take part in the competition and submitted our own remixes of Etherwood’s track, A Hundred Oceans.

A few weeks after submitting, I found out my track had been shortlisted for the final. I was invited down to TileYard studios to attend ‘The Remix Awards’ with my tutor, Danni Skerritt (aka Dirty Freud) and a few other students.

After the first awards had been announced, ‘Best Remix Arrangement’ and ‘Most Imaginative Remix’, I thought it’s time for me to go home. I’d accepted I hadn’t won and was going to go home empty handed.

The moment Etherwood called out my name, I was absolutely speechless. It was a crazy moment.

Well, it was certainly well deserved. As, Etherwood’s A Hundred Oceans is originally a Drum and Bass track, how would you describe the remix you submitted?

It’s a really slow, emotional song.  Originally, it’s a Drum and Bass track, but if you slow it down to half speed it becomes a Hip – hop track. I decided to turn the original into a type of hip-hop track with lazy drums, and a lot of swing. I wanted to focus on creating a vibe, so I tried to put a lot of emotions into the track using vocals to add to the overall ‘warmth’. Personally, I think it fit really well.

There’s definitely an atmospheric feel to it, that’s for sure. After you were given the stems, did you have a creative process when it came to working on the track?

First of all, I listened to all of the stems, start to finish. From there, I went through and picked out the bits I wanted to work with; piano, vocals and guitars. For me, the vocals and the percussion really stood out, so I chose to make them the main parts in the track. Once I had decided on this, I had a think about the style of the original track, and the direction I wanted to take the track in.

But, in terms of creative process, I didn’t really have one. I guess, I went into the competition just thinking it was a good opportunity to write a track with nice vocals. Once I had the stems, I had a feeling about what I wanted to do and just started to put the track together. I focussed on my own interpretation of original track, as opposed to trying to make a track I thought Etherwood, or the judges, wanted hear.

Aside from the remix track, how would you describe your overall sound as a producer?

I make most my music at home using just my laptop. I’d describe my music as mellow, chilled, and relaxing. I focus a lot on making my guitar the main instrument in my tracks and use an interface, as well as software plugins, to create a suitable tone.

Since you’ve been producing music, what would you say have been the biggest challenges?

Good question. Generally speaking, I’d say producing music is actually the biggest challenge. I’ve only being making music for around two and a half years, and had never stepped foot near a pair of decks until I started studying here.

But, in terms of the remix competition, changing the way I worked was definitely the biggest challenge. When it came to making the track for the remix, I worked backwards; putting the vocals in first and working everything else around them. Normally, when I make a track, I create a beat and then put the vocals in after.

As a result of winning the competition, you have won studio time with Etherwood, as well as various bits of gear. You must be pretty made up, right?

Definitely. Winning the gear, especially the Genelec 8030 speakers, will definitely help me further my production.

I’ve started writing a few bars of tracks, similar style to the remix, which I want to show Etherwood when we sit down together in the studio.

But, regardless of working on any tracks, it will be great to just sit down with him and learn some things. I’m really looking forward to seeing the way he works and produces but also to learn things about record labels and the music industry.

It’s been a great couple of weeks all round for you. You’ve just released a new single on Spotify, too.

Yeah, it’s a Lo-fi hip-hop track called Soon, really slow and mellow. I tried to be a bit a more creative with this new track in terms of percussion, arrangement and so on. It’s definitely more experimental than my usual music.

So, KASPA. you’re coming up to the end of your degree soon. What’s next on the cards?

Graduating is definitely a bit stressful, but I’m excited to see what happens next.

I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I’m always planning my next move, and working out how to get bigger and gain a bigger audience. Even when I’m not working on any music, I’m always thinking of new ideas, strategies and networking.

 

Thanks for talking to us KASPA. and we can’t wait to see what else you have up your sleeve.

Photo credit: Sound on Sound magazine/B-Side Project