“Kuosa” & UltraVulgar Jounalism – The Interview Begins
Quintin Goynes | UltraVulgar
First Author: Kate Rakvic, tellallyourfriendspr
1. When and why did you start playing?
Kuosa: I started playing when I was 10, my older brother introduced me to heaps of different music especially 80’s & 90’s punk and I loved it… I loved everything from punk to pop really, I’d lay in bed at night listening to the radio trying to record my favorite songs on my walkman and wanted to play it just seemed like a natural thing to want to do… I’ve never really thought why I began, I just loved music!!
2. Which instruments do you play?
Kuosa: I play guitar and piano, I learnt guitar first when I was 10 and piano later when I started producing. Electronic music and the process of writing is largely based “around” the use of some type of key-board or sampler so I think that skill just comes about. I still write a lot of my music on guitar and use [a] piano to recreate them into a more electronic style on my computer.
3. What was the first tune(s) you learned?
Kuosa: I first learned Everclear – Santa Monica, it was super easy and Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple I’m pretty sure everyone guitarist learns straight up!!
4. Is your family musical?
Kuosa: No, not really, they all like listening to it and appreciate it, but it wasn’t a massive part of our family growing up.
5. Describe your family member’s musical interests and abilities,
Kuosa: No one else plays any instruments in my family… Both my Brother and Sister have always loved listening, my bro would take me to concerts when I was young and all that but they are happy just listening!! Mum and Dad don’t really listen to much music at all, “mum” occasionally will mention a song she heard and likes but that’s about it….
6. Which famous musicians do you admire?
Kuosa: Ah, there’s a lot, I think the very first and main ones still to this day would be Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits Frontman) and David Gilmore (Pink Floyd)…but, I admire new musicians every day, and find inspiration in so many artists and just people in general, from all sorts of professions!
7. Which famous musicians have you learned from?
Kuosa: As in learned their music from sheet music? I’ve never meet any famous musician that taught me personally… But when I first started, I would learn sheet music by Dire Straights, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton… mainly guitarist I liked, and I wanted to write punk music so would learn a lot of music by bands like Blink-182, NOFX, Lagwagon etc…
8. Who was your first teacher? Other teachers?
For a month or two, I went to a family friend and he would show me songs to play and I had friends who started playing around the time I did so we would learn new stuff and show each other… But never actually had lessons for any instruments.
9. Describe your first instrument. Other instruments.
Kuosa: My first Guitar was a Fender Strat model, but a fake one, we couldn’t afford the real thing. I played that for years and eventually got a Gibson Les Paul and these days play a Fender Telecaster (a real one now) and have a Maton acoustic guitar! Piano wise, apart fro a few second-hand organs I sal-vaged from junk piles… I have only ever owned midi keyboards…
10. What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
Kuosa: Basically, every awesome memory I have involves music… But things like my first band (which was called Two Odd Socks ha), we use to jam in my garage or my mates back room and those days were unforgettable, and my younger days going to concerts with my older bro… there is nothing I would trade for those memories.
11. Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?
Kuosa: Well, yeah. I was an 80s baby and a 90s kid, so we didn’t have mobile phones or even CD’s ’till I was older, so for a while that’s all I had… the few records or tapes my parents had been given or bought like The Beach Boys, Lou Read, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac… there is still something about those bands that in my opinion has been lost these days…
12. Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CDs?
Kuosa: This could potentially be a really long list but to keep in as short as possible… the top 5 would of all time would be… Band New, NOFX, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, Strung Out…and more…Recently” artists like Frank Ocean, Flume, M83… my all time favorite album is Pink Floyd – ‘Dark Side Of the Moon…’
13. Have you been in competitions? Fleadh’s? Any prizes?
Kuosa: I haven’t been in any competitions… Like the battle of the bands once when was in high school (we didn’t win)…but not competitions as I’ve been writing under Kuosa or more recently.
14. Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions? Concerts, radio, TV?
Kuosa: Yes, every weekend I do shows, mostly DJ sets in and around Sydney…occasionally I’ll have a vocalist with me and do a more hands on a live set, but for the most part is DJ-ing…I play anywhere and everywhere from chilled Bars to bigger Night Clubs, I even play at a mates restaurant, there’s no show I wouldn’t consider doing… If It allows me to play music and spend more time making it then I’m all aboard!
15. Do you play for dances? Step-dancers? Describe the differences.
Kuosa: As in dance groups ? I don’t play for any groups or step dancers no… Night Club setscrew will dance, but the only different from my chilled “sets” to big club shows is the style of music, I still try to bring make any show I do interesting and fun!
16. How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
Kuosa: I think growing up playing in bands helped me a lot on that front, if I make a mistake I just keep going… I guess Dj-ing doesn’t leave as much room for error, but you can always recover from a mistake, don’t get me wrong it freaks me out but letting it stop or ruin a whole set is pointless… shit goes on right!
17. Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?
Kuosa: Yes absolutely, the bigger the show, the more nervous I get… so yes, I definitely get nervous all the time!
18. What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
Kuosa: Practice. That is the best way to combat nerves (if you know your music) know the songs you want to play or mix and practice enough; then, nerves become just a part of the process… everyone gets nervous, it’s how well you have rehearsed that determines how you deal with nerves I believe!
19. Do you attend sessions? What makes a good session?
Kuosa: Songwriting sessions ? I write music with and for different artist[s], so yes, I often have songwriting sessions in the studio. An open mind is always good, without an open mind you won’t try half the things you should, and often it’s the mistakes or places you never normally go where you find the best material.
20. How often and for how long do you practice?
Kuosa: I practice my live sets a few times a week; sometimes more, I am always testing out new songs, try-ing to find new mixes. And my guitar is always about so I play that most days…
21. What do you practice – exercises, new tunes, hard tunes, etc.?
Kuosa: In a DJ’s sense, I test new songs, see what could work with other songs (what sounds and mixes better and from a guitar and piano perspective) I just sit and songwriter mostly… I stuff about and figure other songs out but yeah mostly songwriting.
22. Do you teach music?
Kuosa: No, not really, I try who my niece and nephews but they are still quite young.
23. How do you balance your music with other obligations – mate, children, job?
Kuosa: Music is my full-time job so I tend to write during the weeks and gig on weekends…I help a few other artists with production and songwriting so always have something to do…But I make a lot of time to catch up with mates, I spend most of my time with my mates and family, it’s good to keep a balance when you can. They’re months when I have more shows than others and won’t see anyone for weeks, but friends and family are more about quality over quantity, aren’t they !! And no Kids for me yet!!