JOZEF K is one of the main residents for Sankeys legendary Tribal Sessions, playing across London, Manchester and Ibiza.
His journey to success as a DJ followed the once traditional path from the dancefloor of his favourite club to becoming resident, learning his trade week in week out to achieving the global success he is enjoying today. Since winning best newcomer at the Sankeys awards in 2014 he hasn’t looked back and he continues as resident for Tribal Sessions and was recently asked to record the Hot Mix for Pete Tong’s global All Gone Pete Tong show joining the biggest names in dance music.
Jozef’s productions both solo and with Winter Son have been well received across the spectrum of tastemakers. He’s just finished recording his debut solo album and the first of his solo tracks was recently played on BBC Radio 1.
We caught up with him to find out more and to see what the summer season has in store for him, plus you can listen to a special set he has given to us for The Night Bazaar Sessions which was recorded recently at Tribal Sessions at Sankeys Ibiza.
You have said you felt an instant connection with dance culture when you went to Sankeys for the first time. Was it primarily down to going to Sankeys which set you on the path to success in terms of the influence it had on you as both a clubber and DJ?
I wouldn’t say primarily as I was heavily into music at the age I first attended Sankeys and believe I would have found my own way no matter what. The direction and guidance the club presented to me from a young age both by attending and playing influenced me greatly though. In Manchester it was the most important club at the time and a lot of people have gone onto great successes from there, a lot further than me! I definitely felt a strong connection from the first time I entered the club, I remember thinking ‘this is a bit of me this’.
The route you have taken is the more traditional journey of becoming a DJ learning your craft as a resident. How important do you think this is, especially in terms of mastering the art of DJing and do you think it’s something that is in danger of being lost?
Ha ha! I like this question, it sounds like DJing is an ancient martial art form, ‘traditional journey of becoming’! It definitely taught me a lot about how to play appropriately for whatever situation I find myself in. Also being judged by international DJs week in week out from the age 19 added to the pressure! Yeah it’s definitely being lost man. Make a big tune and that’s all you need, but I guess there’s some of us still pushing the DJ route, just not that many! To be fair I’m constantly producing at the minute so I’m kind of pulling away from the total ‘DJ only’ perception I once had. I had my first solo Radio 1 play recently. I’ll always be a DJ first though, it’s what I do.
Greg Vickers was a big influence on you. Are there any young up and coming DJs that you feel like helping out? Is that something you would do if the opportunity arose?
Will A is fucking mint from Shanghai, I’d like to see him do well as he deserves it and I’d help him out for sure. I’m always running over to the booth asking for track IDs when he’s spinning!
Greg Vickers is a fucking legend, He’s my favourite person to play b2b with.
You must feel very proud not just to be a resident for Sankeys but also of the brand itself doing so well in Ibiza and becoming one of the top party venues there in such a short space of time?
Oh yeah definitely it’s mega! Saw an old Facebook post from a few years back about the opening party. Sankeys has grown quickly to become one of the best clubs in Ibiza.
Can you tell us about this season and what you have coming up on the island?
Currently I’m sitting on board the millionth Manchester to Ibiza flight of the season and tonight I’m playing Eden for Faction x Magna Carta. Upcoming Ibiza shows I have are 15th and 29th July and 5th August in Sankeys for my Tribal Sessions residency and another one for Faction x Magna Carta on 17th August.
You also have a tour of China coming up. What’s it like to play there and do the people there react to the music with the same enthusiasm as in other parts of the world?
This coming November will be my fourth time playing there. When I first played China I was quite apprehensive as to how the crowds would respond to my music. However I found them to be really easy to play for and I feel quite open and free to take them on a journey across a variety of styles. This is in contrast to the UK where sometimes the crowd only want to hear one sub-sub-genre of house from the 20 varieties I’ve brought with me, which can be frustrating but reading the crowd is rule number one.
With such a hectic summer season when you get some down time what is it you like to do away from the music to relax? Where is your chilled space?
I’m really into meditation so I can find my chilled space quite easily. The other day I was in the middle of a huge wrestling mat on the top floor of an empty gym. It took me years to establish the skill properly but it was definitely worth it and I recommend it to anyone. I’ve found that it reprogrammed my brain to have an overall calmer outlook and also be better equipped to deal with stressful scenarios. It can also be very restorative; when you arise out of it, the feeling is like starting again.
You have enjoyed great success producing music with your production partner Winter Son. What are your highlights releasing records together?
The first release on Sasha’s label kicked it off and that was just fucking amazing to get picked up and release on there.Since then Tribal Rhythm on Kim Ann Foxman’s Firehouse was a big highlight that got played by so many huge names! Also of course the Acid Test record which was also with Tin Man. That is one of my favourite ever electronic labels. Still pinching myself over that one.
I hear you are working on a solo album. Can you tell us a bit more about this and when we can expect to hear more?
I’ve had so much good feedback on it from names I have the upmost respect for (which was mental). I just need someone to bite now and sign it. It’s me being as absolutely honest as I can be on a record, spanning house, jungle and ambient. Release date will be when (if), someone signs it.
3 years after winning the best newcomer award at Sankeys, It’s fair to say you have been firmly welcomed into the wider global scene outside of being Sankeys resident not least with the mixes for BBC Radio 1 and providing the hot mix for Pete Tong’s show. Do you stop and reflect on things very often or are you just focused on keeping moving forward?
Well I’m literally moving forward right now on this plane haha! But nah not really, all in a days work and always buzzing for the next thing.
‘The past is the past, you can look at it but it won’t change’. A quote I often consider and I think applies here from Matthew Farrimond.
Finally can you give us three non dance music tracks that are special to you?
Fuck that’s heavy! OK, here’s 3 but I’m not giving any back story, I’ll leave it up to the listener to create their own.
Shadow – Let’s Get It Together
Cocteau Twins – Persephone
Nina Simone – Black Is The Colour Of My True Love’s Hair
Follow Jozef K on facebook.