Exclusive Interview: Konnect

Hey Konnect and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions for drum+basics!

Let’s start with an introduction for those who don’t know who Konnect are…

Konnect are 2Shy MC (Gary) and Promo ZO (Zoe) on production.

You have both been involved in the dnb scene for a long time I am guessing since I have seen your names on flyers and mixes from years ago – how did that start for each of you? 

2Shy MCLong story!! But I first started MC’ing at house parties in late 1991 then moved onto many different pirate radio stations from 1992 till 1999. I played at events from 92 onwards and then I became a resident MC at Fabric in London at the end of 1999-2000 and have performed out on a regular basis since then. I have worked with most DJ’s through the years and have been the MC of choice for the likes of Andy C, Noisia, Loxy and The Prototypes to name just a few.

Promo ZO – I initially started working for promoters and venues in the late 90s. I then got brave enough to MC and eventually spin tunes on pirates as most of my friends were on one station or another around the early 2000’s. It’s only when I began working with Pyro Radio that I had an official DJ name “Pyro ZO” but the gigs were very short lived back then as my career progressed into the offices of record labels and nightclubs leaving me little to no time for it as a vocation. Strangely though, I returned to the airwaves as “Promo ZO” when I was working in Club Promotions at Ministry of Sound and hosting shows on MOS radio. Regular Kane FM guest mixes soon followed and now I broadcast weekly on Bassdrive.

1 Mc and 1 DJ – are your different backgrounds something that matters when you are making music or are you approaching it as ‘just’ producers?

Promo ZO – I guess we do take into consideration things like the structure of a track from both the DJ and the MC’s perspective, I think it would be hard not too. But if something just works musically then it can.

2Shy MC – The fact that Zo is a DJ means that she brings the rolling element to the table and I always concentrate on trying to leave some room for an MC to work on in a club environment. This music has been going for so long now that there is a structure to making a track whereas back in the day anything went as there were no rules. Although tracks are getting shorter and shorter nowadays so the structure has changed ever so slightly. But we are both aware of what ingredients need to be thrown into the pot to cook something up.

How did Konnect come about?

We started as Konnect really when we were both in the studio collaborating with friends. Using 3 or more names on a project just seemed a bit too much so we decided on Konnect when we were both present as a duo. From then on we got to work on our “duo” productions together as Konnect.

Have you made music separately as well or is this something you will do in the future?

We have.

Promo ZO – I put out a self release late last year called “The Truth” and have been working on some other bits too, some of which have been picked up on, including something called “Pretty Drunk” that Nicky Blackmarket has been supporting. I will continue to work on solo projects going forward as I feel that it allows for more artistic expression.

2Shy MC – Obviously I have released a fair bit over the years as a vocalist and done collabs with other producers on numerous labels but I haven’t released any of my solo productions as yet but there are quite a few bits sitting on the hard drive now so who knows! If a track gets a bit of interest then I’d be up for releasing a few solo bits.

You are now making music together; was this a natural progression for you or something that you never thought you would do together?

It was a natural progression really, we have both separately held an interest in producing and both have dabbled here and there but we either didn’t have the time or opportunity to put more focus into it.

Promo ZO – My first Music Production or Music Technology course as I think it was called then was back in 2002 at Point Blank when they had just started out. If it was an option for me when leaving school I would have taken it, but those courses didn’t exist in college back then.

2Shy MC – I had always wanted to go to Point Blank too way back in the day but the opportunity just wasn’t there, now learning music production is more accessible and during lockdown we decided to give it a go as there was not much else to do to be honest. I’ve always been slightly apprehensive about doing it in case it made me listen to the music differently and knowing the secrets might make it lose it’s magic but that definitely hasn’t been the case. It’s nice to be able to express my mood via beats.

Promo ZO – We do pretty much everything else as a team so it is only natural that we’re producing together as a duo.

Who is doing what?

2Shy MC – We both do a bit of everything. It’s just vibes that we work off really, we never go in the studio knowing what sort of track we are going to attempt to make. We take it in turns just jumping in the driving seat and playing around and basically catch a vibe and run with it.
We’re learning as we go so there are no rules with us and we don’t have a specific sound which is nice as it gives us the freedom to experiment.

Promo ZO – Yea that’s generally how it goes. I’m also the one who reminds us to actually save the project and with a proper working title and version number that we might actually remember! Seriously important stuff. Gary is a really good sample hunter, so I have to give him that.

What is the hardest part making music together?

2Shy MC – Deciding who’s gonna make the next cup of tea lol. We have been fortunate so far that we have both been on the same page when making a track so we haven’t had to compromise on anything yet. If we were making a track and on completely different pages regarding where to go with it we would just release it as a solo artist project.

Promo ZO – Yea or stick it in the bin, that’s the beauty of it really. If one of us is feeling it we can choose to go solo on it or not. The hardest part? Finishing something!

Do you have a studio and/or what is your set up?

We have a very simple home studio set up which consists of an iMac loaded with Ableton, a typical Scarlett Soundcard, M-Audio Keyboard, JBL reference monitors and Senheisser headphones. We’ve converted a storage cupboard into a sound booth which is mostly used by Gary to record vox and have the addition of Zoes DJ/Radio rig with KRK monitors to cross reference tracks.

Your latest release is out on Conjunction Recordings on the 12th July – BIG! Really loving the tunes and the Kent theme (one tune is called Margate) – what can you tell us about this release and the work behind it?

These tracks were some of our first productions and we were literally just on a vibe with both of these. Being fans of a certain TV Series and of a Kentish sea-side town it would have been rude not to have gone with it. So Margate was born and it has become a “WuW Crew Anthem” for Zoe’s regular Bassdrive show listeners.

Promo ZO – There is going to be a point soon where I just can’t wheel this one up anymore! LOL! Six Foot Deep is a roller on a kind of shady vibe and works really well in the mix.

2Shy MC – Margate was just a vibe really, we went with it and decided it was just a dub for Zo to roll out but it got a really good response and was getting wheeled up on Zo’s radio show every single week with people asking when it was being released. Conjunction Recordings came in for it so the rest is history. Six Foot Deep is just a gritty roller that does the job. Jungle pads and Sound system clash samples… Job done lol

Where do you find inspiration and where do you get the track names from?

I think we both get inspired by interesting samples and often track names naturally come from those, that’s certainly the case with Margate.

Do you guys remember your first dnb/jungle rave?

2Shy MC – My first was an illegal rave in 1991. I can’t remember the name of it, it was in South London and I was reluctantly dragged along by a few friends and once inside I was completely blown away by the atmosphere/lasers etc and from then on I was hooked and raving every weekend without fail. Coming from Peckham in south east London I was a regular at Lazerdrome as it was literally on my doorstep. I was lucky enough to attend raves up and down the country and fortunate enough to party in some of the most iconic clubs and venues, most of which are no longer around.

Promo ZO – Mine would have been a good bit after that, I think maybe 94/5 in a field in Kent with some old mates, not a clue what it was I just remember there being a room in a barn covered in egg boxes and flyers and another plot with a bouncy castle in it! Kent was also blessed with both World Dance and Atomics and we would road trip to London to Camden Palace and the Island Ilford. We were spoiled and it’s all a bit hazy!

The pandemic has hit a lot of people in different ways – how have you guys coped and what can you share to help others?

2Shy MC – To be honest I didn’t find the first lockdown too difficult other than not knowing when I could get out to work again and the fact that we knew very little about what was actually happening regarding the severity of covid. The first lockdown is when we started making beats so it gave me something to focus on. The 2nd lockdown was a bit annoying as it was all beginning to drag and I was struggling to find my mojo to write lyrics or make beats as the inspiration was simply not there. 3rd lockdown I was deflated but ok mentally. I was and still am really annoyed with how the hospitality industry has been treated and left out in the cold whilst everything else slowly returns to some sort of normality. It’s been challenging mentally, emotionally and financially but hopefully we are now turning the corner regarding it all.
We were lucky that we had each other to bounce off and something new to put all our energy into.

Promo ZO – Yea we have definitely coped by trying to hone in our focuses onto the music. I have been so blessed to have my weekly Bassdrive radio show which has kept me in some sort of routine and the listeners aka the WuW Crew have been so great and super supportive. A creative outlet of anysort is a help when you are stuck indoors, or if you can get outside in nature and just sit even better. Just be good to yourself and each other in these kinds of situations, it’s the only way until the crappy times pass.

Raves are FINALLY starting to open up (fingers crossed) which I am really looking forward to – what are you guys looking forward to the most in terms of the music scene?

2Shy MC – I can’t wait to just see people enjoy themselves again. Upon our return I think we’ll see a lot of new artist names popping up on events and some of the more established names will be chomping at the bit to get back out there and do what they do with a new found hunger. I think the scene will be thriving once it comes back as there will be soooo much new music floating about that has been held back through this pandemic. I’m looking forward to it.

Promo ZO – OMG! Getting back at it and being with people properly, restriction free! I have been lucky to have played a few so-called “sit down raves” but that is an oxymoron in itself isn’t it! So getting back to business, standing the hell up, dancing like crazy, playing our tunes out and hearing them on a big soundsystem and watching the scene bloom.

What is next for you; both as Konnect and also as 2Shy MC and Promo ZO?

For Konnect, following our debut release of Margate & Six Foot Deep on Conjunction Recordings we have something coming out on a popular underground label near the end of the year so we’re excited about that! We’re continuing to work on tunes and get them out there so hopefully we’ll have more release news soon.

2Shy MC – My diary at the moment is pretty full now that promoters have been given the green light to start putting on dances again. So hopefully it’s business as usual on the MC side of things. As for voxing tracks, I’m always busy in the studio putting vocals down with producers and a few releases are lined up for later this year and 2022. There are also a few other projects in the pipeline as well.

Promo ZO – I can tell you that my sights are already on 2022 solo release wise! So I’ll be excited to share that with you as and when. As for shows, One7Four Festival in Amsterdam, Moondance in St Albans and a London date on New Years Day. DNB Brunch, Sundayzed Afterparty and the Get Hype Summer Boat party are all lined up for this year.

Any famous last words?

Promo ZO – Out to all the Bassdrive family, each and every time! The full WuW Crew, we’ve kept each other relatively sane over this last year. Akas, Chris – The Prototypes, Teebee, Kim & Paul and all the Conjunction Recordings crew. And everyone supporting, it’s always super appreciated.

2Shy MC – Big up everyone that has soldiered on through these testing times. Fingers crossed we can draw a line through it and start moving forward again. Thanks to everyone that has helped us on this production journey whether it be lending us your ears, giving us tips or just words of encouragement. Big Up.

Thank you both and big up!

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