AHEAD of his performance at the next Tectonic night, Kelvin 373 sat down with Herald Radio to chat about his music career so far.
Kelvin Wright began his musical career from an early age, and has been hugely influenced by the underground free party movement, attending and performing at some of the biggest festivals, teknivals and free parties across the UK and Europe.
Residing in Bristol, Kelvin has quickly established himself as a popular name on the UK underground circuit, as well as frequently working as tour DJ for Dubwise and Hip-Hop artists such as Gardna, Buggsy, and Eva Lazarus.
When it comes to the music, Kelvin co-runs his own label Born On Road and has been making big waves with his distinct Reggae/Dancehall/Jungle influence. Kelvin still manages to remain eclectic with a mix of genres and BPMs and is known for whipping any dancefloor up into a frenzy with a blend of quick mixes and big basslines.
He has current releases on a handful of popular labels such as Chopstick Dubplate, Necessary Mayhem, Born On Road, Joker Records, Subslayers and BBL recordings.
Kelvin told us that the first vinyl he bought was a seven inch copy of ‘Police Officer’ by Smiley Culture.
“I picked it up when I was around 14-years-old at a second-hand record store on Kentish Town High Street,” he said.
“After that I was given a stack of Breakbeat records that I used to play at 45rpm so that they sounded like Jungle.”
Talking about how the free party scene influenced his sounds, Kelvin 373 said: “Some of the first places I got a chance to play records in public was at free parties.
“I’ve always been quite confident in my sound but from an early age, I remember really having that ‘Drum ‘n’ Bass in your face’ attitude. Anyone playing any sort of techno, trance or house was getting shut down.
“Me and my mates would run round festivals sabotaging generators and cutting cables off any rigs playing music that wasn’t Ragga, Hip-Hop, Garage or DnB. Looking back I laugh, but I’m also quite ashamed. I have a much more open mind to music nowadays and still regularly play at free parties.
“Lots of my close friends make all sorts of different free party sounds and although it’s still not really my thing. I find it really inspiring and love watching them DJ. Their sound tears up dancefloors all over the world. The energy from the crowd when they play is amazing.”
We then asked the DJ how his first ‘big gig’ went.
“It was 2004, I was about 16 years old and I was living in the mountains in the south of Spain. I used to visit a place called Orgiva and it was hosting the Dragon Festival – one of the largest free festivals in Europe. The festival attracted Soundsystems and ravers from all over.
“That year was a big one! There were around 40 Soundsystems and easily 20,000 ravers. I had a friend called Lee, he had brought over one of the biggest rigs that year, a huge stack of Function One called Manic Soundsystem.
“I was still quite young at the time and didn’t have a clue about beat matching or even what it was. All I knew was that I loved playing records and I wanted to be a DJ. I had just got back from London with a pile of fresh DnB records and somehow managed to convince Lee to let me road test them on the rig that night.
“Luckily I’ve learnt to mix now and have had the opportunity to smash it out to some pretty big crowds; some of the most memorable being NYE warehouse raves in Bristol and The Lions Den and Sector 6 stages at Boomtown festival.”
Kelvin 373 will be headlining the main room at the next Tectonic night on December 8 at Astoria, Milford Haven.
Supporting him on the night will be Rogue One with MC Ellis Dee, Spectrum, Damage, Charly Says, CNS Collective, Turk & Twitch-E, and Raw.
Danny Slade will be headlining the second room with support from Mark Muller, Escher, Taz & Crow, Smiler & Turk, and Kinky Beatz.
MCing across both stages will be Dubba Beatz, Zanda, Smiler, Crissy D, Kross Sektion, and Teej.
Only £8 on the door, this is a night you do not want to miss!