by Sara Skolnick
This Friday, March 22nd, PICÓ PICANTE returns to Good Life to showcase the boundary-pushing #KUNQ collective, featuring Rizzla [Fade to Mind], Blk.Adonis, D'hana and False Witness and the lovely Nicholle Pride to host the evening.
Signed to Kingdom’s Fade To Mind imprint, newly Brooklyn-based DJ and producer Rizzla's unique sound links diva-centric tracks with the darker side of dance music from around the world. Featured on Red Bull Music Academy and Boiler Room TV, his MDMA-fueled revenge fantasies have drawn a global cult following. Rizzla anticipates a busy spring with shows around the country and several upcoming releases, such EP's with False Witness and Blk.Adonis, and a solo EP upcoming on Fade to Mind.
What is #KUNQ? What are the common threads artistically between you and collaborators and family Blk.Adonis, D'hana, False Witness and Micah?
KUNQ is our personal hybrid of Queer, Punk, Cunt and Crunk – a globally informed, queer take on bass. With our production and dj sounds, as well as Micah's take on hip hop, we've been working with sounds from all around the world, in beats somewhere between hard house, vogue, soca and urbano.
As a transplant from Boston, how does your new Brooklyn environment influence you musically?
It's really exciting having the URL meet the IRL. I've had the chance to play some incredible parties, including a residency at Ghe20 Goth1k. Brooklyn folks love new sounds, but we were all definitely incubated in Boston's underground.
RIP Nu Life, your three-year running party at ZuZu with D’hana. Do you have plans to create another party in New York?
While I've been focusing on getting my feet wet playing parties other people have put together, there is a new party in the works with Mixpak's Dubbel Dutch that will explore the new sounds we're creating, as well as all the new styles developing around the world.
As a producer and DJ, your aesthetic pairs dark club elements with contrasting melodic styles of the likes of dancehall and soca. What kind of environment does this create for your audience?
I love mood swings in the club; I don't want to be loaded up with simply party jams all night. Merging something happy like soca with the darker sounds of say hardstyle is a way of expressing both my complicated influences as well as an international musical culture that exists online.
Your mixtape for Dis Magazine, Portia Nuh Play, was an homage to newly-elected Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller openly supporting GLBT legal protection. What social issues do you aim frame your past / upcoming releases around?
Everything I make tends to have some sort of social story whether it's apparent or not. PNP was an attempt to recognize musically a moment of discourse in Jamaica unpredicted by foreign watchdog groups. Having spent time in the Caribbean as an artist and student opened my eyes to the complicated issues surrounding GLBT rights there, and I try to celebrate artists and public figures who are changing these dynamics, like Portia Simpson and Tanya Stephens.