With a new single out on Jamie Jones and Lee Foss's Emerald City label, we meet the boy from Malaga to talk inspirations and aspirations
Born and raised in Malaga, Spain, Felipe Jimenez Gálvez - better known as Kuo Climax - was initially a lover of the hip-hop and R&B his parents played at home. But he discovered electronic music in his early teens, and has been smitten ever since, playing and making music that falls loosely under the tech-house umbrella, and running his own label/events brand PIER 4.
In 2013, he launched his production career with The B-Boy EP on Spanish label Sanity. Since then he's gone on to release on many respected labels including Cray1 Labworks, ViVA Music, Knee Deep In Sound and Innocent Music, and his music has found fans in the likes of Marco Carola, Joseph Capriati, Nicole Maudaber and Timo Maas.
His latest single is Tomorrow, which comes on Jamie Jones and Lee Foss's Emerald City label, and whose accessible, main room-friendly title cut is accompanied by a dirtier, more underground refix from Dennis Cruz. With the single just landed in stores, we grabbed him for a quick chat...
Can you tell us a bit about your musical background: how you first got into dance/electronic music, when you started DJing and producing, etc?
"I was around 10/11 years old when I discovered electronic music. But it wasn’t until I was 14 when I started to go out to parties. In Málaga they had various music events for minors, and it was there I met a DJ/promoter called DJ Bruno. We became good friends, and in his free time we liked to go out to parties. Sometimes we would also stay home at his house, spending hours and hours learning to mix. A few years later a new club opened for minors, called Sala Makumba. There was a small chill-out room for 50-70 people. This was a dream for a 15/16 year old! To enjoy the music that I loved with my friends in a club… I will never forget it.
"After a few years playing in several clubs in the city, I got my first residence in a gay club in Torremolinos, called Home. There I met my great friend Tato Sanchez, who's one of the people who has taught me the most in my career - I have a lot of respect for him. I progressed to producing music as I wanted to experiment with different sounds and styles. Creating my musical identity was a really important step for me."
What other DJs and producers have inspired you the most?
"There are many producers and DJs who have always inspired me, but without a doubt I have a special respect for an American producer Jesse Perez. He is an artist who always gets the perfect mix of all the styles that I love: hip-hop, breaks and electronic music."
Do you see yourself as a DJ who also produces, a producer who also DJs, or are you equally committed to (and good at!) both?
"I have progressed over the years from DJing only to producing a lot of my own music and edits, and this has become part of my style and sound, and a signature to my DJ sets. In a nutshell, I love both!"
What's in your studio setup?
"FL Studio 12, Yamaha HS-8 speakers, a Roland Tri-Capture interface and Roland ED PC-300 MIDI controller, and VSTs from Arturia, LennarDigital and D16 Group."
For a fairly 'new' producer, you're had music out on some well-respected labels: ViVA, Innocent Music and now Emerald City. That must be quite a nice feeling, so early in your career?
"The feeling is just incredible when you sign a new album. Today, producing music for such important labels is sometimes very difficult when you try to do special things without following the rules of 'the music that sells'. This is why I am so proud of my work, I'm doing the music that comes from my soul, on respected labels such as Avotre or Knee Deep In Sound."
How did you come to hook up with Jamie and Lee?
"Jamie and Lee approached me for the Emerald City EP. I was super thrilled. I remember opening the email from them before a gig one night in Milan - I won’t forget that moment!"
You're from Malaga, which isn't exactly a hotspot on the international circuit compared to places like Ibiza, Barcelona or Madrid. What's the scene like there?
"The scene in Malaga is quite important. There are great promoters and clubs working to make the city an ideal place to enjoy electronic music. Passion is the club I play at, and the guys there are contributing a lot to the scene. Recently they have been nominated for best club of Spain (of less 900 people) in the Vicious Music Awards 2016.
"PIER 4 is leaning on the tech-house style, with artists such as Jamie Jones and Luciano playing there. The other promoter is Decoded, that bets on techno music, bringing artists like Adam Beyer or Nina Kravitz."
Ah yes, PIER 4, which is your own event. It's described as a "new proposal that has decided to venture aims to combine the work of label and promoter"... tell us a bit about that?
"PIER 4 has been created by a group of friends with the idea of creating a concept which we feel really identified us on a musical and personal level. This same feeling is what we transmit to our followers. In turn it reaches them and transmits back to us. We're working with people like Oxia, Wade, Shlomi Aber, Rich Nxt, Proudly People, Luciano, Nic Fanciulli, Gonçalo, Steve Lawler, Pirupa, Miguel Galvez, Jamie Jones and Jesse Perez.
"Residents Wade, Proudly People and I started PIER 4 with a dream that has become a reality, and we're very much looking forward to 2017. Watch this space for more to come!"
Words: Russell Deeks
Tomorrow is out now on Emerald City