Welcome back home Kevin, it’s been some years since you first left Hawaii,
Q: Can you give us some of your background as a Club DJ in Hawaii?
Kevin: Sure, I started Djing for Jack Law at the Wave and at Hula’s 1991, but things were a lot different back then. Clubs handled promotions in house, so when you got a gig at a club it was a full time gig with health benefits and time cards. We would DJ 4 or 5 nights out of the week for 5 -7 hours every night. Today most venues book their nights to outside promoters who usually book a DJ to play for only a couple of hours, so if you ask someone actively DJing today the same question you would get a list of various bars and clubs.
I also worked at Radio Free Hawaii when they first started. I held down a mix show briefly that was aired at 5PM on weekdays, which was a very bold move on their end.
Q: What was that like, House and DJing in 1991?
Kevin: Well back then, there weren’t a whole lot of places to play or hear house music at, and as a DJ you had to play a very wide variety of music (mostly commercial). Luckily, I like a lot of different types of music.
Keep in mind that when the term “house” was coined house music that we know it today was non existent. There were no drum machines back then. House was a term used to describe the type of music Frankie Knuckles was playing at the Warehouse, which was quite eclectic – everything from The Clash, Gamble & Huff produced Philly soul records, obscure Italo Disco, etc.
Q: And shortly after you moved to San Francisco , Chicago, and traveled around, can you name some of the djs you played alongside?
Kevin: In SF, I played with Patrick Wilson for the Nu Life party and David Harness would book me to play at his Taboo parties. I DJ’ed with Larry Heard aka Mr. Fingers a few times, as well. A couple of names from Detroit I DJ’ed with are Brett Dancer (who runs an excellent record label called Trackmode), Alton Miller and Mike Clark. And everybody knows Felix (FLX) out here who happens to be one of my closest friends.
Q: And Patrick Wilson who is known to be the man for the Deep and Soulful House sound in SF will be here in Hawaii this month and the two of you DJing together again. Can you tell us a little bit about him and Djing with him?
Kevin: Patrick started as a professional dancer for Sway and Tech when they were rappers. He traveled all around the world probably back in the late 80’s, early 90’s and got exposed to House music while touring, and as a DJ, people like Marques Wyatt, Ron Trent, Tony Touch, and Louie Vega book HIM. He’s what you call a DJ’s DJ, and as far as DJing with him… he has a way of bringing the best out of you.
Q: Nice. So give us some names of venues, parties, any residencies that you spun?
Kevin: As for venues in SF. Pretty much everywhere. If they had house music or any other type of underground dance music there, good chances are I played there. DNA Lounge, 1015 Folsum, The Endup, the legendary 177 Townsend. As far as residencies go I helped Devotion with Ruben Mancias and Eric Baca which recently celebrated 10 years. I also held down a Monday night residency with Ruben at Liquid which then became Pink which is now Som. When Liquid became Pink I became a regular rotating resident and would often DJ with Mauricio Aviles who at the time was DJing for Naked Music. While a resident at Pink, Cosmopolitan magazine gave us some sort of best of club award.
In Chicago I used to play for the 3 Degrees parties with Felix and in Detroit I DJ’ed at the 2nd Detroit Electronic Music Festival for a loft party thrown by Vibe Magazine. I also DJ’ed for an invite only New Years Eve party thrown by the legendary Ron Trent, which was extremely flattering to have one of my favorite producers/DJs book me.
Q: and many of the DJs really doing it big and whom played with such big names have traveled the East Coast, especially New York and or been influenced by New York, and you?
Kevin: In the mid to late 90’s I went to Body & Soul and the Shelter a lot, also to Louie Vega’s Dance Ritual, Frank’s Lounge in Brooklyn, and another party called Together in Spirit. Chicago is high up on my list of influences, as well, especially my experiences hanging out in the Southside.
Q: Chicago Southside, I hear it’s really dangerous…
Kevin: Looking back it probably wasn’t the smartest thing for one to do considering how dangerous it can be out there (laughs). People used to stop me all the time and ask me what I was doing in those neighborhoods. But the music and the vibe out there is on another level. It was like an oasis. You’d be in this club listening to this amazing music you’ve never heard before surrounded by all these awesome people, and you’d forget that the neighborhood right outside that club was a very, very dangerous place. But the main influence that Chicago had on me was the classics. The disco, the old funk and soul records. The southside is where it’s at.
Q: And now you’re back in Hawaii for good?
Q: So what are some of your plans?
Kevin: To share my music with the people of Hawaii by way of the dance floor. I want to bring the excitement and energy that I experienced going to underground clubs around the world here.
I also started a salsa company and want to continue it here.
Q: Cool, the dance or the condiment?
Kevin: lol, the condiment.
Q: And you got a re-edit label Sloppy Seconds? Any plans there?
Kevin: Hopefully press up some vinyl this year.
Q: Nice, and where can we find that?
Kevin: You can find it for sale digitally through Juno (www.junodownloads.com), also http://www.kennyconga.blogspot.com
Q: and before you go, tell us where people can find you spinning?
Kevin: I have a new residency starting this month at Soulgasm every 3rd Friday of the month which for this month features the 3rd annual House Dance Hawaii contest and you can find me the following Friday with Patrick Wilson at Lotus.
you can also find me on facebook.com/sloppy.seconds1
June 17th – Soulgasm 3rd Friday monthly
featuring 3rd annual House Dance Hawaii contest + DJ Kevin Koga
39 N Hotel St.
contest at 1015pm, sign up at 915pm, 18+ can enter contest, email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up, $10 to enter contest. Cash prize + more!
DJs Kevin Koga, Matt Kee, Yuji
presented by Housing Project 360
facebook : Soulgasm Hawaii
June 24th – 360 Love Suite – special guest San Francisco’s DJ Patrick Wilson + DJ Kevin Koga
@ Lotus Downtown
34 N Hotel St
RSVP first and last names at email@example.com by June 23 for 1/2 off door til 1030pm.