Amy Dabbs: “There is Something Magical about KiNK”
Amy Dabbs: “There is Something Magical about KiNK”August 29, 2022
As the daughter of a Northern Soul DJ, Amy Dabbs’ musical upbringing was informed by the soulful sounds of Motown, soul, funk, and early house. Dabbs spent years cutting her teeth as a DJ in London before moving to the Far East and playing at many of Singapore’s best parties during a four-year spell there. Now based in Berlin, she is concentrating on her productions, channeling her rich pool of influences into feel-good sounds that show off her penchant for house, jungle, deep house, and drum & bass.
Dabbs has been on a tear in 2022, performing regularly in both Germany and UK and releasing hard-hitting EPs like her joint Lobster Theremin record with Coco Bryce Slightly Involved Vol. 1, the Four Track Mind EP, which debuted her freshly minted Dabbs Traxx imprint, and her most recent junglist adventure, the four-track EP Baddest Gal on the Low Battery.
With all eyes on Amy, we wanted to know more about who inspired her journey into electronic music. Her answer: KiNK.
Who has most inspired you on your journey to becoming a DJ/producer?
There have been so many influences along the way. Friends who have given me advice or encouragement, amazing sets I have experienced in clubs, incredible tracks across different genres that have infused themselves into my head over the years, and now inspire my writing. But if I had to pick one person, I would choose KiNK. There is something magical about KiNK both in regards to his productions and the way that he plays out (both live and in DJ sets) and there’s definitely an extra level of inspiration that I take from that.
How did you first discover them?
The first time I saw KiNK was actually many years ago at Watergate club in Berlin, where he was playing a live set. There was an insane vibe in the room that night, one like I had never experienced, and the intensity of the music and the live performance was just making everyone go wild — it felt like we were going to take off. I remember KiNK passing his MIDI controller over the decks to the crowd for people to get involved and everyone was going absolutely nuts! I was like, I need to remember this person’s name. And then I started buying his tracks — I think the first one was “Kiss The Sky” on Boe Recordings. After that, I was hooked.
What made them someone you wanted to emulate?
The production quality of KiNK’s tracks, as well as the emotions they can elicit in you, are incredibly special, but I was also very inspired by the energy he brings when he plays out. At the Garden Festival in Croatia, I once saw him play another unreal live set and blow everyone away; he worked so hard up there that when he came off he was covered in sweat (relatable) but still smiling his face off, and he made time to come down and talk to everyone who had danced. The crowd was really feeding off the energy that he was bringing, and I definitely feel that has inspired me in the way that I play out myself.
I also love the diversity of KiNK’s own sound and productions, everything from deep house and all the way through to his experimental stuff. It helped me see that you don’t have to stay in one lane genre-wise; you just need to do you.
KiNK is incredibly inspirational to listen to when he shares his stories and experiences. I tuned into a talk he did in Berlin during lockdown (it’s probably still online somewhere), and hearing him elaborate on his background and how he got into music really blew me away. Plus, being open and humble and approachable is inspiring in itself — I feel like the world needs more of that. It’s nice to be nice!
Have you ever met them in person? Or worked with them?
Only very briefly after the gig in Croatia, just to say thank you. I haven’t worked with him, but I would jump at the chance!
Did you have any other mentors along the way?
Lobster Theremin’s Jimmy Asquith spent a lot of time mentoring me after he signed my first few EPs; I learned a huge amount from his guidance around where to focus my time and efforts whilst trying to break through. Currently, I am working with Aus Music boss Will Saul, who has been absolutely invaluable, especially advising me on running my own label Dabbs Traxx.
Why is representation so important in the music industry?
It goes without saying that there is a huge amount of work to do. Some of the statistics around female, trans and non-binary people in the music industry are shockingly low. Plus, I am still seeing people booking all-male lineups — it feels exhausting to have to keep calling this out in 2022, but it’s important that we do.
Jaguar is a massive inspiration on this front. She has just recently set up the Jaguar Foundation to try and foster a culture of greater diversity in the music industry, such as asking artists — particularly cis men — to have an inclusivity rider so that more non-cis males and more people of colour are included in event lineups. This kind of thing would really make a difference, and our music industry is very fortunate to have ambassadors like Jaguar kicking the door down for change and driving education in our scene.
Do you hope to one day serve as an example for the next generation?
I would be really honoured if that were to be the case. I am part of a female, trans and non-binary music collective here in Berlin, Eclat Crew, and the work they do to bring our community together and amplify our voices and our work is really inspiring. I hope that I have the chance to make this kind of difference at some stage in my career too, and also help to inspire more women to start producing music.
Lastly, tell us about the chart you created.
So it’s a selection of artists who have really influenced me across different genres – those I used to go and see playing in London when I first started going clubbing, people whose records I bought when I was learning how to DJ, artists in the present day that just really inspire me to write, create and keep pushing. I’ve also included my brand new Baddest Gal EP too.
Amy Dabbs’ Baddest Gal EP is out now via Low Battery. Buy it on Beatport.