Beatport Next: IMANU is a Production Prodigy, and the Future is Bright
Beatport Next: IMANU is a Production Prodigy, and the Future is BrightApril 21, 2021
We catch up with Beatport Next artist and drum & bass wunderkind, IMANU.
At 22 years old, Rotterdam wunderkind Jonathan Immanuel Kievit is something of a prodigy. He was just 16 when famed Dutch drum & bass duo Noisia signed his track “Tripwire” to their Invisible imprint under his Signal alias. And under that moniker, the teenager became one of the drum & bass scene’s most respected players, releasing on household imprints like Critical, Renegade Hardware, Monstercat, and RAM Records, while delivering remixes for the likes of What So Not, Skrillex, and Camo & Krooked, and co-launching the underground drum & bass label, DIVIDID.
And while most producers would be perfectly happy to ride the waves of their early success for several years (or even decades), that’s not Kievit’s style. No, this youngster instead adopted an all-new alias, IMANU, in 2019, in order to give himself room to explore new sonic spaces and ideas. And so far he’s excelled, releasing a huge string of deeply original work music, mostly on Noisia’s VISION Recordings. Though his latest release, “Skin To Skin,” a deliciously low-slug trap/wave cut, is out now on Heaven Sent.
We caught up with Beatport Next artist IMANU to learn more about how he first found electronic music, what inspires him, his essential gear, and plenty more.
How has your 2021 been so far?
2021 has been up and down, like I assume it has been for everyone else. I’ve been making my best music yet, but of course this whole COVID situation is doing my head in.
Do you have any gigs lined up yet?
I’ve actually got a decently full summer and autumn lined up already which is cool! But of course nothing is certain yet, and it’s important to not become too optimistic. I am looking into doing a New Zealand tour this summer (and maybe Australia since the borders have just reopened) and I just signed with UTA for bookings in America, so I’ll be looking to do a tour there later this year.
Yours is a very unique take on bass and drum & bass. How would you describe your sound?
Thank you! I really don’t know how to describe my sound to be honest… Recently I did an interview with The Caracal Project and DJmag and we jokingly coined the term “future breaks.”
How and when did you first fall in love with electronic music?
I really fell in love with electronic music when my friend and neighbour showed me Tiësto when I was about nine or 10 years old. We used to play video games together and he’d always have a trance or progressive house mix on in the background.
You mainly release on Noisia’s VISION Recordings. How did you first get connected with them?
I found Noisia through their remix of “Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites” by Skrillex! I was really into dubstep back then and I thought it was really cool that I had found a sick track done by a Dutch group. I looked them up afterward and found their Split The Atom album, which totally had me sold on them. A couple years of production later and Fre4knc offered me to send them some tunes, which then eventually got picked up! The first of these being “Tripwire,” under my Signal alias. I believe I was 16 when that came out.
What inspires you outside of the studio and how do you apply that inspiration to your craft?
Music, movies, graphic design, food, fashion — I believe all art forms are related to each other, and they all inspire my music.
What are your three most essential pieces of studio gear?
My three most essential pieces of gear would be my Arturia Keystep MIDI Keyboard, Adam A7Xs and my Beyerdynamics DT770 Pros. Other than that I only have an interface so I guess there’s not much choice.
What has helped you stay productive and creative during the pandemic? And do you think you’ll use some of what you’ve learned after things go back to ‘normal’?
What kept me productive was pushing myself to leave my comfort zones. This led to a significant change in sound, but I’m very happy with it.
Do you have any other creative hobbies? Are there any parallels between your hobbies and your music?
My other creative hobbies are cooking and gaming! I think both of these are creative in different ways. With cooking it’s very fun to experiment and leave your comfort zone as well.
What have been some of the greatest accomplishments in your career thus far?
Some of my greatest accomplishments would have to be remixing What So Not & Skrillex, Camo & Krooked, working with Noisia, What So Not, Apashe, being supported by Porter Robinson, and performing at Lowlands Festival!
What are some current projects you’re working on? And finally, what’s next for you?
What’s next for me? A whole lot! I’ve basically got releases coming every single month, and am working on my debut album!
IMANU is playing Porter Robinson’s Secret Sky digital festival this Saturday, April 24th. Find more info here.