“…why is Black History only celebrated for one month? We are special every day, and so are all the ethnicities in the world.” – King Britt
Strip away the talent, the genius, and the success, and what you’ll find behind the famed, thick-framed glasses is a man rooted in his passion for music and defiant in his quest to blur the boundaries in musical genres. Type his name into Google, and your search will take you on a musician’s remarkable journey that is studded by innumerable accolades and artistic accomplishments. Yes — we’re talking about none other than King Britt.
This Philadelphia native is known for his compositions that combine his love for computers with his esteem for music and has been creating sounds that resonate with all walks of life, in all the corners of the world, for decades. But what you may not know about King, is that his repertoire goes far beyond being a DJ or a composer.
From creating scores for popular television shows such as Miami Vice and HBO’s True Blood, to DJing at world-famous concerts like AfroPunk (NYC) and Rex (Paris) along the way, join us as we dive into King’s journey and get to know a little more about the man, the myth and the musician on the move.
If you weren’t so successful in the music industry, where do you think you would be today?
I feel it is my purpose here to be a creator in music. I was originally on a path for marketing and advertising but the intuitive path was always music. If I was in marketing and advertising it would probably be the music licensing department!
Has there ever been a time when you felt like a failure? When? Why and how did you overcome it?
I was always raised to look at ‘challenges’ as lessons, never failures. I don’t even entertain the word failure because of the energy behind it and also it is a relative term. There have been times of frustration but it makes me think of solutions more.
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
To stop buying all that Lacoste with my money and start saving!
“We are special every day, and so are all the ethnicities in the world.” – King Britt
Now that it’s Black History Month if you could address one concern what would it be?
One concern would be why is Black History only celebrated for one month in this construct we live in. Blackness and its history should be respected, celebrated at all times. We are special every day as well as all the ethnicities in the world. Also, all concerns should be addressed at all times not because it’s a certain ‘hallmark’ holiday used to brand things, but because they’re important – always.
What makes you laugh?
The sound of children.
What makes you cry?
The sound of black youth fighting each other.
At what age did you become so passionate and engaged in music?
In the womb, I would say. I’ve always been immersed in music from my mother and father.
I’ve been going to concerts, collecting vinyl and listening to radio all day, every day from my baby years.
King’s journey started at Tower Records as a vinyl dance music buyer, thrusting him into the world of performance as the first DJ at the now famous Silk City and the Grammy-Award winning band Digable Planet.
Do you think you were born with the passion and talent or inspired by someone at such a young age?
Both. I think the inspiration from my parents’ passion and appreciation for music sent me on a path to know more but it was my intuitive passions that lead me to take on my own non-traditional way of combining my nerd love of computers with music.
What genre of music is your absolute favorite to play and/or work with?
I embrace all sound. I truly dislike the idea of genre. I gravitate to what feels good to me, it could be the rhythm of a washer and dryer mixed with a Sza beat in the car passing a window. The beauty in that is priceless….that’s not on Spotify!
What has been the most memorable part of your career journey?
That is very difficult because this is a whole journey. I feel every single part of my career is memorable because it leads to more memorable parts. The travel, the cultures, the vibrations in each project lends to the full experience and memory. It’s all monumental.
Which city did you enjoy the most while DJing — which crowd was the best?
For many years Japan was my favorite place on earth. Playing to a well-educated music crowd is absolutely wonderful. But in recent years, since music has been accessible to everyone with WiFi, I would say each place I visit has a very cool scene in which like-minded people come and vibe out. Some are chiller than others but when you’re open to receiving, all places are your favorite.
Performing live is the same.
A musician on the move indeed! Starting in 1990, King’s journey took him across the globe, traveling and working as a DJ, composer and producer. In 2007 he received the prestigious Pew Fellowship in 2007, tacking on yet another accolade to his name.
Do you continue to work in different positions such as a producer, DJ, performer, and composer?
Absolutely, it all kinda bleeds into one another these days. I’m always composer/producer first. Creating music is the closest to the divine I can get. I’m a channeler. DJing and performing is another form of creation but focusing more on improvising in the moment. Creating an experience in front of people is something I’ve been bringing into my curatorial process too. I just completed an artist in residence project with the Philadelphia Museum of Art which culminates into a show and audio tour. It consisted of four composers (that I chose) to create in the museum where people can watch the process and see the inspiration on the spot. I’m working on bringing this to various museums.
Who is your target audience? Do you prefer to play for a certain segment of people?
I don’t think in those terms (funny, as I was into marketing). I play for those who resonate with the frequencies and sounds. It could be for 30 people or 5000…I will always do my best to present new music and sounds as well as familiar tones. I have a universal target!
How often do you go on tour?
I’m constantly on tour, although the past year I have been in the studio more. 2018 I plan to shift back into DJ mode. I have been playing more live shows and miss my DJ foundation. So I’m ready to travel the world again as a DJ.
What would your tombstone say- How do you want people to remember you?
I will be donating my body and rest cremated…so no tombstone.
Anything else you’d like to add?
As of late, I love doing my radio show on red bull radio. It’s called Transmissions and it encompasses all sounds and field recordings from my travels. It’s a great show to just put on and get lost.
Also, check out my new Album: Fhloston Paradigm. It’s beautiful.
Most importantly…where do we get tickets?!
Dates are on my site!