karma kid is the youthful sound of a prodigal generation

​Sam Knowles aka Karma Kid is the Derbyshire lad with all the musical goods. First bursting onto our radar with his Ray J-sampled his track, 'Its Always,' a futuristic feel-good house tune that got big Radio 1 spins from the likes of Annie Mac, that...

by James Hutchins
|
24 March 2015, 4:05pm

To say that Karma Kid is new to the scene wouldn't be sentence full with truth, but his sound has taken a turn with recent productions catching the eye his favorite label, Future Classic home to the likes of Flume, Chet Faker, Ta-Ku Seekae, Charles Murdoch and fellow i-D Class of 2015 member, George Maple. Skilfully mixing soulful R&B and hip hop with house beats sprinkled with a touch pop is how we can best describe his music and his latest Bird of Prey EP is just a taster of what's in store for the talented young one. Get to know the Kid in i-D's Class of 2015.

A brief musical history includes…
Recording bands with my dad when I was 11 after we got funded by the National Lottery. I moved onto making my own music by myself because I'm quite a control freak. After three years, Bondax picked up my track It's Always, I then got picked up on Radio 1. Since then it's been pretty mad. Feels like I've been on a constant tour for two years!

My sound changed drastically when…
...I started songwriting and producing for singers. It's a completely different way of looking at music. You learn the pop formula, it's really interesting. I'm moving more into the hip hop and R&B side. The stuff that's gonna come out will be club music but in a similar vein to what's been going on already.

First record I bought was…
Teenage Dirtbag by Wheatus, I was into boy bands from about five or six.

The last gig I went to was…
I went to see Gregory Porter with my family. He was ridiculous, really inspiring, every note was spot on. I'm definitely looking into my live shows with my new project, which I'm unveiling next year.

If I could listen to the past, present and future work of one artist it would be..
Erykah Badu, there's not a song that I don't like - she's a queen. Either her, D'Angelo or Outkast.

My Karaoke song of choice would be…
Motorhead Ace of Spades. I used to do that when I was younger. You get the whole bar rowdy, get them jumping.

My biggest influence is probably…
My dad. He always wanted to be involved with music but never got the chance, so he's always pushed me to achieve the things I want to do.

Do you use more instruments?
Yeah, if we're at the studio, I now jam it out on the bass, Armeria on keys. It's a more organic process.

As an artist I stand for…
Being happy and not selling yourself short!

At the moment I am working with…
My best mate Armeria and Ryan Ashley on a new project called Shy Love. Also working with Andreya Triana, Becky Hill, Jess Glynne and a really sick guy called Sam Wills!

My dream collaborators are…
Andre 3000, Erykah Badu, Justin Timberlake and probably Pharrell.

The track of mine that sums me up best is…
I'd say It's Always to be honest. It set everything off, it's just a feel good track that you can dance to like a nutter in the club.

Is fashion and style important to you…
The only other time I've worn Prada, apart from here was fake stuff from Turkey. Everything I wear is super simple. Sportswear, black jeans, chinos, sports top and hoodie.

The worst Job I had was…
Before my A-levels, I was 17 and working at Sports Direct, I was a terrible employee.

The best and worst thing of 2014 was…
Last New Year's eve I played at Canal Mills in Leeds with Disclosure and I was playing after them at quarter past twelve. I go up behind the decks, Latch was their last track and Guy was like "you're on this channel". So I press cue and Latch suddenly stops and there's two thousand booing! It was the most embarrassing ever. The best thing was getting the Future Classic release, for me that was a godsend because they're my favorite label ever. I've listened to them for five or six years so it was amazing for them to take me on as part of the family.

If I could achieve one thing in 2015 it would be…
Professionally, I want to finish the album. Personally, lose my tiny little belly I've got and my little jowl,haha!

For 2015 I'm tipping…
Zak Abel for sure. I've been working on his forthcoming tracks, we worked together about a year and a half ago but the difference is working with him now. He's the most impressive singer I've come across!

Credits


Text James Hutchins
Photography Matteo Montanari
Styling Max Clark

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Karma Kid
The Music Issue
music interviews