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François Kevorkian (1954 - )
Related: DJ - mixing and remixing - music production - New York music - dance music
In early 1976 François Kevorkian who had just arrived in New York from Europe was hired to play live drums on top of Walter Gibbons' mixes at a nightclub called Galaxy 21 This era was the beginning of club culture as we know it today. [Aug 2006]
In early 1979 François Kevorkian remixes Keep On Jumpin' by Patrick Adams' studio band Musique for Prelude records, setting a standard for club music to follow.
In 2002, he also started touring along with Detroit Techno legend Derrick May, playing sets together as the 'Cosmic Twins'. [Aug 2006]
Francois Kevorkian's Essential Mix (2000)
[Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
One of the best mix-cds of the 2000s. [Aug 2006]
BiographyFrançois Kevorkian, alias François K, (born January 10, 1954) is a French-born US DJ, remixer, producer and record label owner. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%E7ois_Kevorkian [Jan 2005]
A profileFrom early DJ gigs in the disco wonderland of late-'70s New York City to his current stint at Manhattan's Body and Soul, Kevorkian has been at dance music's epicenter — be it disco, new wave or house — since its inception. As a producer, mixer and remixer, he's worked with Larry Levan, Arthur Baker, The Smiths, The Cure, Cabaret Voltaire, U2, Eurythmics, Ashford and Simpson, Mick Jagger, Diana Ross, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk and Yazoo and others. Disco devotees will remember his Gold-certified mix of Musique's “Push Push in the Bush” issued on Prelude Records, the influential disco label he helped run as head of A&R from 1978 to 1982. In 1987, he opened the recording facility Axis Studios, which has attracted leading artists such as Madonna, Todd Terry, Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige. -- Lucinda Catchlove in http://remixmag.com/ar/remix_franois_kevorkian/
Deep Space Parties (2003 - )Legendary dj/producer François K. (Wave Music/body&SOUL) will launch a new weekly party, DEEP SPACE featuring vintage Jamaican and modern dub, groove based abstracts and outer-planetary dance music often interacting with live performers and poets.
Taking off Monday, April 14, 2003, this weekly Monday night party will float from 9:00 pm to 3:00 am The party will be held at New York’s stunning new boutique nightclub, Cielo, located at 18 Little West 12th Street in Manhattan Subway: A, C, E, 1, 9, 2 or 3 at 14th St; L at 8th Ave Admission is $10 at the door. Arrive early. --http://www.deepspacenyc.com/ [Jan 2005]
Body and Soul (1996 - 2003)
Francois K., Joe Claussell and Danny Krivit were the resident DJs of New York venue Body And Soul. Francois als runs the Wave record label, where he sometimes reiussues classic tracks like Disco Dub, Together Forever, Journey ...
His early days in France
Francois was born in Rodez in France on January 10th 1954. His father worked at the ORTF, the French national radio and television broadcasting organisation, as a sound engineer. His mother was a dentist. They separated early in his life, so Francois stayed with his mother until he was thirteen, after which he went to live with his father. In spite of these early disruptions, he managed to graduate from the Montgeron Lycee in 1972. He went on to attend college for a year at Lyon, where he planned to study for a biochemical engineering degree but got expelled for starting a general strike. He wasn't unduly bothered, however, because he had become so involved in music that he had already realised that biochemical engineering wasn't for him. His parents begged him to try again, so he studied pharmacy at Strasbourg, but it got worse - all he did was play the drums in various bands when he should have been studying.
How He Got into DJing
"Well actually, most of the time I always quote I became a DJ in 1976 in New York, but actually I had some experiences DJing in France much earlier, in 1974, but it was not the same kind of DJing. After I had quit that second year of college in Strasbourg, I stayed in that city 'cause it was a very cosmopolitan city, between Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands and France, there was all these people passing through. At that time, 1974, we in Europe were just getting the sort of late version of the hippy culture that happened in America. So I stayed and got a job for a year in this bar/restaurant/club where they wanted me to play music, but it was supposed to be ambient type music because the bar was for drinking, and if I got people up dancing the bar owner got upset. So I was playing the things I liked for not dancing to, like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Yes, King Crimson, Soft Machine, which was very big at that time, and of course Hendrix and all these sort of hippy-related kinds of music, kinda intellectual things. There were two turntables, but there was no mixer, there was no cueing 'cause you just changed decks when you wanted to change records, so you just put the record on, put the volume up, and that was it. "
"The real DJing started when I came to New York in September 1975 to further my career as a drummer. I met a black guy in the street that I made friends with who invited me over to his club to show me what he did with his DJing. He had, like, a nice mixer with headphones and everything, and I didn't understand what the mixer was 1cause I had never seen it before. At the time I think he was trying a very primitive way to slip cue the records without really blending them on top of each other. Well, he let me try a little bit and I was like, ‘Wow, wow, what is this?1 1Cause at the time this wasn't an accepted thing, this was a very underground thing. After that, I started getting with small little bands here and there and doing like R&B covers on like Chaka Khan, James Brown and records like that, but I fell upon pretty hard times in the winter, say February, of 1976. So I found a job and got hired by this really big club to play the drums on the dance floor while the DJ was playing, and the DJ got pretty pissed off about that, he really didn't like it, but he couldn't say shit about it 'cause the owner wanted it that way. The DJ there was the legendary Walter Gibbons, who at the time was the hottest property around - Kenny Carpenter also worked there on lights, he must have been seventeen at the time. Walter mixed Loleatta Holloway with 'Hit And Run', he did the first commercial 12" 'Ten Percent' and all those things, so I had to learn pretty fast, within a couple of days, to play the drums to all these records that I did not know, and it got to be a bit of a fight, where he would play all these drum solos to try and get me out. Unfortunately for him, I knew all the solos, but also at the same time it was like an enlightenment for me, 'cause while I was playing the drums to the music, I could hear what Walter was doing with the records.
"Eventually the club closed down and I moved on to another couple of clubs, one of which was called Experiment Four. I got a job there just doing like the kitchen and the cleaning, towel boy or whatever to try and get the owners to give me a job as a DJ. The DJ already there was a guy named John "Jellybean" Benitez, and we made friends very quickly. This gave me access to a tape recorder and I started to figure out how to do editing by myself with like scotch tape and scissors and started creating my own little medleys of all the hot things of the moment by taking the breaks and repeating them and blah blah blah. So even though I wasn't a DJ with an active job at the time and I hadn't actually played yet, I would give Jellybean some of these things. But then I realised it was much harder for me to get a job as a drummer as opposed to a DJ. For me being a musician and drummer, I understood exactly what they were doing, how they were doing it, why they were doing it, and what I could be doing. And then I also understood what it is that I could be doing that they didn't know, which I felt I could bring on top of that musically, to make it more exciting. Anyway I would bring Jellybean some acetates of my medleys from this little place that I would go to called Sunshine Sound and get known as the guy who was doing these plates. Through that I kept bugging Jellybean to let me fill in for him on a party or whatever. Then one Sunday Jellybean told me that he didn't want to work because he was tired - he was the house DJ of that club working every day - so he faked like he was sick or something and finally the owners got me to work and that was my first gig"
1983 Profile By Steven HarveyFrancois Kevorkian
Francois Kevorkian is a surprising element in the New York DJ/remix scene. Arriving from France in the mid-70's he was not brought up on New York music. He brings a whole different perspective to the science of mixing, both live and in the studio.
Just off the boat, without job or money, he was hired to drum along to Walter Gibbon's live mixing at Galaxy 21 in 1976, Situated out on the dancefloor and reacting to what came over the speakers; not knowing the tunes - it was an inspiring place to learn about the NYC underground disco scene (these days it's common for big clubs to have synthesiser players accompany the DJ).
From his earliest studio blends (Musique's 'In The Bush', 'Disco Circus' by Martin Circus) to more recent (Hamilton Bohannon's 'Let's Start The Dance III' Jimmy Cliff's 'Treat The Youth Right', Planet P's dub 'Why Me') Francois' mixes have all possessed a sterling sound quality, the result of carefully cleaning up each individual track before reshaping them, and a radical sensibility in terms of the shaping of music as architecture. His first D Train mixes suggested what a marvellous marriage there could be between Jamaican dub mixers like Augustus Pablo and the street/studio musicians of the New York dance scene.
As a live DJ he has been like a fast gun for hire, Having worked most of the city's major clubs, including the now defunct AM-PM, he has now retired from spinning, though he occasionally replaces Larry Levan at The Paradise Garage and David Mancuso at The Loft. He now mixes freelance, having moved on from Prelude Records, and his next step seems production. The first moves in that direction are work with Jah Wobble for an English LP and rhythm tracks with Sly and Robbie at Compass Point in a co-production with D Train's Hubert Eaves for an unannounced singer.
It took months to finally get a chance to sit down and talk with him. His talk is quite different from all the other DJs. He is more pragmatically negative about the upswing in dance music interest, having a brooding self-critical humour that struck me as a very good basis from which to evolve into a music producer.
"The first day I went to Galaxy 21 to play the drums was the first time I'd ever gone into a modern day disco - black, gay, afterhours - the beat was like a hammer. I think a lot of people started reacting negatively to that but it's much harder to make people dance if you don't have that constant poom..poom..poom"
Except Walter Gibbons' mixes on record use lots of hand drums and are really quite delicate.
"I know exactly what you are saying but I'm describing my perception of it. It still has that percussion-heavy drone, You don't hear subtleties. Certain records have those qualities, really masterful playing, really inspiring combinations of sounds, something that truly uplifts you. I was not versed in the 1970-75 music, the pre-disco stuff. The beat wasn't so repetitive. The dynamics were way different. Now it's become very uniform, very one dimensional, the way we perceive the music, digest it, assimilate it. like it and then reject it because we are sick of it has become alarming. There's too much fast food music and we become addicted to it instead of looking forward to something a little more challenging. The way people work with multi-tracks these days you can literally make the demo of your song an the same tape that you end up putting the master on. The way certain people work and try and capture the magic of the instant is not encouraged by all those records synching two synthesisers to a drum machine, all to the magic synchronisation time codes and pulse.
"I think in the future people will have to have an ability to do lots of different things - synthesis as opposed to specialisation. It used to be a time when there would be a recording studio and an artist and the engineer and the producer. The producer, all he was doing was making sure everything was going alright onto tape. So now more and more people are being added to the way it's happening. I can somehow see that the future is going to belong to those who can really comprehend the totality of that process. " --Steven Harvey, 1983, Collusion Magazine.
Sleeping Bag rds
- SLX-0 Dinosaur L Go Bang! (1982)
- written by Arthur Russell and a classic mix by Francois Kevorkian
Prelude 12" discography
- PRL D 154 Musique 'In the Bush' (1978)
- PRL D 158 Claire 'High on Love'
- PRL D 163 Musique' Keep on Jumpin'/In the Bush' (1979)
- PRL D 560 Michael Wilson 'Groove It To Your Body'
- PRL D 603 Gayle Adams 'Your Love Is a Live Saver'
- PRL D 605 Unlimited Touch 'I Hear Music in the Streets'
- PRL D 608 The Strikers 'Body Music'
- PRL D 609 Lax 'Possessed'
- PRL D 610 France Joli 'Gonna Get Over You' (1979)
- PRL D 611 Sharon Redd 'You Got My Love'
- PRL D 615 Conquest 'Give it to Me(If You Don't Mind)'
- PRL D 618 Gayle Adams 'Love Fever' (1982)
- PRL D 619 Jeanette "Lady" 'Day Come Let Me Love You'
- PRL D 621 D Train 'You're the One for Me'
- PRL D 623 Next Movement 'Let's Work it Out'
- PRL D 626 Empress 'Take a Risk'
- PRL D 631 Passion 'Don't Stop my Love'
- PRL D 634 D Train 'Keep On'
- PRL D 635 Nick Straker Band 'Straight Ahead'
- PRL D 636 The Strikers 'Contagious'
- PRL D 637 Michael Wilson 'Groove it to Your Body'
- PRL D 638 D Train 'Walk on By'
- PRL D 639 Sharon Redd 'Beat the Street'
- PRL D 642 Conquest 'Body Movement'
- PRL D 643 'Sharon Redd' 'In the Name of Love'
- PRL D 645 Rod 'Just Keep on Walking(Roch Niangandoumou)'
- PRL D 653 Unlimited Touch 'No One Can Love Me(Quite the Way) You Do'
- PRL D 682 D Train 'Thank You'
Jah Wobble, Holger Czukay, The Edge, "Snake Charmer", Ep, Island (83) Midnight Oil, "Species Deceasos" EP, CBS (85) David Van Tieghem, "Strange Cargo", Private Music (89) Jan Hammer "Tranco", MCA (89) Loleatta Holloway, "Strong Enough" (91) on the small Active label Production / Mixage Thomas Dolby "Airhead/Dissidents" (84) Al Di Meola, "Sequencer" (84) Jan Hammer, "Miami Vice Theme" (85) Eurythmics, "The First Cut/Regrets", Remix LP (85) Jean-Michel Jarre "Zoolookologie/Revolutions" (85-89) The Smiths, "This Charming Man" (86) Kraftwerk, "Electric Café", "Tour De France" (86) Terence Trent D'Arby, "Wishing Well" (87) The Cure, "Why Can't I Be You" (87) Pet Shop Boys (87) Cabaret Voltaire, "Thank You America/Here To Go" (87) Depeche Mode "Violator, Mute (93)
- "FK-EP", Wave / Import (1996)
- Francois Kevorkian's Essential Mix (2000) [Amazon US] Track Listings: - 1. M 4.5 Basic-Maurizio 2. Love Money-Funkmasters - - 3. La-Kou-A-Jephte Guillaume 4. Just Pillau-Akwaaba - 5. Starchild-Level 42 - 6. Squib Cakes-Tower Of Power - 7. There Was A Time-James Brown - 8. Song For My Brother-George Benson - 9. In The Stone-Earth Wind And Fire - 10. I Know You I Live You-Chaka Khan - 11. Nacer Do Sol-Kyoto Jazz Massive - 12. Free Yourself-Virgo - 13. Learn 2 Luv-King English - 14. Law & Order-Love Committee - 15. African Drug-Bob Holroyd - 16. Mambo-Wally Badarou - 17. Dark-Renegade - 18. Storm-Billy Cobham - 19. Atmospheric Beats-Kerri Chandler - 20. No Way Back-Adonis - 21. Sure Know How To Love Your Man-Willie Hutch - 22. Throw-Paperclip People - 23. Home Computer-Kraftwerk - 24. Award Tour-Tribe Called Quest - 25. Say No Go-De La Soul - 26. Keep On-D Train - 27. Did You Pray Today-Lisa Taylor - 28. Caravelle-Jazzanova - 29. Groovin'-Francois K - 30. Jazzmen-Lil Louis - 31. Percussion-St Germain - 32. Together Forever-Exodus - 33. Dreams Of Dub-King Tubby -
This two CD set, fantastic comp, from Maurizio to EWF from King Tubby to Kraftwerk in a superbly crafted mix.
- Francois K - Choice, Selection of Classics (2002) - Francois K [Amazon US]
1. Right in the socket - Shalamar 2. You can't hide (your love from me) - David Joseph 3. Koro Koro - No Smoke 4. I'm not gonna let you (get the best of me) - Colonel Abrams 5. Baby wants to ride - Frankie Knuckles with Jamie Principle 6. Only you - Teddy Pendergrass 7. Choosing you - Lenny Williams 8. Over and over - Sylvester (Special 12" disco mix) 9. Super strut - Deodato 10. Funky Nassau - Beginning of the end 11. Koke (Part I and II) - Tribe Disc: 2 1. Do u luv me - Lil' Louis 2. I love you more - Rene and Angela 3. Can you handle it - Sharon Redd (Francois K mix) 4. Giving up - Zulema 5. Love has come around - Donald Byrd 6. Turn me up - Keith Barrow 7. Any love - Rufus and Chaka Khan 8. Never no more lonely - Fingers Inc 9. (They long to be) Close to you - Gwen Guthrie 10. Land of hunger - The Earons 11. We all need love - Troiano
Azuli release compiled by the legendary deejay, producer & remix king, Francoise K. It's an intriguing collection that harks back to the days before cutting & cross-fading, & one that concentrates on the soul classics. 22 tracks
- Francois Kevorkian - Body & Soul, Vol. 1 [Amazon US]
1. Living in Ecstasy - Fonda Rae 2. Being Single [Mood II Swing Remix] - Valerie George 3. Until the Day - Funky Green Dogs 4. Time and Space - Francois K 5. Dangerous Vibes - Roy Ayers 6. Desire [Masters at Work Dub #3] - Nu Colors 7. Prayer - Jephté Guillaume 8. Why We Sing [Church Mix] - Kenny O. Bobien 9. Can You See the Light? [K.O.T. Mix] [K.O.T. Remix] - The Voices 10. It's Alright (I Feel It) - Jocelyn Brown 11. Escravos de Jo - Kerri Chandler 12. Don't She - Don-E
- Francois Kevorkian - Body & Soul, Vol. 2 [Amazon US]
1. Sangue De Beirona - Cesaria Evora Listen Listen 2. Vai Minha Tristeza - Tom & Joyce Listen Listen 3. Love And Respect - The Carlos Sanchez Movement Listen Listen 4. Dancin' In Outerspace - Atmosfear Listen Listen 5. 6/8 Drumz - Eternal Sun Listen Listen 6. Ibo Le Le - Jephte Guillaume 7. Don't You Ever Give Up - Innervision 8. He Is The Joy - Donna Allen 9. I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun - Nuyorican Soul 10. NY Style - Mateo & Matos 11. Samba Magic - SUMMER DAZE 12. (We Had) A Thing - Abstract Truth
- Francois Kevorkian - Body & Soul, Vol. 3 [Amazon US]
1. Closer I Get 2. Never Forget (When You Touch Me) [Dance Ritual Mix] 3. Philly's Groove - Danny Krivit 4. Soul Talkin - Deep Bros. 5. Equitorial - Dubtribe 6. Tribute - Soul Ascendants 7. Jaguar - Aztec Mystic 8. Groove la Chord 9. Organ Nights - Chris Codish 10. I Shall Not Be Moved - Underground Ministries 11. Elements of Life [Dance Ritual Mix] 12. Casa Forte [Joe Clausee's Spiritual Life Samba Remix] - Snowboy
- Best of Wave, Vol. 1 - Mixed By Francois K [1CD, Amazon US]
1. Sun Juice [Summon the Spirits Mix/Body and Soul Mix] [Summon the Spirit 2. Get Another Plan [House Vocal] - Abstract Truth 3. Living in Ecstasy [Groove Mix FK Edit] - Fonda Rae 4. Ultrasong [Studio A Mix] - Floppy Sounds 5. Tribe [Special Dub Version] - Mato 6. Din da Da [Da Da Edit] - Kevin Aviance 7. Build Your Dreams [Bonus Beats] 8. Hypnodelic - François K 9. Entertainment [Vocal Mix] - Floppy Sounds 10. Do Ya Like It? - Blue 6 11. Ting-A-Ling [Todd's House Mix] 12. Build Your Dreams [Vocal Version]
- Deep and Sexy: A Wave Music Compilation - Mixed By Francois K [1CD, Amazon US]
1. Change - Fluid X 2. Do Ya Like It (Body And SOUL Dub) - Blue 6 3. Omato Grosso - ADNY 4. Driftin - Sun Orchestra 5. Earth Is The Place (Restless Soul Peaktime Mix) - Nathan Hai 6. Enlightenment - Francois K 7. Havana - Eric Kupper Presents Organika 8. Sunny Days - Boyd Jarvis 9. Strong Blend (Fully Roasted Remix) - Papillon 10. Touch (Attaboy Dub) - Itaal Shur Presents Milk And Honey 11. Sweeter Love (Jays Full Vocal) - Blue 6 12. Love Is - Moments Of Soul
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