Killa Kela is a pioneer of the beatboxing world. His live shows incorporate a variety of genres ranging from drum’n’bass to hip hop. Not only is he a beatboxer and vocalist, Killa Kela is a stellar DJ. In this interview we find out about his roots and musical upbringing.
Is there a story behind your DJ name?
I used to graffiti tag Kela and when I started beatboxing the initials stood for “Kill Every Lip Action”. In 2000, The Rocksteady Crew (a New York Breakdance group) made me a member as their beatboxer/host, and one of them said “you kill it at every show, so we’re gonna call you Killa Kela”. That’s where it all began.
How would you describe your musical style?
For DJing I play house party mashups, rap, hip hop and bass music.
What is your current favourite DJ performance equipment?
I know there’s newer equipment out but I like using Pioneer CDJ1000 MK2’s and Pioneer DJM750 Mixer. Classic set up.
What got you into DJing?
Wanting to extend my beatbox shows and incorporating it into a full hours mix that I could control, beatbox and host over.
Which well-known DJs’ style do you most reflect?
I would say more of the selectors – like David Rodigan meets Jazzy Jeff meet Ivy Lab.
Tell us about your all-time favourite artist
I have tooooooo many, the interview would drag on too long!
What do you remember about your first ever gig?
It was at a hip hop event in Folkestone, Kent called Fresh 97. I was about 18 and it was really the only event I paid to go to and attended before my music career directed the events I went to.
What was your best ever gig and why?
Performing with Prince at the Indigo O2 in London. Enough said.
What has been your most ridiculous DJ request to date?
I was playing a Kanye West song at a Kanye West themed party when someone came up and said “Play some Kanye West”. There’s not a day that passes when I don’t think about that.
What has been your worst gig and what happened?
Hip Hop Brunch. Hated every second of it. Not my thing.
What one useful tip would you give to anyone looking to book a DJ for their event?
Make sure you have the right equipment and the crowd knows what’s in store. Can’t ask for more than that.
What is your definition of a DJ in 2019?
To play your own style. Have your own USP, nothing else matters.