Wuki Talks About New Record Label WUKILEAKS & His Global Fanbase
Fresh off the back of his WUKILEAKS World Tour, Denver based DJ and producer Wuki is set to take another big step in his already impressive career. Seeking to take a more prominent role in the electronic music community, Wuki is set to make his mark with his newly minted WUKILEAKS record label. The new project is the result of years in the business working with some of the biggest imprints (OWSLA, Fool’s Gold, Ultra, Main Course) and artists (Skrillex, Knife Party, Diplo) out there. After his headlining show at New York’s Knitting Factory, Wuki (real name Kris Barman) opened up about this huge new step in his musical journey.
Sensible Reason: What were your first experiences like with electronic music and what drew you to the dance music community originally?
WUKI: I think there were a few milestones that got me to where I am today. I remember hearing Squarepusher at age 14 and just being completely blown away. I didn’t even know music like that existed. Then at age 20, I saw Daft PunkAlive Tour at Coney Island. This performance made me realize how much I love the feeling of dance music. This is what really got me hooked.
SR: What was the turning point for you to start making music full time and turn dance music into a career?
W: My old band got signed to Island / Def Jam. When we started touring there was no turning back.
SR: Over the years you have definitely experimented with a myriad of styles from juke, booty, breaks, and electro to create your own hard-hitting trademark sound. What was that journey like for you and how were you able to settle on a style all your own?
W: Yea I have this saying that the best producers don’t follow a genre, they use genres as a tool to expand their own sound. I love songs that blur the lines or even will switch in between genres mid-song. Its just been a natural progression of me taking influence out of anything I find fresh in the moment.
SR: You are just coming off of some huge international shows in India, Australia, and New Zealand. What is it like playing in foreign countries and did you ever envision yourself traveling the world playing shows when you first got started?
W: Honestly it really is the most humbling experience to see people across the globe that like your art. I just feel so grateful to be in the position where people want to listen to what I make. I definitely never had any expectations of where this will all lead I just work hard and hope for the best.
SR: You are still currently on your WUKILEAKS tour which is making its way around the country. With all the touring that you do how do you stay grounded on the road and what do you do in your down time?
W: So I am a bit of a health nut. I rarely drink, I eat healthily and work out after every travel day. I fall off the train, but the more I can stick to this It makes touring so much better.
When I have some downtime I like playing with my modular synths, guitar, rock climbing, biking, or just anything fun!!
SR: Electronic music has steadily established itself in the USA as a fixture in the wider musical landscape. I know you spent quite some time in Denver and the city has become a real hotbed for the scene. Why do you think Denver has become such an epicenter for great electronic music?
W: Its hard to say, I think its a mixture of the mountains, the weed, and the overall vibe in CO. It’s just such a great place to live so I think people are happier and more open to experimental sounds.
SR: You have some big festival performances coming up at Dancefestopia in Kansas City and Greatest Day Ever in New York. What is your favorite part about playing at festivals in comparison to smaller scale shows?
W: laying festivals is definitely the fruit of your labor in this world. I love being able to watch other acts and meet people I admire. I think crowds tend to be really responsive at festivals too. They all came for a good time so everyone is in the mood to party.
SR: You are getting set to take a big step in your career with the launch of your new record label WUKILEAKS. Can you tell us about how that project came about and what made you want to head in that direction?
W: I wanted to cut the middleman out. Today, in my opinion, the internet is your label. I just really wanted to be able to give the content right to my fans without any red tape getting in the way. WUKILEAKS is my outlet to do that.
SR: How has working with major labels like OWSLA, Fool’s Gold, Mad Decent and Ultra helped equip you to lead and curate your own imprint?
W: Yea I really have to thank these guys for helping me get to where I am today. I learned specific things from releasing on other labels for so long that it’s going to help my own label run as smooth as possible.
SR: Finally what are you most excited about in 2018?
W: I think 2018 is the year that a lot of electronic artists start branching out and finding “their” sound. We saw a lot of homogeneous music come out the last few years and I think the whole community is ready to hear something new.