We’re delighted to have the France-via-Brussel’s duo of Nikitch & Kuna Maze up next in the Tuckshop Mix Series

The pairs first album ‘Débuts’ was released by the ever-reliable Tru Thoughts back in July. It artistically explores the melting point between jazz and club culture – and much to our liking – is littered with influences from broken beat, footwork, UK garage and Chicago house.

Both  trained in classical music, Nikitch & Kuna Maze embarked upon their collaborative project ‘Débuts’ after meeting at the Chambery Jazz Conservatory. Their musical background beautifully incorporates swinging grooves with vibrant melodies, and neatly blurs the lines between production and improvisation.

Channeling the energy from live shows into their productions, ‘Débuts’ features standout tracks such as the vibrant jazz-funk explosion “ZBRA”, broken beat revivalist anthem “Bruk”, soul-saturated “CBD” and the frantic footwork of “The Leak”. 

On Wednesday 18th November at 8pm Nikitch & Kuna Maze will be showcasing their musical wizardry as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2020 online which you can check out here. Swing in this direction for a copy of the album, wrap your ears round the mix, and keep your eyes peeled!

Nikitch & Kuna Maze – Hey, This Must Be Deep

Congratulations on your recent album Débuts – Tru Thoughts seems like the perfect home for it, how did your relationship with the label start?

We sent over a demo of our ‘Mush’ EP, they responded quickly in a positive way. They knew our previous work (‘Cake’ EP) and were interested to work with us on some future releases. And we’re glad we started working with this great label and great team, shout out to them!

You guys are both classically trained with backgrounds in jazz – what were your early influences with regard to electronic music?

I think our early influences came from both the Los Angeles beat scene and the Brainfeeder Label (Flying Lotus, Dorian Concept etc) as well as from the early 2000s UK dubstep, jungle and drum’n’bass scenes if we really wanna go back to the very beginning.

Nikitch & Kuna Maze – Francis Theme 

There’s a lovely balance and feel to all your productions…What are your go-to tools in the studio?

It depends really…most of the time we start jamming, trying stuff out and see where it goes…usually starting with a drum or chord loop. From there, we start shaping the track by adding synths and building it up from there.

As a multitalented duo, how would you compare the ‘buzz’ you get from DJing to the feeling of performing live?

It’s really two different feelings and we love both. Playing your music live on a stage is a great feeling, sharing your music directly to the public, as well as having a connection and communicating with every musician on stage, it’s really great!
 And it’s also really cool DJing and sharing our influences, playing other peoples music, music that we love, to an audience!

Nikitch & Kuna Maze – ZBRA (Pablo Valentino Remix)

You’ve previously mentioned, “loving the UK sound of the early 2000ish.” Have broken beat, garage and drums etc always been well represented in France and Belgium?

I might be wrong, but I think there wasn’t really a scene for broken beat or garage in France or Belgium at that time. I think (besides house and techno) it was more oriented toward drum ‘n’ bass, jungle, maybe 2step at least in France. 
It feels like now there are more broken beat producers outside the UK than there was at the time, but once again I might be wrong.

Are there any producers from your local cities that you’d like to shout about?

Shout out to LB aka Labat, Flore, Carie aka La Dame, Pablo Valentino, Le Motel, Shungu!

 What’s the rest of the year and beyond looking like?

All of our upcoming gigs for the end of the year have just been canceled, which is not great. However, we’ll be doing a live stream for the EFG London Jazz Festival on 18th November which you should check out! We’re working on a new album, so keep producing music, keep doing what we love and do as many gigs as we can!

Nice one guys, big up!

TS Mix Series 009: Nikitch & Kuna Maze track list

Machinedrum & Tigran Hamasyan – Sleepy Pietro
Taylor Mc Ferrin – Georgia (Karizma’s Bruk It Down Remix)
Tall Black Guy – Summer Time Breeze
Aroop Roy – Quem Vai Querer
Zed Bias – A.D.L Featuring Wookie & Atjazz
Nicholas Ryan Gant – Gypsy Woman (Kaytronik Extended Remix)
Vikter Duplaix – Manhood
Danvers – My Nina
Clouds – Krafterah (Original Mix)
Warren Clarke – Down With The Click (Clarke’s Full On Mix)
Jazztronik – Samurai
Walton – Inside
Zeki 808 – Present
Swindle – Summer Fruits
JD. Reid – Just Know (feat. Henry Wu & Venna)
The Comet Is Coming – Because the End Is Really the Beginning