INTERVIEW | KILL FRENZY
In his relatively short career, Sebastién Vanschoonbeek has been killing it. Known by the moniker Kill Frenzy, the Belgium native developed a love for the ghetto side of house throughout his teenage years. Raised in a scene where the sound was far from prevalent, Sebas developed the drive and passion to start making ghetto house music himself. His tracks would eventually make their way to Dirtybird front man Claude VonStroke, and his first release on the label came shortly after. For Kill Frenzy, booty is the business, and business is-a-booming. His ass-shaking dance beats, riddled with raunchy yet relevant vocals, have resonated with fans of having a good time, earning him a steady slew of gigs around the world. His debut album, “TYLR SWFT,” released last November, invigorating his fans while alienating those of Taylor Swift’s all at the same time.
About the start the US leg of his summer tour, Sebastién took the time to speak with us over the phone, providing a look into his wild world. Be sure to catch Kill Frenzy for his return to Bang Bang on Friday, July 31st. Tickets can be found here.
What was it like growing up in Belgium as a kid?
It was pretty normal, really, just going to school and everything. Music wise, I discovered music when I was 16, that’s when I started going out. I’d go out to see Dave Clarke, Carl Cox, DJ Rush, all of those old-school techno DJs. That’s how it all started for me. There was a lot of good music around, I think, but you take it for granted when you’re younger and that’s all you see. But compared to America, I think we had a bit more underground music on the radio, so we were kind of lucky.
As a teenager, what initially drew you towards Juke and Ghetto house music specifically?
That was really because of Dave Clarke. He would play a lot of ghetto house in his sets, and I was obsessed with those kind of tracks but just didn’t know what it was. So one day I went on the internet and found out that it was actually a genre!
I remember the first time I discovered juke was in some kind of mini-documentary. There was just a 30 second part about juke where they said, “the young kids are all about this!” I was like, “what the fuck is this?” No one I knew heard about this… anywhere! So after that 30 seconds, I thought, “This sounds amazing, I have to try and make something like that.” So I was trying to make juke without really knowing what it was! After a bit longer there were a few juke tunes that were starting to pop up [on the internet], and I got really obsessed with that for a couple of years. I still love it, I was really the first guy from Europe to release juke on a Chicago label, so that was cool. But, I was only able to book gigs in Europe every once and a while, and the people didn’t really get it.
Which love came first: booty or house?
Um.. I’d say house.
In your own words, boredom led you towards producing your own music. Early on, you began using Fruity Loops, an application by the Belgian-based company known today as FL Studio. At what point did you realize that you had real talent as a producer? When did it become more than a boredom-induced hobby?
Well, I never really thought I had a special talent or something, I just thought it was pretty cool, and not a lot of people were doing it, so I thought maybe just because I spent more time than anyone else doing it is the reason why I might sound better than the other guy.
It became more than a hobby when I released “Booty Clap”, and I started to get gigs more regularly. A year or two after that I thought, “hey, I don’t have to get a job!”.
Given your musical style, it’s easy to see why you were initially drawn toward the Dirtybird label. How did you go about getting in touch with Claude Von Stroke?
That was actually because of Nick Monaco. He got me in contact with Claude, because I wanted to send him a demo, but I just couldn’t get through to him. So Nick told me that he would send it for me through a special drop box at the time, or whatever. And then I got a message saying they wanted to release it! So thank you Nick Monaco!
Years ago, parents around the world were frightened about the long-term impact that violent video games had on their children. Today, you go by the DJ name Kill Frenzy, a nod to a group of missions within the Grand Theft Auto videogame series in which the goal of the player is to murder everyone. How did you ultimately decide to go with the name Kill Frenzy?
I was like, 17, and trying to come up with a DJ name, but I couldn’t figure it out. So I was thinking about calling myself, “Seba De Room Dog,” and that turned out to be really crappy. That was at a time when Felix Da Housecat was really big, so I really liked him, and I thought it would be funny. And so, I couldn’t think of anything else, and I loved that video game, so I just stuck with that.
A couple years’ back, you arrived in America for a 6-month stay. What did you do, where did you stay, and what was your opinion upon arriving in the states?
I stayed in LA, at Justin Jay’s house, a good friend of mine. So basically I just stayed there for 6 months, hung out in LA, made some music with Justin, saw Claude a bit, and just toured a lot, basically. And I made my album here.
What are some of your favorite and most inspiring ignorant ghetto house lyrics?
That has to be DJ Deeon. He has the craziest vocals ever. There is this one vocal, he mentions in there, while mentioning many other cool things, “One thing I can’t stand is a bitch that looks like a man.” That pops up in my mind right now, it’s just so fucking random! You have to listen to these tracks, I’m telling you. I would just laugh, it’s really funny to me, you know what I mean? I don’t take any of this stuff seriously, and neither do they, it’s all just fun. It’s retarded, I love it.
Definitely. What comes to my mind is a Marion Hoddstadt track that goes, “chica-chica-chick I’m tired of arrrguing, GIRL.”
It’s so simple and funny, you know? There is nothing to it, it just sounds funny.
That’s the beauty of it!
Yeah, man. That’s how I made, “No Panties,” it’s so stupid that it sounds funny. But you have to do it the right way, or else it becomes cheesy. Anybody can do a track with stupid vocals in it, you just have to do it well.
How have you grown as both a person and an artist since joining the Dirtybird family?
I think I know what I want more. Although I still do swing a lot, music wise. I think before I did some minimal tracks, electro… I was obsessed with everything and wanted to do everything. Juke, house, techno, whatever it was. But I have more of my own sound now, I feel. I like to change it up – I usually never make the same track twice, but I just have more of a direction I think.
The release of your debut album, “TYLR SWFT”, was a huge accomplishment. The final product is amazing, and the record has been a big success. What was the process like in the creation of your first record?
From the beginning, I didn’t really want to make an album. I remember I had a bunch of tracks ready, and I remembered Claude asking me to do an album the year before that, and I said yes and tried it. In the end, it just didn’t work out; I didn’t feel like I was ready to do anything like that. But, while having these tracks, I just thought, well fuck, I’m producing so many tracks but I can’t release them all on Dirtybird, there is just too much stuff! So I decided, well, maybe I should revisit this idea of doing an album.
So I called him up, because I felt that I had some strong tracks to get it growing, I had the main tracks already if I were to do an album and I just had to finish it out and make it all fit together. So he was cool with that, and I got it started. I actually made all night long around 2 months from the deadline. It all just worked out, and I think I fit it together well. It’s like a DJ set – if you see me DJ, this is how I would play, genre-wise. Some techno, some house, some ghetto house, and maybe some juke or whatever. It’s like a package that says, “this is what I do.” I didn’t want to make a listening album with some weird stuff in the beginning that you never ever play. I just wanted all of the tracks to be playable for club use, really.
Taylor Swift herself must feel honored by the fact that you named your freshman album after her. Has she reached out to you?
Sadly not, I wish she did!
She might be shy.
I was hoping that I would get a call saying “Taylor Swift is really mad!” In the beginning, I got a bunch of pissed Taylor Swift fans on twitter asking, “who is this guy?!”
It seems like you have become an embodiment of ghetto house, consistently throwing out raunchy quotes and using the word booty very liberally. Your passion for the music is full display… Which leads me to ask: are you as perverted as you make yourself out to be?
Who knows, man, who knows. You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes!
If you were a statue, where would you be, what would you be doing, and what would you be made out of?
Shit. I feel like I would like to be in Egypt, on a pyramid or something. Right on top, just fuck it up all over, and bigger than anything else. With one arm, I’d be doing a bicep curl, and on my shoulder there would be a girl naked, and I would be reading a book all at the same time.
How has your summer tour been so far?
It’s been great! I just got back form Australia. For two weeks I was DJing with Bill Clark, we had the best time man, there were some really good shows in there, all the people loving it. We partied at this club called Revolver in Melbourne. It’s like a day party, really, after hours, but in the middle of the day. We played for like 6 hours straight, into the middle of the day, and people were just losing their minds. And at the end we were playing Prince and really disco shit, it was good fun. Chinese Laundry there as well, there are a lot of good clubs there. I just arrived in LA yesterday, and now the rest of the tour starts. I have 14 shows coming up or something. And that will go until august 20th, or something, and then I’ll go to Europe and play some shows there. So yeah man, I’ve had a good summer!
What do you plan on doing after your touring is over?
Finishing music. I’m working with some stuff with Chambray, I don’t know if you know him.
Chambray is dope.
I’m really excited, we made a track together, and its pretty much done. I’ve been playing it everywhere and it’s been going off like crazy. It’s really some heavy techno shit.