William Wardlaw: I know you’re from Pittsburgh originally. How do you think it influenced the music you play?
Craig Kuna: Well…Being from a city that was in a stasis of sorts, the steel age was over and gone and the renaissance Pittsburgh is currently going through had not yet begun, I was actually influenced more by the rock and roll scene. Before the excitement of Rave had hit in the early nineties, I was into Metal, Punk Rock, Math Rock, and Industrial/Post Punk. My interest in Industrial music and LSD eventually led me to the Rave in 93′. After discovering the Rave scene in Pittsburgh, I was drawn to the sounds of Drum and Bass, and Techno, probably due to my love of harder edged music and the electronic sounds I was hearing in industrial music. I started mixing Drum and Bass in 1996, and moved to playing techno shortly thereafter.
WW: I first met you through the [KONTROL] parties. Do you have a favorite event from that time you performed at?
CK: If you mean at [KONTROL], I have many, but the first time we had Heiko Laux was probably number one. He had me and everyone else in that place locked on the dance floor from beginning to end! Heiko’s set and the Dan Bell and Isolee sets from The RX Gallery days we may top three.
If you mean any parties from that era, I really enjoyed opening for Scion, from Hard Wax, when I commandeered the [KONTROL] team for a show at the compound.
WW: You’ve been working a lot on your music studio. Do you plan to add more to the setup?
CK: I’ve been slowly building it for 12 years and I’m always adding and changing things. It’s a constant work in progress, but it’s fully functional in it’s current state. We tend to use mostly gear out of the box, but we have some nice UAD plug ins and we marry analog and digital quite nicely I think.
WW: When will you be releasing some of the music you’ve been producing with Dima?
CK: We have about 17 or 18 finished tracks ranging from Deep and Dubby techno, to banging stripped down, heady techno. We just started shopping our music and we got a tracked picked up for vinyl release in early 2016 with a few remixers signed on. I was asked not to divulge the details, so we’re keeping our mouths shut, but we’re pretty excited about the project as a whole.
WW: Have you decided on a name for that project yet?
CK: After much deliberation, we decided to come up with a name that has some special meaning to us, so we decided on “Tehama” for the project name. As you know all to well, Tehama was the loft that Dima lived in for many years, where he and I threw a bunch of great parties together, and Dima also threw a bunch of events there on his own. Dima is well known for his Tekno Kitchen events that he threw with fellow SF DJ, Kirill, in the Kitchen of the loft.
WW: I enjoyed the remixes you made with Roman Stange. Will you be collaborating more together?
CK: Roman and I are great friends, but we don’t have any plans to work on any music at the moment. I know that he has been super busy making his own music, some of which I have heard and is very good. Very original… very Roman! Check out his youtube channel!
WW: You’re involved with the Blacklist parties. Can you explain the concept behind these events?
CK: We wanted to start a small one off based event focused on vinyl dj sets and original live sets that is curated off of social media. Kind of a social experiment, a way to curate a tight crowd of friends and fellow music lovers and a venue for us to play our records! As of now we’re all focused on making music and promotion is kind of taking a back seat, but we’re whispering among ourselves of an underground for the next thing that we do:)
WW: What do you prefer about primarily playing only vinyl in your set?
CK: I prefer vinyl, because I love the way it feels and sounds, plus I simply never made the switch to digital. I’ve been collecting records since I was a kid, and dance records since the early nineties. I like to have my whole collection at my fingertips and in regular rotation. I know a lot of djs that started off playing records, then switched to digital, and now they never play those records. They might go back and grab a few of those tracks in digital form, but they are largely forgotten about. It’s a shame really… I also really think about a purchase and allowing a record into my collection at $15 a pop these
days. You can bet there’s not a lot off fluff in there! Quality control of sorts???
WW: Do you have a favorite DJ that inspires you?
CK: Honestly I’d have to say Dan Bell or Heiko Laux, because of their track selection and stellar programming skills. There’s not many better at those things than those two guys. I’d have to say those are the most important traits in djing anyway. Every DJ should be able to beat match, so track selection and programming skills are top for me. Oh and I can’t forget my old friend Nikola Baytala. I’d say he should inspire every dj with his hustle and dedication. He’s a great dj with a great record collection.
WW: I heard you play some great classic dub records at Chillits. Who are some of your early dub influences?
CK: My first influences in Dub music as a kid in early high school were the 60’s guys like Lee Perry, Prince Jammy, King Tubby, and the second wave guys like Adrian Sherwood, and Mad Professor. Listening to Industrial music got me into rave and then the same Industrial guys I was listening to before rave like Adrian Sherwood, who had produced NIN and the Ministry album Twitch, were also doing Dub stuff. Industrial music got me into electronic dance music and Dub got me into dub techno like Basic Channel and Maurizio.”