Mallorcan born DJ and Producer, Kiko Navarro has travelled all over the world playing his happy sun drenched beats. He is also a regular at Social in Palma and is releasing a new track “Mama Calling” with singer and fellow Mallorcan, Concha Buika this week.
Tell us when you started DJing.
“My older brother was working in a club and I would get in because of him. Eventually I was offered a job as a DJ assistant, my job was to play music for the first hour the club was open. There was a hierarchy in clubs, like a lot of places, a bit like the military! They had the main DJ, the second DJ and then the assistant. I had to ask my parents if I could do it and they said that as long as I was good in school I could. So my first ever gig was on my 15th birthday! That means I have been playing for more than 30 years. I started as well to build my own studio, I would save up my money and buy equipment to use at home.”
What did the other kids at school think?
“They were excited because they hoped I would get them in for free!”
How did you find your style, and how would you define it?
“It can take some time to find the place where you can play the music that you love that also makes the people happy. I fell in love with House music right from the beginning. I loved bands like Soul II Soul and De La Soul as well, the happy hip hop feeling. But I always want to refine my selection of music, and so I take the time to listen to new music, and find things which I really love. You have to truly know a song so well before you can play it on the dancefloor, if you don’t then you can’t mix it properly. There is a lot of technique in being a good DJ, but there is also a lot of heart and feeling. You have to connect to the music and to the people who are with you in the club. When you are doing that, and it feels good, then you know you are doing the right thing, for them and for you. I like to put in new music that I have found, not necessarily every time that I play, but I do it frequently.”
You have to be very organised to be a DJ?
“You have to know your music. Back when we were playing on vinyls you were restricted to the records that you could carry with you to the club, now we have infinite choice. You have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the music. As well you have to be disciplined as a DJ. If you are not then it is easy to get lost, there are a lot of temptations in the lifestyle of a DJ and if you fall for those then you will not last. As well you have to realise that it is continuous work, every day you will have to work, you will always be looking for improvement.”
What are a few of your career highlights so far?
“I’ll tell you as they come to my mind. One of my highlights would be playing in Japan for the first time, it was in 2006. I remember. The work I have done with Buika over the years has been very important to me. I have played at some wonderful festivals which I enjoyed very much. I have travelled a lot. The only continent that I haven’t played yet is Australia. I have played in Africa, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North America, Central America, South America. And I have made five albums. Hmm, what else? I would say that every day that I still make a living out of music is a highlight.”
What advice would you give somebody who wants to become a DJ?
“Nowadays, I will say that it is a difficult task to become a DJ. You can have all of the skills, but if you don’t love the music then you should forget it. If you want to be a DJ for another reason than music then forget it. There is huge competition, and you must love what you do so that wherever you are playing, if it is in a club, or in your bedroom, then you will still be happy. To be a good DJ you need to have the sensitivity for the music and for the people, you need both. The goal is to make people happy with the music that you love, that’s the perfect combination, and you need to be sensitive enough to play the right track at the right moment.”
Tell us about your collaboration with singer and judge on Operación Triunfo, Concha Buika.
“I first met Buika in 97. I wanted to make a cover version of Somebody Else’s Guy with her, but CeCe Penistone got in there first! Then we worked together again in 2000, and we worked together every year, making a song each year for several years. She became very successful with her jazz albums, and her label did not allow her release electronic music, so we did not see each other for a while. And then she called me last summer out of the blue and said “Kiko, we need to make music together again.” So we got together and listened to the music that we had made before to see if there was anything we could also rework. And that’s where it started. This led to us performing together with live musicians in November in Madrid. We played a track called Mama Calling and the reaction we had from the audience told us that it HAD to become a single. So now we are excited to be releasing it this week!”
What is the song about?
“Concha wrote the song maybe 20 years ago. Mama is the call of nature, the planet. The lyrics are “Mama is going to love me, hold me, protect me”, It’s talking about the power of the environment, about how amazing it is that we are alive. Now we need to give something back as well, and this song is about that.”
How do we support you and the song?
“You can download the song on iTunes, or Spotify. And we are hoping to announce a gig together for the summer, it is still being planned. But we would love to have many people there to dance with us!” You can see more about Kiko on his website www.kikonavarro.es “Mama Calling” is released on all streaming services on Friday January 26th. You can also buy the song online at beatport.com and traxsource.com