King Most on His Obsession with Prince, His Beard, and the S.F. DJ Scene
DJ Karim Davis King Most
With a reputation as one of S.F.'s most well-rounded DJs, the tastes of local producer and DJ King Most span from the hip-hop sounds of Exile to the punk rock riffs of The Clash. From DJing ritzy Top 40 clubs to spinning vinyl at intimate wine lounges, his skill set allows him to be something of a nightlife chameleon. Also recognized for his various edits and mixes, including reworks of Al Green's "Simply Beautiful" and Frank Ocean's "Novacane," King Most's production work is rooted in his love of hip-hop and soul. All Shook Down recently spoke with King Most about his recent production work, keeping up with the latest music, and his beard. He will be opening for DJ Spinna along with local DJs Proof (Marky) and Hakobo this Saturday for Soul Slam at Mezzanine.
Tell us what you've been up to lately.
It's the summer of Patrick! I'm really just music making and organizing a few key events that I'm really looking forward to, and running and cooking as well.
Have you been doing much production lately?
Definitely. I'm in a real content place in my life with what I been creating lately. Everything from re-edits that are dipping to other genres beyond hip-hop and disco, to collaborating with studio musicians for beat-making. There's been a lot of magic with these computer machines and I'm looking forward to sharing.
How did you get acquainted with the Soul Slam party?
My relation with the Soul Slam party, as well as Wonder-Full, is an honest one I think. I'm really just as a fan of both MJ, Prince, my friends Marky and Hakobo who were throwing it, and obviously being a fan of DJ Spinna as well. I would go every year with some friends and basically dance so much that the next day your legs, back, and neck would be sore and you would lose your voice from singing along. And through that, Hakobo and Marky asked me to be involved not only as an opening DJ but also as organizer/jack-of-all-trades person.
As for your personal tastes, Prince or Michael?
What's funny is that in the beginning I would say M.J. without question, but the last four years I've been getting pretty obsessed with Prince and his universe. He makes odd, sexual, and charming music that you and your friends can lose your cool to. I'm going out on a limb and admitting that I like that and I can relate in a way.
What song can we catch you busting dance moves to at the party?
Here's the funny thing, instantly I would say "17 Days." But then when you go back and think of Prince, you start adding songs like "Pop Life," "Controversy," "Private Joy," "Sign of the Times," etc. But if I had to pick one, sure, let me twerk it to "17 Days."
Who is an artist you would like to see a party dedicated to that hasn't happened yet?
Paralleling my Prince obsession these past years, my obsession for Gil-Scott Heron has really grown full force, too. The way people feel about Dylan, Bob Marley, Tupac etc., is the way I feel about Heron. I still haven't come to terms or eulogized the man in my own way, and I don't even know if one could really throw a party. But he is someone I would like to pay my respects to. He was too good of a man not to be honored.
As one of the S.F. DJs who can fit on all sorts of bills and parties, what's one of your favorite situations or parties to play at?
I'm 100 percent genuine when I say this, but every gig I play does me some good and thus is a favorable situation. Since I play so many different parties, I have a lot to always learn and practice. So becoming familiar with what a Top 40 crowd likes, and what a younger hip-hop crowd reacts to, and what a Prince and M.J. fan loves, is really important to understand.
Is it hard to keep up with all the different bookings you get each week?
You know what? I think about this a lot. I don't even know how people do it. I'm just a super-lucky guy who really just met a lot of great and like-minded folks. I'm not exactly sure how the work keeps coming to me, but all I can do is practice, show up on time, be polite, and hope the cops don't come.
Do you think the local competition has been increasing for getting gigs since you started DJing?
I use to be insecure and feel like people wanted your gigs or whatever, and then one day I said "Fuck it, who cares? Let me spend my time practicing, creating, and organizing my own events." It's not worth carrying a bunch of fear and anxiety over. Crack a smile and a beer.
With all these blogs and fileshares putting out tons of music every day, how do you keep up with sorting through music and picking through what's good or bad?
I freak out every few weeks knowing that there's a whole damn world of amazing music out there and I don't know any of it. I can barely keep with my own record collection and the ones I buy on the weekly basis. But I do my best with the blogs, promo links, and Soundcloud. I even try to set-up stupid little systems of organizing, which fall to the wayside a few days in. At the same time, learning a new genre, time period, or artist is really one of the perks of being a DJ and music junkie.
Finally, what role has facial hair played in your success?
Tight beard. Tight music.