Thursday
Apr012010

BIOGRAPHY :: FRANÇOIS K.

Born and raised in France, FRANÇOIS KEVORKIAN's passion for music led to playing the drums during his teen years. He moved to the United States in 1975, where he hoped to find more challenging situations than those back home. Due to the heavy competition for any gig as a drummer in those days, he instead tried his hand at becoming a DJ in underground New York City clubs, around 1976. His career then skyrocketed, and he quickly made this his full-time occupation, although some work was at more commercial venues such as the club New York, New York in 1977. He taught himself tape editing and started making disco medleys, some of which are still popular to this day, such as Rare Earth's "Happy Song". By 1978, he was offered a position doing A&R for the then-nascent dance indie record label Prelude Records, which immediately allowed him to go into the studio and do remixes. His first remix, of a Patrick Adams production, "In The Bush" by Musique became a wild success both in clubs and on the radio. It was the first of many remixes that helped Prelude define the sound of New York's dance music, including many memorable songs, such as "You're The One For Me' and "Keep On" by D-Train, and "Beat The Street" by Sharon Redd. His stint at Prelude ended in 1982, the same year where he collected the most number one singles in Billboard's Dance Music Chart, which included his remixes of now-classic songs such as "Situation" by Yazoo, and "Go Bang" by Dinosaur L.

During that time, he was privileged enough to play as a guest DJ at such legendary venues as the Paradise Garage, The Loft, Better Days, Studio 54, Les Mouches, Buttermilk Bottom, and AM-PM, as well as a residency at New Jersey's Club Zanzibar on Fridays for over a year. The great success of his remixes led him to record producing, and his first work was the Snake Charmer EP for Island Records, utilizing an all-star cast of Jah Wobble, The Edge, Holger Czukay, and Jaki Liebezeit. His career as a remixer and producer led him to work or collaborate with many more mainstream artists, such as Eurythmics, Diana Ross, U2, Kraftwerk, Mick Jagger, Ashford & Simpson, The Cure, Midnight Oil, Jimmy Cliff, Foreigner, Jean Michel Jarre, Jan Hammer, The Fatback Band, Bunny Wailer, The Smiths, Pet Shop Boys, Cabaret Voltaire, and culminated in his involvement in mixing all of Kraftwerk's 1986 studio album, Electric Café. He mixed Depeche Mode biggest-selling album, Violator as well as many of their 12" club remixes.

During that time he decided to build his own recording studio, Axis Studios, which ironically shared the same building as Studio 54. It quickly turned into a major commercial operation. Due to the pressures of studio work, he had abandoned DJing around 1983 to dedicate himself to recording and mixing full-time, but couldn't stay away from the turntables, and started spinning again in early 1990. By that time, the scene had really become much more international, and he quickly was able to start traveling and gaining much exposure overseas, including Japan. He toured there, DJ'ing with Larry Levan in the Summer of 1992 (the 'Harmony Tour') right before Levan's death in November of that same year. The demand for his DJ appearances led him to many of the best club venues around the world, including London's 'Ministry Of Sound' and 'Fabric', Japan's 'Spacelab Yellow', Ibiza's 'Pacha' and 'Space', as well as Italy's 'Angels Of Love' and many large-scale festivals, in countries spanning the entire globe.

By 1995, he started an eclectic independent record label, Wave Music which allowed him to find an outlet for his own creative endeavours, including the FK-EP, as well as signing records by Abstract Truth, Floppy Sounds, and a slew of other electronic music releases. Then in 1996, he (along with partner John Davis) started what arguably became one of New York's most revered weekly parties, Body&SOUL which took place every Sunday afternoon at Club Vinyl (in TriBeCa), playing along with co-resident DJs Joaquin 'Joe' Claussell and Danny Krivit for a mixed crowd of ecstatic and faithful dancers from all over the world. The 'Body&SOUL' sound, a unique soulful mix of very organic and spiritual dance music grooves, led to the release of a successful compilation series by the same name on Wave Music.

His career as an artist did not stop evolving, as he rekindled his interest for a more electronic sound, and the release of his Sonar Music set in 2002 marked a turning point; he started playing a much edgier and futuristic style, with more to do with techno and dub than the house sound he was mostly identified with as a DJ until that time. In 2002, he also started touring along with Detroit techno legend Derrick May, playing sets together as the 'Cosmic Twins'. His appearances at Berlin's Tresor, Manchester's Warehouse Project and London's Fabric helped gain him younger fans that may not have been aware of his previous work, which in turn led to the timely Summer 2006 release of a compilation CD, entitled 'Frequencies', (Wavetec), which takes the listener on a grand tour of the types of electronic music sounds he has been championing, from electro and more minimal sounds to 'big-room' house and techno.

In April 2003, he also started a DJ residency at a new weekly Monday night event in New York City called Deep Space NYC, and which focuses on the dub aesthetic in all of its forms. The musical scope there is extremely eclectic, ranging from spaced-out techno to the deepest reggae, dubstep, hip-hop as well as drum & bass, house, and cosmic disco sounds. This led to the 2005 release of ‘Deep Space NYC Vol. 1’, a mixed CD featuring several of his own original productions (along with Jamaican dub legends Mutabaruka and U-Roy); he also recently did notable remixes for Moloko, Yoko Ono, Cesaria Evora, Nina Simone, as well as much for his own label Wave Music. In 2005, he was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame as both a remixer and DJ.

The year 2008 saw the release of Mastepiece, an epic 3-CD mixed compilation on Ministry of Sound,  a continuous mix for Rockstar video game GTA IV, the birth of his DJ booking agency, ‘Forward Management’, founded with partner Aurélie Brambilla-Cotugno and representing himself as well as Juan Atkins, Roberto Bosco, Greg Wilson (in the US) and DJ Pierre. In recent years François has focused on his international DJ touring at clubs and festivals worldwide and has started a yearly event at Burning Man on the DubTribe SoundSystem with a surround sound show that we can hope to see in other venues in the near future. Body & SOUL also expanded from the US to several events per year in Japan, and events in London, Lyon (France), Paris, Lisbon, Madrid, Toronto, Italy, Croatia, Rio, the US West Coast, and at the end of 2011 released a 15 Year Anniversary compilation on Ministry of Sound (all 5 previous volumes came out on Wave Music).