We are heading to Seattle, USA for this weeks ‘Team Brisk Streamer of the Week’ feature as we stop in for a chat with the one, the only – Ian K!
Where are you from and where are you living now?
Born and raised in Seattle, WA the land of overcast skies 9 months out of the year!
How did you come up with your DJ name?
When I was first getting into the scene there were a lot of local DJs with some pretty cool stage names, for a while I was really trying to think of something unique to go by but never found anything that I loved. I started out as an MC and went by the name MC Verbal because I sometimes have a habit of never shutting up! When it came to DJing I initially thought I would just keep Verbal, but then determined I wanted something new and separate from what I’d done before. I had a promoter asking me what name to put on a flyer for an upcoming show and I had run out of ideas so I just told them “Ian K” which is my real name and decided that was probably the best I was going to come up with!
What’s your equipment list?
Shure SM-58 Microphone
Where did your musical journey begin?
I first fell in love with dance music when my neighbour gave me a copy of the KLF’s “White Room” album in 1991. I was immediately hooked on the use of sampling and the pounding rhythms, along with the imagery the music evoked. From that moment forward I was fascinated with dance music and electronic music production!
On the production side I got introduced to midi sequencing In high school, we had an old computer running Cubase that I learned some basics on. At the same time I was in a punk band and was learning about studio recording techniques so I was able to apply ideas from both worlds to what I was making. Eventually that led to using Reason, then Cubase, then on to other DAWs over the years!
What made you decide to take up DJing?
I had a few friends that were really into DJing, specifically my best friend DJ Dummy who encouraged me to give it a try. I started buying records in 1999 (‘Dream Surprise’ by Fade and Bannanaman was the very first!) from a local shop and soon found myself practicing more and more. Initially it was mainly a way for me to keep up to date on the latest tunes so I was familiar with them as an MC, over time I started to really love the creativity in mixing and started to focus more of my time on that than getting on the mic!
What are some of your interests/hobbies/passions outside of streaming/DJing?
A huge focus in my life is encouraging the people around me to tap into their creativity and have fun creating art of any kind! It’s something that is a true passion of mine and I absolutely love supporting other creatives and sharing ideas around motivation, inspiration and developing artistic ideas. I also love playing around with electronics and have worked on a few different art projects that I’ve taken to Burning Man and other festivals. I’m also a huge pro wrestling fan and enjoy attending local independent shows.
When did you start streaming on Twitch?
I initially began streaming on Twitch in early 2020 after several other DJs I worked with moved there from other various streaming platforms like Facebook Live. I was immediately impressed with how much better the platform was for connecting with an audience! Early on I got a lot of help from Hartshorn to get up to speed on all things Twitch, they are a fantastic resource to anyone getting into DJ Streaming! Now that I’ve been at it for a while I absolutely love the community on Twitch and meeting so many talented people!
Is there anything you really hope to accomplish in your life, whether it be related to music or not?
More than anything I want to encourage everyone I meet to try their hand at creating art and expressing themselves whether it’s music, painting, electronics, writing or really anything else. I feel strongly that the act of creating is something important that everyone should get to enjoy, and that creativity just for the fun of it often brings a lot of joy into our lives and the lives of others. My motto that I want to share with everyone is to “Go forth and be awesome!”
Who are some of your favourite streamers? Why?
I’m a huge fan of Jimni Cricket, having played alongside them for many years I love to see their creativity and themes in their streams. Others that I really enjoy include No Left Turn, Hartshorn and DagHardcore for their engaging performances. Outside of music streams I enjoy Kitboga a ton, seeing him messing with scam callers really makes my day sometimes! I also enjoy watching video game streamers like heymeowdy, they have a fantastic community!
What is your favourite genre to play? Why?
For me it’s always been about hardcore tunes, anything 170 BPM and above! I love the energy and the excitement of hardcore music, and it always puts a smile on my face. Beyond hardcore I’m a big fan of Drum & Nass, Future Bass, and I’ve had some very fun Trance streams over the past year.
What are some of the most memorable events you’ve participated in or streamed?
In the Summer of 2022 I participated in a stream raid train where we were seeking donations for local food banks. When it got to my slot I let viewers know that I would personally match donations during my set and we ended up raising over $800 for NW Harvest, California Association of Foodbanks, and Los Angeles Regional Foodbanks during my set!
In terms of live gigs I’ve been lucky to get to perform at both HTID in the Sun and HTID USA. Those were life changing events for me as I got to connect with a ton of amazing artists and meet so many hardcore ravers from all over the world. It really helped me to see how this music we love reaches far and wide and positively impacts so many lives!
What does Team Brisk mean to you?
Team Brisk is a fantastic collective of artists spanning all across the globe filled with artists who have a genuine desire to share amazing music with others. There have been so many opportunities to learn from others and to share tips back and I really appreciate the team in helping me grow. I love that at nearly any time day or night there is likely a Team Brisk artist streaming, it makes you feel like you are a part of a large family and it has been an amazing source of support and encouragement since I joined!
What’s your favourite thing about DJing on Twitch?
On Twitch I feel like I can take risks or change things up in ways I never could in a club or rave environment. Sometimes I’ll play a Ska song, some days we’ll let chat choose genres, or maybe instead of playing music we’ll chat about music production. One of my favorite experiences from the past year has been Q & A streams alongside No Left Turn and Doughboy where we get to share ideas and answer production and DJ questions from the audience.
What is a challenge you’ve faced as a DJ/streamer?
There are some days where it’s easy to feel discouraged, you log in to start your stream and see someone playing minecraft with 10k viewers and start to wonder if it’s worth it to stream at all. Keeping things fresh and not feeling too repetitive is also something that takes some effort, you always want to ensure that you have something new to share! The great thing is that once you start up a stream and see friends in chat it’s easy to get into a good flow and just enjoy the music along with them.
Do you have any special projects, streams or events you would like to tell us about?
I’ve recently signed with the label Subsonic Underground, which was one of the crews that really helped me get my start in the early 2000s. One of my goals this year is to release an artist album, something that SSU has been very supportive of. Right now I have about 12 songs in demo form that I’ve been play testing on stream, if you’ve caught a show you’ve likely heard some previews. I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone later this year!
Is there anyone you’d like to shout out and/or thank?
Big shout out to Brisk for taking the initiative to build this community and helping so many of us hit our stride on Twitch. Much love to my close friends No Left Turn and Doughboy who are a constant source of support and motivation, as well as Dummy and the whole seattleHARDCORE crew.
I also want to give a shout out to HeyMeowdy and Hartshorn, both gave me a lot of very helpful advice about Twitch early on and I don’t think I would enjoy streaming as much without their support early on.
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