LessThan3: You’ve got a show coming up Saturday night at Vessel in San Francisco. Have you played at Vessel before?
Kaveh: I played there once in 2011. Cool club, great sound system, venue is nice and intimate. Definitely looking forward to going back there, especially because I don’t play in a lot of other cities in Cali besides LA, so it will be fun to go to a city where I haven’t been in a while.
LessThan3: When you perform do you perform together?
Kaveh: It’s never the two of us; Kalle doesn’t DJ.
LessThan3: So he’s kind of the studio guy?
Kaveh: We started out by sending files back and forth, but since touring has ramped up to full time we have a studio in Stockholm where he lives and I will go and meet up with him. Sometimes we still send files to each other, though.
LessThan3: Do you also live in Stockholm?
Kaveh: No; I moved everything into storage because I’m never in the same place for more than four or five days.
LessThan3: Would you consider yourself “on tour” right now, or are you just playing the regular amount of dates that you would play?
Kaveh: I think the way people talk about touring is incorrect now as it relates to dance music. It’s not like back in the day when people would record an album, tour for several months, and then not tour for a while. When you have an established name in dance music, you’re always on tour until you decide to take a break or you stop making records people want to hear.
LessThan3: Where are some of your favorite places to play?
Kaveh: Mexico is incredible, and so are France and South Africa. I love playing in El Paso, some spots in Canada, but overall in terms of entire countries, Mexico, France, and South Africa are at the top for me. When I have a gig in either of those countries I know it will be a 10 out of 10.
LessThan3: Are you playing at BPM?
Kaveh: We have one of the official opening parties on Jan 3 for our label, Kraftek.
LessThan3: Speaking of Kraftek, how do you decide what to put out? Are you trying to release a sound that is similar to your own or are you expanding beyond that?
Kaveh: When I hear a track and it hits me on a gut level, that’s the main thing I’m going for. I’m not interested in signing an artist that sounds like a Pleasurekraft copy, because while it’s flattering I don’t think it’s doing anyone a service. If you’re looking out for that artist’s best interests you need to tell them that they need to forge their own sound rather than mimic. Kraftek Villains Vol. 1 was a good indicator of the breadth of sounds we release. Deep house, techno, tech house, and house were all on there. Are we going to release dubstep, electro, progressive? No. Even if it hits me on a gut level, I’m not going to play that live, so I can’t give it the proper promotion. There are plenty of other great labels that artists can go to for that sound.
LessThan3: Who are some of the main artists you’re releasing?
Kaveh: Bontan, this deep house guy from the UK who has a really innovative, bassy sound. Jaceo and Vedic from Denver are incredible producers. We’ve done a bunch of tracks with them. Coming up we have tracks from Stacey Pullen, Pirupa, Oliver $, Green Velvet, and Sergio Fernandez all coming out in the next three to four months.
LessThan3: How much do you think your sound has changed since the start of your career?
Kaveh: I think it’s really funny when I read comments that are like “oh man you guys need a new style” or “what happened to the old style?” You can never make everyone happy. We have releases in techno, deep house, and tech house–for one act, I think that’s a good continuum of styles. I love being able to change it up and not do the same thing over and over. For the most part the fans have been great, though. I think there is something unique to what we do; I don’t think we repeat ourselves as far as style goes. For better or worse, we kind of just do what we want to do and hope that it resonates with fans.
LessThan3: You guys teamed up with Green Velvet on Skeleton Key. What was it like working with him? He seems like a pretty eccentric character.
Kaveh: Curtis is an awesome guy. Outside of dance music, he is one of the nicest human beings I know. I’ve worked with him in the studio, but not for Skeleton Key—it was for another track. With Skeleton Key he sent us vocals and we went from there. He didn’t even have anything original to sing over. He took an eight bar loop from a remix of a track we did called Zooloo and did the vocals over a part of that, then we took them and did something completely different. He had no idea what it was going to sound like when he got the first copy. It was flattering when a guy like him calls you within five minutes of sending the track and saying “dude, this is amazing.”
LessThan3: Tarantula is one of the Top 10 selling tracks on Beatport of all time. Have you seen the financial returns that you would expect from a ranking like that?
Kaveh: The financial returns are really from people booking you. Within seven months of Tarantula releasing, Both Kalle and I were able to quit our day jobs and focus only on music, so that definitely had a return. As far as digital sales, it was a nice chunk of change, but at this point, a good weekend of shows will make you more money than what we’ve seen from that track.
LessThan3: Any other upcoming releases you want to tell us about?
Kaveh: We have the remix package for a collaborative EP that we did with Format B over the summer, Coltrane/Sexus, that releases Nov 11 on Kraftek. It features a remix of Sexus by DJ Anna from Brazil and two remixes of Coltrane—one from Belocca and one from Re.You. We’re gonna be releasing a Kraftek Villains Vol. 2 before Winter Music Conference as well. There will be some bomb tracks on there that I’m playing right now from our favorite up-and-coming producers. Floor-friendly, hands-in-the-air type stuff, but still underground.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Kaveh: Energetic, Fluid, Delectable.