Costa Rica’s new underground getaway, Ocaso Music Festival, is preparing to soundtrack the pristine Pacific playa with some of the underground’s most sought-after house and techno artists from January 4-7. In its second edition, Ocaso has become a prime destination for the global underground elite, offering a who’s who billing of beaconing industry titans. This year’s bill includes the infamously secretive Claptone, West Coast house originator Doc Martin, as well as Kenny Glasgow, Carlo Lio, HECTOR, Dirtybird’s Sacha Robotti, Huxley, the Desert Hearts crew, and many, many more. Ahead of Ocaso, Dancing Astronaut’s teamed up with the festival for an ongoing interview series spotlighting the cultural hotbed’s alluring, world-class acts.
Kevin Knapp is one of tech house’s greatest chameleons. Between his coveted work with Jamie Jones’ renowned Hot Creations imprint, to Dirtybird, DFTD, Truesoul, and more; Knapp’s solidified an effervescently amorphous standing as a commanding force in the subgenre, dominating club floors across the world in the interim.
Knapp’s flourishing career dates back to his success in 2012 when his music was a fixture in the Bay Area underground. His beginnings behind the booth were at infamous parties like Satellite, Werd, As You Like It, and more. Quite similar to many artists before and after him, Knapp’s incubation period in the underground allowed him to get his footing. His eventual debut, “Like This,” on Matt Tolfrey’s Leftroom label was a powerful turning point for the artist, but it was his classic tech house tune “Stay Glued,” with Audiojack, that really kicked things off for the artist a year earlier.
From there, Knapp moved to Berlin and went on to debut a multitude of records, including his Hot Creations’ record “Heft” that became the catalyst for Knapp’s more global success. Relocating to Europe in early 2013 had brought about friendships with the likes of Pan-Pot, Tiefschwarz, and Sacha Robotti. Not only has Knapp become a fixture on the global circuit and somewhat of a club scene heavyweight over the years, but his collaborations have come full circle; he’s collaborated once again this year with Audiojack on a new piece called “Implications.” It’s through both Knapp’s willingness and wholehearted desire to represent the underground that he is poised to forever succeed.
Kevin Knapp will be playing at La Senda, in the Costa Rican Jungle on Saturday, January 6.
What was your first label release? Would you still play it in a show?
“The First Label I ever released on is called Looq Records and it’s run by two of my good friends Jondi & Spesh out of San Francisco. Jondi and I worked together in my initial studio days under a moniker called Slow Poke. The first song we did was called Broken Line and at the right time, sure I’d play it. I just dusted if off to answer this question and it’s still got a lil’somethin’.”
What has been the biggest breakthrough of your career?
“The first break through was a track called ‘Stay Glued‘ that I did with Audiojack. The FCL remix for that cut put me on the international radar I guess. When I landed in Berlin that’s how people knew me. Releasing the track ‘The Heft’ on Hot Creations in 2015 was definitely the biggest release I’ve had to date.”
What’re your thoughts on the potential of Costa Rica as a cultural hotbed for underground house and techno?
“I’ve actually not played in Central America a lot, but it seems to be happening more and more lately which is great! I’ve not been to Costa Rica yet so I can’t really speak to that, but with BPM closing last year in Mexico it seems like there is likely some space now for other Central American countries including Costa Rica to step up their January game. Everyone that I know who has been there, raves about the country, I can’t wait!”
What are you looking forward to most about Ocaso Festival?
“First off the opportunity to play tunes in the Costa Rican jungle sounds like once in a lifetime kinda stuff. I’m also excited to see so many of my friends there. I think Doc Martin and I are on the same stage on Saturday and we just recently met on a shared bill in Brooklyn for the first time just last month (if you can believe it). It will be fun to see him again. Also Tone of Arc, Kenny Glasgow, Claptone & my good buddy Sacha Robotti will all be there. Costa Rica with the homies? Sign me up!”
If you could be another artist for a day, whom would you pick?
If you could recommend three artists to catch from the lineup, who would you pick?
“Kenny Glasgow, I’ll be front and center for that. He’s dope personified. Sacha Robotti – Don’t sleep on Sacha he’ll hurt ya! (yes, I mean that positively). Desert Hearts – I’ve heard about them a ton and I’ve never seen them so I’m pumped to finally check them out!”
If you were recruited to provide an Essential Mix in 2018, what’s the one song you couldn’t leave out and why?
“‘Blah Blah Blah’ by Yours Truly on Hot Creations. It’s just burned down so many dance floors me this year. It’s coming out next spring and just really speaks to where I’m at musically at the moment.”
Ocaso festival will be held January 4 through January 7 in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Tickets, lineup, and more information are available here.