KURA – Mixing Reggaeton with African Roots

to Create A New Dance Music Vibe

 Exclusive Interview

by Kimberly Phan

  Rúben de Almeida (born August 21, 1987) better known as KURA or just DJ Kura is a master electro house musician that over the years has been able to release chart topping tracks with the likes of Hardwell’s Revealed Recordings and the legendary Ferry Corsten’s Flashover Recording. Steaming from his home of Portugal he has performed all over the world with some of the biggest names in dance music. During Miami Music Week he had an opportunity to catch up with us at Raver Mag. This is what he shared up with us.     In 2014, you received the award for Best Portuguese DJ in Radio Nova Era’s annual awards and DJ Mag ranked you as 42nd Best DJ in the world. In 2015, DJ Mag ranked you as 61st in the world. Obviously your successes didn’t come overnight. It’s come with hard work. You’ve released some amazing tracks like “Odyssey,” “Undefeatable,” “Devious Behavior,” and “Sabotage.” Tell me, how does it feel knowing you’ve accomplished so much in such a short amount of time? In terms of Portugal, I’ve been DJing for a long time and the work there was more extensive. People already knew me from back then. Only when I started to release on bigger labels was when the market outside got to know me as a DJ and a producer. When I released my collaboration with Hardwell, it hit #1 on Beatport and was one of the top selling tracks so that’s when I presented myself more to the larger audience. In terms of Portugal, the people have been supporting me for a long time so it’s different! You’ve had your first solo Beatport No.1 and have toured the Far East, Europe the United States, and have played at the biggest festivals in the world. From Tomorrowland to Ultra Europe, what’s the next destination you hope to play at? What are some places you haven’t hit yet and want to explore?  For now I want to make different kinds of music. I want to test out songs that I haven’t done. I’ve only done dance songs. The problem is that dance songs on Beatport have a short lifespan. It’ll last two to three weeks and then it’s gone. I don’t want to create that kind of music. I want to create music that lasts longer and music that people can connect. I’m gonna release a new track on Spinnin Records the 7th of April which is called, “Paper Roses.” It’s a poppy song that can attract the common person. For someone who hasn’t listened to your music, say the common person, how would you describe your sound?  I would say my main tracks that are more carefree to me, have jungle and tribal elements to it. Would you say its bippity boppity jungle house? Haha you could say that. Where I come from, the music is very Latin. I’m Portuguese so we embrace the Latin culture. Having Latin friends, I’ve always noticed that whenever there’s music playing, there’s nonstop dancing… It’s the kind of music that just makes you feel good and keeps you grooving. Exactly. It’s true! On the contrary to the States where there’s a lot of rap and hip hop, we have reggaeton. I take bits and pieces of reggaeton with African roots and put it in my songs. The structure is a little more complex. You were saying that a lot of music appears on Beatport then disappears. If you’re a consumer and don’t check Beatport regularly, you won’t be aware since it’s getting filtered day in and day out. With the music industry being so saturated and cut throat, what do you think an artist has to do to stay relevant? The thing is, to be relevant; you have to be the whole package. The music is important but you also have to be interesting in all areas if you want your audience to follow you and attend your shows. Of course, you make music so people can listen to it but you want to make them come to your show.   https://soundcloud.com/spinninrecords/kura-ft-melody-noel-paper-roses So beyond the music, you want to create a relationship with your audience. Yes… To get them to relate to you, they have to be able to feel your performance. When I create music, it’s not just to sell on iTunes or Beatport, but it’s to get my audience to relate to my shows. You cannot create a business or a relationship by selling songs on Beatport, it’s not possible… Of course you don’t create music for money but it has to be sustainable. You get to do what you love BUT it’s a bonus that you get paid for it. Exactly. We also have people that work with us that have to get paid too. It’s not a one-man show. To be relevant, I have to interact with my audience as well like on social. I just cannot solely post about music. For the common person, they won’t know all about Beatport and all that. They want to go out and party! For example, let’s imagine a 30-year-old woman who has a kid that wants to go out for once… She may not know what Beatport is or have Spotify. It’s normal! We think how could that be possible but that’s the reality so we have to be mindful and think. I always try to think 360 in that area. It’s admirable that you try to create a personal relationship with your audience. With any successful artist, you have to be one with your audience. Beyonce always comes to mind when I think of musicians who connect with their followers. It’s funny you bring that up because I try to establish some type of comparison between her and Rihanna. Rihanna has had so much more hits than Beyonce but people embody Beyonce like a goddess. So, for those who have never listened to your music, what do you hope they take from it?  I want them to connect; I want them to feel something. Whether they’re at my show or listening to my music at home. I want my music to mean something. For the new music I’m releasing, there are breakdowns that’ll release your emotional side. I rarely make happy songs the melodies evoke emotion. With the proper songs, I’m very careful with the vocals.  

Interviewed by NYC Correspondent Kimberly Phan – Raver Mag. 

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