Everyone needs a good vacation from time to time. Sometimes, it’s a relief just to get out of town for a few days. That’s what I did over the last week. I took a short, two day road trip with my family to good ole’ Oklahoma. Even though it was a super short trip, it was so fantastic to get out of this little world I’m stuck in. But, I realized you don’t even have to leave town to get this fantastic feeling. Sometimes, music can be your guide into a beautiful imaginary world, and Dr. Kananga's new album, MotherEarth, does just that.
The album starts off with Irreplaceable, which makes me feel as if I am walking down a rainy street with young choir boys on my tail singing their dreary lullabies as I ponder life. The next track, Peace, puts me in a small rustic town with music coming at me from all sides. As I walk down the street, my ideas of music change to a more harmonious view of all styles working together. FinallySummer takes me to a slow motion world of adolescence. Running through the sprinkler, jumping on the trampoline, and riding my bike with close childhood friends. ComeApart puts me in the role of a secret agent. Jumping through windows, repelling from helicopters over boats in the ocean, and cheesy fight scenes. Next, RightOnMidnight puts me in the back of a limo having a night on the town with all the finest ladies imaginable. As I step out of the limo, the flashes of cameras go off all around. Needless to say, I’m a pretty big deal. Shamedi takes me into a deserted African ghost town searching for life. As I turn a corner, an ambush of angry tribes men! I run through the jungle to escape, jumping over logs, dodging vines, and climbing trees to fight for my life. The next track, Sindhi, takes me to an large city in India. The street is madness. It is a huge party happening in the center of town highlighted by loud music, flashing lights, people dancing. KolKataRagtime makes me feel as if I am flying high in the sky in search for a gang of train bandits. I see the train and swoop down, taking out men one by one in order to save the day. The final track, SojaSerenade, takes me to an all white room of people in strange costumes walking by and staring at me as I lay on the cold floor. I am too curious and scared to move.
Now, those are all my own personal journeys when I closed my eyes and listened to each track and let my imagination run free. You too can go to a completely different world, all you have to do is let your mind take you there, and MotherEarth is a perfect ticket to not just one, but nine different worlds. So, why keep waiting? Take a vacation from your boring old world today!
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Hey man! Thanks for spending a little bit of time to talk with me!
No problem, it’s my pleasure.
So, let’s start off with you telling us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Kyle Hobbs. I’m 24 years old and I produce under the name Dr. Kananga. I grew up in a suburb of LA called Thousand Oaks. I’ve lived in San Diego, Colorado, Peru for a little bit last year, and I currently reside in Ventura, California.
And you are affiliated with Shoeboxx Records. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with them so far?
I have nothing but good things to say about Shoeboxx Recordings. Basically I was making loads of tracks just for myself and friends. posting a new track almost everyday. Then a good friend and early fan of mine, Plabang Woo, asked if he could make some videos using my music. He made a couple videos that eventually made their way to Eric Talledo, of Shoeboxx. Right away Eric got into contact with me, and a few days later Paul and Eric offered me a spot on the label. Its been a great experience so far. I’m very happy to be part of such a talented family of artists.
So, your music is very sample based. Where do you find all these amazing samples?
Basically whenever I have free time I’m either crate digging at a record shop, listening to records, or watching netflix or youtube. When I shop for records I generally will grab any decent looking jazz, soul, or funk record, as well as anything that just looks interesting. Sometimes it’s world or lounge music, sometimes its radio drama. As far as netflix and youtube go. I just like watching weird or funny stuff and whenever I hear something that I think may work well as a sample I make a note in my phone. Later I’ll come back with my sampler and pull all the sounds. I also will sometimes pick up random VHS tapes and sample from those.
You have attended Low End Theory quite a few times. What influence has that had on your music and what are some of your most memorable moments there?
Going to Low End Theory I view as going to church. The amount it has influenced me as an artist is immeasurable. It’s what made me want to make instrumental hip hop in the first place. I got an SP 404 because I saw producers like Teebs, Ras G, Dibiase, Samiyam using them in such amazing ways. Every time I go I come home with loads of inspiration and all I do the next day is make music. Most memorable moment? That’s difficult to say, but I think the first would be when Thundercat, Flying Lotus, and Erykah Badu were surprise guests. Shit was getting super crazy in there. And the second would be this past summer when Earl Sweatshirt and Flylo were surprise guests. That night I was right up in front. It was amazing!
So tell me about your new release, MotherEarth.
It’s a 9 track beat tape I made towards the end of summer. It reflects the records I was buying at the time and the shows and movies I was into. It’s just a taste of what’s to come for people. I make music almost every day and like to think I’m improving all the time. So if you dig this release, just wait for what I’ve got for you next. You said you make tracks almost every day. How did you narrow it down to the 9 we hear on MotherEarth? Basically I said, “ok I’m gonna make this tape,” and the next 9 tracks (with a few exceptions) I made was MotherEarth. Sindhi and Peace I had made the previous month.
So, out of the tracks we hear on MotherEarth, which is your personal favorite and why?
I really like ComeApart. The breakbeat I used grooves so hard. And also the music is sampled from this incredible Marvin Gaye album called Trouble Man. It’s a soundtrack to this blacksploitation film. Since it’s a soundtrack there isn’t much singing, just the tightest grooves you’ll ever hear.
What was your inspiration to originally start making music?
I guess if you go ALL the back. I started playing clarinet in the 5th grade and was in band until my junior year of highschool. I was in middle school and became aware of ska music. I saw all these people, who I thought were really cool, playing band instruments in this cool rock/punk setting. I think in 7th grade I had my first fake band. From ska went to punk, hard rock, indie, psychedelic rock, then jazz, soul, hip hop, and electronic music. I’ve been in various bands along the way. I played bass for a little bit in a talented Simi Valley band called the Terns. But I think I wrote my first real song my sophomore year in highschool. And my inspiration was, and continues to be, a desire to be like the artists whom I came to basically worship.
Who were some of those artists?
The Aquabats, The Toasters, The Specials, Flogging Molly, The Shins, Modest Mouse, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, The Wu-Tang Clan, Dr. Dre, The Beastie Boys, The Digital Mystikz, Flying Lotus, J Dilla, and Madlib I would say have been the most influential throughout my life. I also forgot to mention a dubstep phase, which I’m not ashamed of at all.
So, what can we expect to look out for in the coming months from you?
I’ve got this new 80’s jam that’s going to be on the Shoeboxx compilation coming out Nov. 26. And after that a potential release is being discussed, but nothing I can officially say yet. But I’m making loads of tracks all the time so there will be plenty of new Kananga tracks coming out in the not-too-distant future.
Alright man! Always looking forward to new things from you! Thanks for taking the time to talk!
Any time, thanks for having me!
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Download Dr. Kananga’s nine track album, MotherEarth, here.
Also, check out Dr. Kananga on SoundCloud and Facebook.