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DJ Carbon, Musician Kyle Solomon Discuss Their Flexible Future

Courtesy photo

DJ Carbon and Wichita musician Kyle Solomon open for Morris Day and The Time and The Revolution Saturday night at Riverfest. They are joined by guitarist Willy Simms and drummer Justin Crump.

Interview Highlights

Jedd Beaudoin: Have the two of you collaborated in the past or is this the first time?

DJ Carbon: We've collaborated a few times over the years as far as gettin' down with some local musicians and such. The first time we were billed on a show together, Adam Hartke, who helps with Riverfest, as well as with Barleycorn's, had got Grandmaster Flash over there for New Year's Eve a couple years back. He asked us if we would do a show and that is what we did.

I think we've all got down on a musical baseline that was all share enough that we are very comfortable … obviously, with something of this magnitude you want to prep and rehearse, but if you put us in a room for a short amount of time we can come out with a pretty killer set. I think we could come out with that pretty easily.

We came up with something that's a bit more structured that still gives us the freedom to go where we want to. We definitely did set it up where there's time for everyone to be featured. I can say, "I'm going to do this," and there're times when it's a call-and-response between myself on the turntables and Justin on the drums. Or we'll lay down a very minimal beat and allow Willy to go in one direction and Kyle to go in the other.

It's a lot of fun to lay down that beat and have them engage with each other. I'll pick up on a riff and start scratching with where we're going next. We've got points along the map that we're going to get to but getting to each one of them might flow a little bit differently as it naturally jams on stage.

Kyle Solomon: We might go from James Brown's "Super Bad" to Metallica's "Enter Sandman." You'll never know. You'll never know until you see it. Or hear it, for that matter.

DJC: That's one of the things I've always enjoyed about being a DJ is keeping people on their toes with the selections. That's the great part about having the other guys to work with: They might hear things that I don't. It's an awesome process to go through, it's a lot of fun just to see the directions different creatives can take it to and each of us have our own different backgrounds and different flavors but, in the end, when one of us puts something down, the others pick up on it immediately and say, "Alright, let's run with this."

KS: I'm really looking forward to working with Willy. We've known each other for years. We've only gotten to sit down and jam alone only a few times. I've watched Justin grow up. He's only 22, 23. We said, "Come on and join in on this dream. This is yours too, man."

You're doing this as kind of a one-time thing for Riverfest. Does this leave things open for more things or are you going to leave it as something that happens more sporadically?

KS: Honestly, I'm not sure how Carbon feels about this, but I like the sporadic moments for us. When we only have a few shows across a certain time span it becomes much more special. When you oversaturate your market people say, "Oh, OK. We'll catch you next time." But we want this to be very special every time we do it.

DJC: That's about the right speed. We'll have a few times where we have an impromptu jam session just because we do get along so well musically we're able to do that and have that in the repertoire. I think it means something to plan out a night. I don't traditionally plan out a whole set of music for a performance. I feel my job as a DJ is to read a crowd and respond to what they're enjoying. That's really the baseline of where I am. But for something like this where everything's pre-planned and weighed and measured, it definitely makes it special. But it's that much more when it's a one-off and we put something together for that moment. I'm sure this won't be the last time. I'm confident in that. As far as how frequently? It depends on the right occasion.

KS: Unless The Revolution or Morris Day wants to have an opening act for the rest of their tour.

DJC: Flexible.

KS: We're certainly flexible.

Jedd Beaudoin is the host of Strange Currency. Follow him on Twitter @JeddBeaudoin. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.