You could trace your finger down a list of some of the most acclaimed and wonderfully crafted pop, electronic and R&B releases over the last ten years, and chances are that Kwes. probably had some role to play in its creation.
The producer, writer, mixer and artist has helped to shape and finesse music for the likes of Bobby Womack, Pusha T, Damon Albarn, Loyle Carner, Kelela, Nubya Garcia and Virgil Abloh, not to mention his work on Solange’s inimitable album, ‘A Seat At The Table’, but his own personal output has been just as valuable, with his emotive and singular take on pop finding homes on Young Turks and Warp, where he’s released a multitude of records.
For fellow London producer (and former school alumni) Mr Mitch, Kwes was the first Black artist existing in the same musical worlds as Mitch aspired to be part of. Not only that, Kwes.’s ability to be both fearless and vulnerable through his music struck a chord with the Gobstopper Records boss and encouraged him to push boundaries within his own output.
To show his appreciation for Kwes.’s musical guidance, he pieces together a mix of Kwes. productions and credits, and speaks to why the Warp artist has had such a huge impact on him.
Mr Mitch’s album, ‘LAZY‘, is out now via Gobstopper Records.
Why does Kwes. mean so much to you?
Kwes and I went to the same school. He’s a couple years older than me so I didn’t really know him then but a few years after leaving we started speaking a little online. He was a black face that existed in a musical world that I really wanted to be a part of. At a time when I questioned my identity and my place in the world musically, what he was doing was inspirational. He is the most chill, humble guy but his music is fearless to me.
What makes a Kwes. record so unique?
His vulnerability. I feel like a Kwes. track is raw in the sense that you can feel his soul on it.
When did you first hear Kwes.’s music and what impact did it have on you?
I bought his Hearts in Home 7” back in 2009 on the clear vinyl. Purely for the B side, Tissues is possibly my favourite Kwes. tracks. It’s minimal, it’s emotional the vocal is undeniably British, it’s pure soul music.
What’s your most sacred Kwes. record and why?
It’s definitely ‘Tissues’ but I also think his most recent EP ’Songs for midi’ went under the radar a bit. Midori on there is incredible.
Any standout memories from dropping an Kwes. track in a set?
I still haven’t done it tbh. I feel like his music is made for me to listen to on my own at home and get in my feelings.
How has Kwes. impacted you as a producer?
Kwes has offered me lots of advice and opportunities over the years but it’s his music that has impacted me the most. His fearlessness challenges me to push myself into unknown territories more.
How did you approach this mix? What did you want it to say about Kwes and their music?
Kwes is a producer but also a mixing engineer, a multi instrumentalist and a singer so this mix reflects all the different hats he wears. Some of the tracks in the mix are from him as an artist, some are produced by him, some are mixed by him and a couple he has contributed to the instrumentation, but I really wanted to show the breadth of his work and some of the amazing projects he’s had a hand in.
What would you say is Kwes.’s biggest legacy on music?
I don’t know, but to me Kwes was the first black face that I saw in the alternative pop/indie/electronic world that I could relate to and that had a big effect on what I felt I could achieve with my own music, so I’m sure there will be others that feel the same.
Solange – Where do we go?
Kwes. – Flower
Loyle Carner – Florence (feat. Kwes)
Virgil Abloh – Delicate Limbs (feat. serpentwithfeet)
Kwes. – Midori
Kwes. – Hives
Tirzah – Affection
Pusha T – Who I Am (feat. 2 Chainz & Big Sean)
Kwes. – Tissues
Nao – It’s You
Loyle Carner – Mrs C
Kwes. – 36
Solange – Don’t Wish Me Well
Kelela – LMK
Kano – My Sound
Kwes. – Igoyh