A conversation with one of dance music's best-loved live acts, recorded live at AVA Festival.
Strahil Velchev, AKA KiNK, once likened performing live to playing an "extreme sport." That might sound over the top, but the Bulgarian's sets are famously thrilling and high-risk, full of audacious gear tricks and, when the moment calls for it, audience interaction. The entertainment value is through the roof, though this has as much to do with the music as the showmanship. Velchev is considered one of the most talented house and techno producers around, responsible for modern club bangers like "Existence," "Bitter Sweet" and "Cloud Generator."
Growing up in Sofia, Velchev became obsessed with dance music at the turn of the '90s, scoring his fix through a mix of radio and pirated cassettes, which introduced him to the likes of Richie Hawtin, Future Sound Of London and Shy FX. By the late '90s, he was making music at work and on friends' computers, though it wasn't until 2005 that a label finally agreed to release his tracks. In the nearly 15 years since, he's put out countless EPs and two albums, most recently the excellent Playground on Running Back. His world-conquering live show—which topped the Resident Advisor polls in 2015 and 2016—still continues to push the boundaries of electronic music performance. Velchev discussed all this and more with Carlos Hawthorn when they shared the stage at the recent edition of Belfast's AVA Festival.