Ken Walker aka. Ken@Work has had a very prolific profile on the reborn Disco circuit world wide over the last half-decade.
His DJ career goes over four decades back and it’s taken far and wide. I have talked to Ken about the rejuvenation of Disco, roots, formulas and his path to DJ stardom with his own producer series on the legendary DMC (Disco Mix Club).
(Free exclusive download at the bottom of the interview)
Hi Ken, thanks for talking to us.
Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey.
I had my first club residency at 17. It’s been over 40 years on the decks now.
A real melting pot of styles in those early years. Disco, Funk, New Romantic, Reggae, Ska.
Countless tours, festivals & supports. Highlights supporting Prince, Jay Z, Kool & The Gang, Earth Wind & Fire, A Jarreau, Randy Crawford, Barry White & 3 tours with Chaka Khan.
You’ve gone from strength to strength in 2021. Obviously you’re no novice when it comes to structuring a sure-fire, certified crowd-pleaser. What is, in your own opinion, the key to a successful track?
Clean intro & outro, it’s got to make the people dance and preferably hasn’t been done to death.
You’re know for both crate digging and invigorating dance floor gems from the days of Yore. Do you have criteria for selecting tracks or do you aim for impact differently?
I am constantly listening to my old vinyl for inspiration. Preferably tunes that charted regionally rather than country wide. Makes a big difference when trying to find gems. I’ve got a great team of music lovers that constantly send my tracks that they think I could re-work.
“The classics have been done to death!”– Ken@Work
What’s the scene in Melbourne like?
It’s a healthy scene for sure. A bit to commercial for my liking. Not many internationals touring of late due to Covid but Carl Cox has been on the circuit with his mobile disco shows. Packer & LNTG still pump out inspirational sets when they play here.
2021 saw you release a plethora of things on the legendary DMC. That must be a bootleg-producer’s dream come true. Tell us a bit about your affiliation.
I’ve been working with DMS in the States for the past 8 years and felt like I had done enough to approach DMC. I sent them a swag of personal edits, they loved them and so far we’ve released 3 producer series albums & over 20 tracks on the monthly Commercial Collections. It’s great exposure and the mixes are sanctioned by the artists & record companies.
What’s playing at the moment in the Walker residence, music wise?
Undisputed Truth – Law Of The Land
Patrice Rushen – Posh
EPMD – Strictly Business
South Shore Commission – Self Titled
Last year is probably the strongest year for Disco re-edits yet. How do you see 2022? Do you see any trends?
Def more underground & obscure twisted disco. The classics have been done to death!
How has the COVID-19 situation impacted on you? Some feel that it has spurred their creativity, others feel at a loss having lost touch with a tangible audience. How has it been for you?
It’s been great actually. I’ve given my ears a good rest and I’ve been super busy in the studio.
Is there any differences in the pre-COVID and post-COVID audiences?
Not really. People still party like it’s 1999!
How are the younger generations’ way of taking in Disco different than your own generation’s?
There’s definitely a real appreciation of the music. Kids are much more musically aware & educated.
Are we at a point where the market is over-saturated, and are we seeing a diluting of the Disco phenomena once again?
It hasn’t reached the point of saturation yet but producers really need to dig deeper and ditch the classics.
What have you always wanted to do sound wise, but never gotten around to?
Produce some Deep House tracks!
What would you like 2022 to bring career wise for yourself?
I had a strong year in 2021. I’d love to see it continue. Looking to expand the reach of my radio show ‘Work It!
I’ve got releases booked up til August 2022. Looking to get a few tracks pressed on vinyl also.
“People still party like it’s 1999!”– Ken@Work
Best advice for younglings starting out doing edits?
Find your groove and stick to it! You have to earn respect. Don’t be a sheep.
Build your own Mailchimp database via Bandcamp & Hypedit.
Solid advice from a seasoned veteran who’s got plenty of dirty tricks up his sleeve some 40 years into his career.
Ken@Work has been kind enough to throw all us hungry Disco dogs a bone in the form of an exclusive track available nowhere else than here:
Check out more from Ken@Work: