Alex Kidd: It has to be about the fans

We spoke to hard dance maverick Alex Kidd about developing a brand, the return of his festival Kiddstock, and how the scene has evolved over his career.

Mike Warburton

Last updated: 15th Apr 2015.
Originally published: 14th Apr 2015

Photo: Alex Kidd

After a five year hiatus, this summer will see the return of the only beachside hard dance festival in the UK - Alex Kidd's Kiddstock, which hits Redcar on August 1st.

As one of the most prominent and influential figureheads of hard dance, Alex Kidd has enjoyed over a decade at the height of the scene's pecking order, with his brand and record label Kiddfectious delivering the kind of records and parties that radiate hedonistic energy (hear that in 'Speaker Freaker' below).

Combining fresh ideas, inventive music policies and an ever growing loyal following have kept Alex Kidd at the forefront of the hard dance movement, with his upcoming festival primed to showcase the freshest sounds that hard dance has to offer. We caught up with the Manchester based artist to get the inside track on the festival, Kiddfectious, and much more.

It's not long to go till Kiddstock hits on August 1st, are you looking forward to it? What do you expect some of the highlights to be? 

The highlight for me will be the main outdoor stage on the beach - when the sun goes down and DJ Isaac, the headliner for the event takes to the decks!

Running your own festival must be an enormous job, what challenges have you faced along the way, and how have you managed to fit that in between your DJing, label running and producing?

Challenges for me have been working with my partner Barry, he's a nightmare! But apart from that everything has been great, so touch wood I can carry on enjoying the planning part without getting stressed. It has been a bit of a juggling act so I try to do a few days producing and then a couple of days on Kiddstock, then touring at the weekend.

Or sometimes I just have to work eight hour days in studio and then another five hours at night on Kiddstock. So long shifts! But I have good people around me and I couldn't do any of this without them . 

You've been around in the hard dance arena for years now, how has the scene evolved in that time and how would you rate its health in 2015?

The music has changed, new crowds come, old crowds go, some stick about. The technology has changed, the internet has changed everything. Ways of performing have changed, the fans expectations and desires have changed.

Fans are a lot more clued up now and being on your A game at the gigs is more important than ever. There's so much good talent out there so it's a healthy challenge to keep striving to be at the top. EDM has changed everything, even in the hard dance world. New standards have been set and the bar is raised high, in all manners, from music through to events and promotion.

Tell us about the transition from working in a Manchester record shop to playing at some of the biggest festivals in the world, like Creamfields (listen to his set from last year above), EDC Las Vegas and Tomorrowland. That's a real journey, what has been the key to it all coming off?

Yeah its been a long journey but it doesn't feel that long. I've been doing it for over 15 years, I can remember most of it so clearly and vividly. I think the real key has to be drive and determination. Talent obviously helps but I'm too humble to say I have talent so I guess the passion is what has made me get to any of the landmarks I've set out for.

How is Kiddfectious going? How has the experience been of developing your own brand, and what advice would you give to to anyone looking to do the same?

Kiddfectious is still rocking, we are hosting an arena at Xstatic Fesitval in the summer so I can't wait for that one.

It's in a transitional period at the moment. In 2015 I'm working on some new projects, such as Kiddstock and some new music with artists from outside of the hard dance scene.

It's the most excited I've ever been so I'm focusing my time on rebuilding and re-directing where Alex Kidd and the associated brands are headed. It will be an interesting time.

The key to any brand an artist is wanting to develop is the fans, same as with music and events. It has to be about the fans. They come first. Always. It's sometimes easy to forget that when you get so wrapped up in it all. 

You recently posted a bunch of old mixes from your archive on Soundcloud (listen to one of those above). How would you say your style has changed over the past eight or so years? And what’s it like revisiting those older mixes?

I guess my mixing and performance style hasn't changed all that much. I'm just as passionate now as I was eight years ago... I sometimes get butterflies and I sometimes practise all week for a one hour set. So in that regard I have just stuck with the basis of making every set exciting with a mixture of styles and music from different era's, with lots of edits, re-edits, mash ups, bootlegs and technical mixing.

Music wise, I've always played bits of everything - trance, hard house , hard trance, techno, hardstyle, Gabba, and more recently Subground. I'm starting to love a lot of the trap stuff too so watch this space!

Outside of the music, are there any other major passions in your life?

The usual I guess - fast cars, lesbian strippers, and kilos of powder.

Haha!

No I'm pretty boring to be honest, producing and DJing is my life, my girlfriend will vouch for that. Oh and football when I'm allowed to watch it..

What is the rest of your year looking like? Any festival appearances we can look forward to or imminent releases?

Some really cool festivals, not sure if I'm allowed to announce the big two that I'm playing at... I'll just give you clues. One is in a desert and the other one is the biggest festival on the planet.

On top of that I'll be at Defqon in Holland, Xstatic Festival in the UK and of course my own festival Kiddstock on the beach on Redcar! There's also a biggie in Germany that I'm not allowed to announce just yet but I'm sure most Hard Dance fans can guess by that clue.

Thanks Alex! Head here for more on Kiddstock.

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