Hailing from the beautiful city of Sofia in Bulgaria, Strahil Velchev, Aka Kink, has been at the front-and-centre of dance music for a number of years now. One of the main reasons for his clubbing fame is without a doubt his approach to his live sets and the wide array of equipment he uses during those sets.
When it comes to pushing boundaries, Kink doesn’t mess about. He often mixes a range of the most simple equipment you could imagine, such as cheap rubber bands stretched across a turntable to form a basic looping vinyl sampler, or expensive synths that cost more that most people’s cars.
When watching him play live, it can be mesmerising to watch him spin so many musical plates at once, controlling umpteen flashing samplers, controllers and effects units with one hand while loading up acapella laden vinyl on another, his feet busy operating a foot pedal, his face busy smiling.
But what exactly is he playing with on stage that makes him so happy? Ahead of KiNK’s latest release Perth, which is out now on Running Back, let’s look at Kink’s top five favourite on-stage gadgets to see what makes his performances so special…
The TR-8 has been always been extremely popular with live acts across the globe, being the drums and groove forefront to the setups of many. Consisting of full 808 & 909 kits integrated into it’s digital interface, the TR8 gives the user a limitless amount of variety and creativity within the 16 step sequencer, faders and fx. KiNK uses every last drop of what the TR8 has to offer.
The Technics 1210 turntable is rare enough to see nestled with a live set these days, but KiNK loves to incorporate it into his live performances and rarely appears without it. Although he uses it rarely, when he does use it, it adds a whole new layer and flavour to his sets, often used for acapellas or as a rudimental-sampler
For the makeshift-turntable sampler he takes a selected record, puts a piece of tape over a certain dominant vocal hook or interesting break and has the record loop back and forth over the same vocal.
One of his most famous examples of this is where KiNK brings in the famous “Fingers Inc – My House Acapella” and dubs it over a layer of different live sounds.
Novation Launch Control XL
Novation has really made making music on Ableton much easier with this product. 16 buttons, 24 knobs and 8 faders that all link seamlessly with Ableton to give you complete control of every last beat.
KiNK uses this launch control pad as the digital mixer of his whole setup. From this machine KiNK can adjust the levels on each machine’s send signals and effects and even control virtual synthesisers all in Ableton.
When it comes to more of an edgy rough sound the analogue Lep Loop is the perfect tool for that extra ingredient. When it comes to analogue gear, there’s always a wild aspect to making music with it and KiNK takes full advantage.
KiNK likes to keep his live sets fairly light, but at times he wants to take the crowd head-on with a bit more pace and power, and the Lep Loop is the perfect machine to do that. Not only can the machine produce some intense synth leads but it can also be used as a drum machine for some very chunky 808 sounds to make any sound system spring to life.
Novation MK2 Launchpad
Similar to the Launch Control XL the Launchpad is used for recording instruments audio and launching midi patterns pre-programmed in Ableton, but can also be used for emulating plugins such as a 303 emulator KiNK always speaks so highly of.
KiNK uses two launchpads instead of one, as he needs all of the channels he can get due to the sheer amount of jamming and over-dubbing he does when performing live.