It’s a bit past 7 on a recent Tuesday night, and King is holding court, breaking down the breakdown.
“The songs that are popular right now stick to a very strict guideline: intro, breakdown, buildup, drop,” the DJ-producer-promoter says of the current electronic dance music template over dinner and a beer at Steiners. “I try to go away from that a little bit. It’s still there, but I try to add layers.”
It’s this formula that King (aka Jerad Howard) tries to scramble on his recently released full-length debut, “Koncepts,” which unfolds like a sack of marbles emptied onto a slick surface, veering off into several different directions from one track to the next.
The album opens with the sci-fi funk of “Shawty Moon” and never repeats itself or lingers in a specific mood for too long. “Cops and Robbers” is sinewy, full-contact dubstep, built around a sample of a thunderstorm; “SOFL” is robust, anthemic house; “Getn Up” inventively rides the rattle of a graffiti artist’s spray-paint can.
“I was surprised that I was able to be happy with having so many different types of feelings on there,” Howard says. “There’s stuff that’s dancey, there’s stuff that’s really chaotic, there’s chill stuff on there. That’s me, jumbled up, separated into slices.”
The range of styles on “Koncepts” may register as a curveball for those who know Howard as one of the dudes behind Smash! Monthly, which is anchored in bass music and dubstep, catering to that scene long before it crossed over into the mainstream via Skrillex. Now the music has gotten so popular that booking acts of this ilk has become increasingly costly.
“Where I would be competing with an offer from maybe a couple of promoters in the general vicinity (in the past), now I’m competing with offers from multimillion-dollar corporations,” Howard says of the challenges of booking artists for Smash! which is now being done on a more limited basis. “I don’t have any hard feelings. We did it because we liked it and we thought it was music that should be heard.”
There are touches of dubstep on “Koncepts,” but it certainly doesn’t define the record.
This is what makes it worth continually revisiting.
“There’s so many things going on,” Howard says. “People may listen to the first one or two tracks and be like, ‘Oh, this isn’t for me.’ And then it’s out the window.”
Piece of advice: Close those windows and give it a chance.
“I should probably be concentrating on being more centralized,” Howard says, not sounding as if he’s all that interested in doing as much. “But, that’s why I make music: to do what I want to do.”
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org