Listen Up Music Interview: Killa Kela

Franco Milazzo
By Franco Milazzo Last edited 78 months ago
Listen Up Music Interview: Killa Kela

One of the most experienced beatboxers on the scene, London-based Killa Kela (Lee Potter to his mum) collaborated with Super Massive Raver on one of the first music videos about the London riots. In a move Mohammed may have been proud of, Killa Kela and his French counterpart Eklips brought their talents to Brick Lane in July with a a beatbox bar crawl.

Introduce yourself in one sentence.
Killa Kela, beatboxer, multivocalist.

What would somebody not guess about you having met you?
I'm a big Heavy Metal fan. Between the years of 1983 - 1993 that was my bag.

Where does the name Killa Kela come from?
I used to graff write/draw with the name Kela, just because I loved the shape of the letters. They then represented the words "Kill Every Lip Action" when I started MCing in my teens. After, through beatboxing, it later became "Killa" Kela, as on my first tour I would "kill" it at every show (hip hop terminology).

How did you learn to beatbox? Are you self-taught?
Yeah man, self taught. I had been beatboxing before it was beatboxing, I must have been about 7 years old, playing with my toys, putting beats to the Grange Hill theme tune. Then I heard people doing it in hip hop; it was at that point that I went on a quest to find sounds that people weren’t doing.

We don't remember our careers officer at school mentioning beatboxing. What would have been your Plan B had beatboxing not worked out?
Haha, er I dunno...I was never that motivated to grow up. I would have stayed at school forever if I could have, especially getting away with what I did back then - I wasn't the most motivated kid.

You've been on the scene a while - the first time we saw you live was in Reykjavik's Airwaves Festival in 2003. Are there any London clubs or club nights that you miss that are no longer around?
I miss our night - Spitkingdom which we used to run. It was every Tuesday at Herbal, Shoreditch. Me, DJ Skelectrik and Beni G (Jackbeats) worked it for about 3 years and entry was free. We had everyone from Goldie to Scratch Perverts, Artful Dodger, Whookid and DJ Kool Herc pass through. No one could touch us, it was wicked.

Have you ever been tempted to go on an X-Factor style talent show?
Yeah man! People get good exposure and money through doing things like that, especially if you've got the talent.

What changes have you seen in the London music scene over the last five years?
Dubstep. I think its changed things in a really positive way. I remember touching on that tempo and sound with my track Jawbreaker in 2004 and people just didn't twig what I was trying to do. The difference now is there's a scene for it and people are creating their own sounds to a music and movement. A lot of these kids weren't there in the Jungle or rave movements. Dubstep is now at its commercial peak.

You've worked solo and with groups including London's Scratch Perverts. Do you have a preference for one or the other?
No, I dig working with creative characters. Even with my solo stuff, there's a team effort in making the music and shows what they are.

How well do you think London's current radio stations serve London's musicians and music scene? Were things better in the days of pirate radio?
I think radio is a lot better than it used to be. It's more on top of new music then it was back in the day. It used to be pirates, but now the internet is the first port of call for most of the new radio DJs; the internet will eventually leave regular radio redundant. That's just progress.

Talking of London, what’s...

...your favourite music venue to go to?
Yo Yo, Notting Hill Arts Club every Thursday.. I LOVE IT there!

...place to chill-out?
Minkies, the coffee spot in Kensal Rise.

...place to get lashed?
The Alice Bar, Queens Park

...place for a last-minute kebab?
If it's a sit down job, The Premises on Hackney Road.

...view in London?
London Eye, I would say.

Finally, where can we expect to hear or see you next?
There's a bunch of things coming up - shows alongside Ami Carmine across UK and Europe, collabs and such. I'm finishing off a duo EP with beatboxer Eklips (my equivalent from France) which will be released track by track for free online. The first two tracks- Push The Button and Virus are out now. "Crowd Control" is the EP name, expect that this month.

More information on Killa Kela can be found on Facebook, Twitter or on his own website.

Last Updated 08 October 2011