Week after week of binge drinking can take a toll on your health — and not to mention your wallet — so last year, Denver decided to try something different. Sundown, a sober music festival in Colorado, was created out of a desire to have something for everyone. It’s not every day a music show prioritizes sobriety in a state known for its breweries and countless dispensaries. Sunset with 303 Journal have come together to offer a weekend of music, mindfulness and unity against societal norms. This year’s event will be remembered as the British producer and DJ Kirby. 303 Journal caught up with Kirby via video call to hear some of his thoughts on the festival, its progress and plans for the future.
303 Magazine: How’s your summer schedule going?
Curves: I have participated in several festivals here in Europe. Tomorrowland – I actually did it with Monstercat for their stage. I organized a big German festival called Peruville. I made a couple [of shows] in the Netherlands. I always do club shows. My sound is not necessarily the sound of the main stage. I do a lot of club shows, but it was nice to play festivals.
303: Are there any festivals you’d like to play that you haven’t yet?
Curves: I would really like to do EDC and Ultra [Music Festival]of course EDC for sure. I ran into Tiesto briefly once and I asked him what his favorite festival was and he said EDC so it must be pretty good because the guy played it.
The Halstead, England-based producer has big ambitions for major festivals, but had no problem saying yes to something a little different from what he’s used to. Aside from the meditation tent, open from 3pm to 9pm, and the food trucks available, perhaps the most notable aspect of the daytime show is the absence of alcohol from the vendors. Only recently have non-alcoholic cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages become of interest to sober or sober-curious people. Here in Denver, this trend has already become quite popular, with several drinking bars popping up.
303: What interests you about healthy nightlife like Sundown? What does that give you as an artist?
Curves: One interesting thing: people will definitely remember this night. It’s not that someone is going to pass out and go to sleep and then wake up and feel terrible and not remember the night. I think people could use a bit more of themselves. No substances in your system to alter [the experience], it will be interesting. I think people will really have a different experience.
303: What provides balance while traveling?
Curves: I’d say that’s the person I’m with. I know many DJs who travel without a tour manager or tour partner. They travel by themselves – most DJs do, and I’ve always had someone with me and that keeps me in check. Because, of course, people tend to get lonely, especially at shows, when they know I have someone with me. I just think having someone around always helps. Even if you’re in a great environment, you’re having a great time. It’s nice to know someone is around.
Any touring artist will understand the loneliness that comes from being on the road, so it’s important to keep those goals and desires circulating. When asked about his future endeavors, Kirby had this to say:
303: Is there an artist you’d like to work with on a live performance or track?
Curves: I’ve been really into techno for the last couple of years. This guy named Rainer Zoneveld – I really want to work with him. He does interesting things. Saw him live recently. He also performed an 11-hour live set.
303: Is there a place that is at the top of your list to play?
Curves: I would really love to play at Printworks in London because that looks like a very special atmosphere as well. I saw this video. I really want to play there. There’s a bit more underground, a bit more techno, but I think one day I’ll be able to get there and keep going.
303: Do you ever stop and take a moment during your sets to realize where you are in your career? Was it such a surreal experience?
Curves: I think maybe Tomorrowland. It was nice. This holiday is like one big holiday. People seem to come from all over the world and you really see that everyone is connected to the same thing. In that sense, I was playing there for 30 minutes and then I realized that I was just looking up and actually taking it all in and being like, “Okay, yes, this is my life. People know my music. People like my music.”
303: In general, from your music, what can you say about your journey?
Curves: Like I said, it’s been maybe eight years of making music, and I’ve gone through it trying a lot of different things. Once I got on the scene, I was only making music for a very short period of time and I was still very young. I still had to go through all these different styles and favorite genres that I was listening to. Right now, I’m just happy to be in this place where I’m still very creative, but I think a little more toned down than I was before. I wouldn’t say I’ve mellowed out in a bad way, but I understand what works and what doesn’t creatively now.
303: However, what didn’t work out or what got in your way?
Curves: I would say around 2017 I released a lot of chaotic songs. You could say that I went through this journey trying to find out what I was really going to do because I got bored very quickly at the beginning of creating the same thing. So I obviously wanted to try something new. But I think I lost my mind a bit and went too crazy. I’m at a point now where I’ve learned a lot and I think I have a stable type of sound that I’m very happy with as well.
With a discography spanning 2014, the artist has managed to stay busy for the past nine years. Nine years is a long time for any artist, but he does not lose momentum. In 2022, the DJ has already released seven singles (not counting his remixes), and there are more to come.
303: Do you have any big projects you can tell us about?
Curves: I don’t know if I can tell you about it because it’s big for me, at least it will be big. I don’t know what my manager or my tour manager said, but I’m doing a pretty big project next year. It’s not necessarily a pseudonym, but it’s more than a pseudonym. I’m going to release a lot of music, and not just my own.
303: Finally, what advice would you give to artists, producers, DJs or musicians starting out in the industry?
Curves: Follow the sequence in the creation of music. Do as many things as possible. Keep pushing yourself. Do not look back at what is happening around you. Don’t compare yourself to all the music that’s coming out at the moment because there’s like a stream of music everywhere and you can really get lost trying to figure out where you want to go and what you want to do. Stay on track and keep it as a hobby. Now it is very easy to get distracted and compare yourself with what is happening around. Stick to it, be persistent. If you really want to do it, you will. And if you really believe in it, it will definitely happen. So you have to keep doing it.
You can also catch N2N, SkiiTour, Doublecrush and more on the main stage this Saturday at The Tivoli Quad located at 1000 Larimer Street in downtown Denver. Don’t miss a unique experience with amazing artists and be sure to see a killer performance by Kirby himself. Tickets for Sundown Colorado are on sale now.