In middle school Kobe Dupree got his first YAMAHA PSS series keyboard to practice piano. In 2008 he worked out a deal with his dad to split a MicroKORG synth. Kobe has been working with hardware ever since.
“I played open mics with that and sang for the next two years then went to school in Humboldt County and after receiving grants (loans), I spent the money on a Roland Gaia + SP404SX. I will never ever forget the loose energy of all those parties and playing four-hour live sets with people dancing on every single thing you could possibly see,” Kobe says. “It’s hard to find that kind of energy, where every single person is present or in their own realm in relation to the music. I find that when I play for raves in the woods of Wisconsin, there is nothing like it.”
Toward the end of school he got a Machinedrum UW, which changed him, he says. The Vermona Mono Lancet followed and blew him out of the water. “I became deeply entrenched and would play many shows with that set up.”
Eventually he began gigging multiple shows per week: DJing with a computer, performing in two bands, and playing live shows.
Currently Kobe lives in Chicago where he works at a synth shop and runs lighting at local renowned club, Smartbar. The parallels between the art of music and lights, he says, comes down to timing and numbers.
“Everything you do as an LD requires patience and precision, and I feel as if the same goes with techno. They are two of the most important aspects I try and focus on when creating music, and minimalism persists because it requires listening, which is the same with lighting. Lighting always requires listening, you must know when to showcase certain parameters of the lights relative to time and hour of the night. I create with an improvisatory approach, it channels into my music and lighting work. So in turn, being an LD is a wonderful position because you watch the night unfold and create a vibe for people relative to the music and energy of the room, its always different. You are a service to the people as well as the DJ, your job is to make them look good. While creating music is a service of the self and to the self, working lights is a service for others and to others. It’s nice to have that balance.”
Kobe’s Soundcast is hypnotic and emotional. “This was created live in my living room/make-shift studio of the old place I used to live on Halsted in Chicago. It was a terribly loud apartment as it is located above multiple bars so it was very unsettling and working as an LD till 4/5 a.m. on the weekends and living in an extremely loud area where people start raging early = very little sleep. Exhaustion and stress were the main emotional states so this mix provided me focus and space to be calm with myself. There are always improvisatory elements as I can’t help but create on the spot no matter how much I prepare and in turn transitions are always stripped down, so minimalism persists.”
Recently returned from Baku, Azerbaijan, Kobe played a live set as support for Chicago cohort Hiroko Yamamura. “I have been working on a release for a record label in Madison, WI called YUGEN Records. I am happy to have found a place in beautiful Rogers Park so I am looking forward to working on that record and fine tuning my modular.”