This year’s Desert Hearts festival is set to be the most memorable edition to date. Returning to its home on the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation in California, the event has quickly become a one-of-a-kind display of music, art, and community alongside a nonstop programming of today’s most coveted underground acts. The festival has become an oasis for people of all walks of life, and its slogan – House. Techno. Love. – is a resounding mantra across the grounds. In addition to the staple Desert Hearts crew made up of Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs, and Porkchop, this year’s lineup also features a collection of legendary and up-and-coming talent like Christian Martin, Sacha Robotti, Detlef, and more. Leading into the final days before the festival, we’ve linked up with some of our top artist picks that should not be missed at Desert Hearts this March.
Desert Hearts resident DJ Kevin Anderson is frequently labeled as a “living party.” His mind-bending sets and indomitable stage presence are irresistible, keeping energies high and bodies moving. The producer got his start during his teenage years when he was grounded for an entire summer. After discovering some turntables and sharing his passion alongside long-time friend/fellow producer Rybo, Anderson has been a nonstop force in the underground community.
The Los Angeles-based artist has also been deeply associated with the Desert Hearts family since his performance at the festival’s 2014 edition. Ever since, he’s performed at countless parties with the crew and even released his debut EP on Desert Hearts Records, followed by a feature on the first Desert Hearts Records Family & Friends compilation.
Learn more about the house music sensation in our interview with Kevin Anderson below, and don’t miss out on his performance at this year’s Desert Hearts edition on Friday, March 31st at 4 PM.
What was the music culture like where you grew up?
I was raised in the small suburb town known as Fallbrook, located in North County San Diego, where you pretty much had two choices: Listen to Hip Hop or listen to Metal. There was zero night life. If there were parties, they took place in empty dirt lots with bros playing music out of their trucks. There was virtually no such thing as electronic music. However, due to my love for Hip Hop — and being grounded an entire summer — I was able to discover electronic music on a pair of turntables (which I quickly sold for a pair of CDJ 400s). I had a few friends that showed an interest in deejaying with me, but there was one homie who learned with me and is still is my best bud: Rybo. We spent countless hours and days mixing burned CDs in my bedroom.
What was your first label release? Would you still play it in a show?
My first label release was, of course, on DH Recs. It was a four-track EP that featured two originals by me, a collaboration with Mikey Lion and the, of course, a remix by Rybo and Yobill. I was really proud of that release and I could easily place any of those tracks in a mix today.
Who were some of your biggest musical inspirations?
Much like my brother-from-another-mother, Rybo, stated in his interview, 9th Wonder was a huge musical influence for us. I would listen to his instrumental mixtapes for days, had it repeat in my car. Another huge musical influence for me was a buddy of mine, Yobill. He taught me a lot about the composition of house and techno. We actually used to be in a deejay duo together called “Gotsu Ongeslis,” which no one could pronounce properly. It really read as “Got you on guest list.” LOL.
What has been the biggest breakthrough of your career?
I’d say my biggest breakthrough has been my residency with Desert Hearts. I was booked to play their second festival back in 2013 and I’ve played at every single festival since then.
What are you looking forward to most about Desert Hearts?
Honestly, I’m just excited to escape from LA for a few days. I don’t get to see my DH family as often as I used to and it will be really nice to get back to the woods with my pals again.
If you could be another artist for a day, who would you pick?
I don’t wanna be anyone else but myself.
If you were recruited to provide an Essential Mix in 2017, what’s the one song you couldn’t leave out?
Uhh, this may be a strange pick but it would probably be one of my old buddy’s remix on a CasioKohl track called “Broken.” It’s a deep house cut by Steve Huerta that was released a few years back. To me, that track really captures the Essence of what house music really is. It’s moody, it’s groovy, and it’s got mad soul. And it always reminds me of a good time in my life.