STORE MIX 098: KEMARR
“I’M ACTUALLY FROM SOUTH.” ALL HAIL THE SON OF A DANCEHALL QUEEN, KEMARR REPS HIS ENDS AS HE DROPS A PRE-PARTY MIX THAT REFUSES TO BE CONFINED TO THE DANCEFLOOR.
There are two sides to Battersea apparently; one is prim, proper and pricey, the other is the birthplace of So Solid Crew. It’s the latter that Kemarr once called home. It’s in this pocket of South West London, a stone’s throw from the stucco-fronted Georgian architecture of Chelsea, that the designer and DJ was raised on a diet of his Jamaican mother’s CDs and VHS tapes. Watching her head out in custom-made outfits complemented by Versace shades with wigs and nails to match, he was too young to grasp the concept of a nightclub but old enough to form a deep and lasting bond with the music.
Dancehall and bashment may occupy the London DJ’s earliest sonic memories, but as a child in the nineties and noughties golden age of pirate radio, Kemarr listened to a range of genres including jungle, garage, grime and hip hop. His Store Mix reflects this breadth of musical tastes, sharing his love of ‘ragga jungle’ (a mash-up of jungle and dancehall samples) and revelling in the sinews that connect electronic and dancehall-adjacent music. His personal style is equally dynamic.
Unsurprisingly, fashion and music go hand in hand for Kemarr; as a teen he’d skip lunch to check the latest Cassette Playa collections, stalk his Instagram grid and you’ll find a gap-toothed child dressed in low-rise blue jeans that are bookended by Hilfiger boxers and sunset-hued TNs; His mother’s work, no doubt. At present, he’s especially proud of his haircut, but uncharacteristically self-deprecating about the rule-breaking look he crafted out of a self-described adolescence of being an outsider in bad outfits.
Drum and bass, ragga jungle, 90s dancehall, reggaeton and electronic music. If you’re into these genres, this mix is for you!
These days, the DJ is a satellite of the creative mothership that is East London and can be found playing for Boiler Room and NTS, as well as his very own LIGHTER. The club night that he founded with friend James Massiah is blessed with a “sexy crowd” and encourages its DJs to be unfiltered in expressing their individuality. In LIGHTER, Kemarr has created a haven but his ambitious determination to create THE destination for inclusive and liberated enjoyment of the music he loves is almost palpable. The owner of a rare online presence made up of mostly smiling pictures, it’s easy to see why he’s the person to do just that.
Kemarr is one of those effusive typers, adding extra letters to words to make sure his enthusiasm is felt; ‘the’ becomes “theee”, ‘love’ becomes “loveee”, and he punctuates his sentences with “woiii”, “my gash” (a variation of my gosh) and a generous scattering of “hahahaha”s . Even on paper, he’s a riot, and extremely passionate about music, describing his current earworm – One Touch by Bambii as an “orgasmic, gripping and futuristic take on the long and lost relationship that dancehall music had with jungle and drum ‘n’ bass sounds.”
He’s hoping you’ll find his Store Mix just as experiential. Made for work, running, pre drinks and getting “readyyy”, this mix is as zealous as its maker.