Words: Jonathan Coll
French DJ and producer Kungs burst onto the scene in 2016 with his iconic single 'This Girl'. It marked the start of a meteoric rise that would see him join David Guetta on tour the same year, before going on to feature in clubs and festivals all over Europe. While still in his formative years, he’s got an extensive back catalogue to call upon and even more ambitious plans for the future.
In May he finally dropped 'Never Going Home', the first single from his forthcoming second studio album Club Azur, and we caught up with him as he reflected on his career so far and what is still to come.
How would you describe your style to someone who hadn’t yet heard your music?
In simple words, I would say: it’s electronic music with positive and sunny vibes.
What music did you enjoy listening to most while you were growing up? And did it have an influence on the style of music you produce today?
I used to listen to a lot of 2000’s alternative music, but I really got into electronic music by listening to the Bloody Beetroots. I instantly loved the energy in their tracks. Later, I started producing more melodic and deep stuff when I grew up, especially with the Soundcloud boom in 2015.
You really made a name for yourself in 2016 with the number one single 'This Girl' and by joining David Guetta on his tour. What was it like to become so popular at such a young age?
To me 2016 was crazy, it’s a big chance. I lived so many things thanks to this track, it was a huge whirlwind. I mean, no one gets to join David Guetta right after debuting. When thinking about it, it still feels unreal. I don’t even think I realised the craziness of it all at that time. I am forever thankful I got this opportunity and since then, my life completely changed but for the best.
The last time you spoke to us was in 2018 when you mentioned you were working on an album that had “funky and disco vibes.” What has the process been like and has your style changed since then?
A lot has happened since then. To tell the truth, I kind of drifted from that idea and had a whole album that was ready, but it was sounding more melodic and deep because I truly wanted to show another facade of my personality musically-wise to my public.
The global pandemic changed it all when I realised that it was definitely not what people would have wanted to listen to, nor do I. What we need now more than ever is music that is festive and joyful, so I decided to go back to my roots and make a “funky and disco” album that should be coming up during fall.
What can you tell us about the first single from the album 'Never Going Home', and what was the concept behind the music video?
'Never Going Home' is the first single from my upcoming album entitled Club Azur. I think it’s a very bright and happy song, made for those who enjoy parties and have a great time. I definitely wanted to bring out some festive vibes that we all miss, and the lyrics "we are never going home" are quite explicit.
We filmed the music video in Marseille, in the south of France where I originally come from, in the Cercle des Nageurs. The idea behind this was to portray a party where anyone could join and enjoy themselves. No pressure, only good vibes and a slight vintage aesthetic.
Some of your most popular tracks have been remixes of and collaborations with some of the biggest artists on the planet, is there anyone else in particular that you’d like to make music with? Or any tracks you’d like to remix?
I can think of a lot of artists I’d like to work with, but ultimately I would love to make a track with Calvin Harris. I think he’s the best producer ever.
It is difficult to do any interviews these days without mentioning the effect COVID has had on touring and the music industry in general, but have you taken any positives from the enforced break? And do you think there are any ways that the industry may change for the better as a result?
The quarantine and enforced break helped me to refocus myself on what I truly wanted to do, in terms of music. It gave me a fantastic time to reflect on the album I produced and made me take the decision to throw it all away because that was not the right direction anymore.
I think it was a whole process of acceptance and realisation, and when I started to work on the songs that will feature on my upcoming album Club Azur, knowing that I wanted to go back to my roots and create music that people enjoy without hassles, it gave me new inspiration. I’m thankful for that. I do think a lot of artists used their free time just like I did and that this ‘break’ was productive and will be prosperous with tonnes of new and good music.
How have you found performing at virtual and online shows? Your Club Azur streams were popular, but how does it compare to playing to a live crowd?
Well it certainly does not match with the feeling of being on a real stage with real people, but for me it was a way to connect or even reconnect with my public. With the Club Azur livestreams, we had a whole set up where people could connect on Zoom and be shown on the livestream, it was so cool seeing everyone partying with us, I felt like a real connection even though we were all quarantined.
Fun thing is, we were live streaming from 10pm to 4am but we had people connecting from all around the world, and from all age ranges. There was this old couple who were there almost each Saturday and while it was the middle of the night in Paris, they were dancing surrounded by nature and a beautiful sunset. It was crazy.
You had an impressive list of names along for guest slots, what were some of the highlights of the Club Azur project?
There were so many highlights. When I started the livestreams with Club Azur, I had absolutely no idea that the concept would go this far, and that I would have had the chance to host so many guests.
My favourite highlights were definitely having Martin Solveig and Bob Sinclar play a set at Club Azur, that’s something I would never have imagined but having both of them participate in Club Azur was really rewarding for me and also for the fans.
You’ve experienced a lot of success at such a young age, what have been some of the highlights? You’ve spoken warmly about your time at Coachella in the past, is playing there one of your fondest memories?
Coachella was indeed one of my best memories. To me it's a big festival, if not the biggest, and one of the coolest for sure. It’s not every day you get to play in a huge venue, so performing there was incredible for me.
You have a festival appearance lined up at Les Plages Electroniques in August. How excited are you to perform to a crowd again, and what other shows do you have planned?
You have no idea how excited I am. Performing in front of a crowd is what I love the most, so I’m really looking forward to doing it again. I have a few shows planned on my calendar but nothing is 100% sure since we’re still not over the pandemic. But I am ready to perform again this summer and if anything comes up, I’ll be there.
What will be the first track you play at your first show back after the pandemic?
My latest single ‘Never Going Home’, of course.
This interview also appeared on our partner platform Ticket Arena.