Kungs (pronounced « Koongs ») (aka Valentin Brunel) is a 21 years old producer from the south of France. He started his musical career with a djembe gifted by his parents to him at the age of five. From these early days Valentin could spend entire afternoons listening to Rock’n’Roll classics with his father. From The Who to The Kooks with many in-between, this essential listening forged the first steps to Kungs inspiration as an artist. Discovering a passion for electronic music in his teenaged years, Kungs became infused with interest for melodic sounds and crafted timbres always lead by a dominant vocal. By the age of seventeen his interests had evolved, and creating melodies using his own instruments became a passion.
For those who don’t know about you and your music, tell us a little bit about who you are and where you’re from…
My name is Kungs also known as Valentin Brunel, I’m a 20 year old DJ/producer from the south of France. I released my first single ‘This Girl’ in February 2016, and the track counts now more than 300 millions plays on Spotify – it literally changed my life! A few weeks ago I released my debut album Layers and my new single ‘I Feel So Bad’. In a few words, I’d say that my music is a mix between bluesy/jazzy vibes and electronic music. I love using brass instruments in my production!
Please describe your sound in three words…
Happy, groovy, catchy.
Who inspired you to start a career in music?
Well, at the age of five my parents offered me a djembe! I immediately loved it and was always making rhythms with it! In the mean time, I loved the CDs my father was playing at home; it was mainly Rock’n’Roll & bluesy tunes from The Kooks, The Who or Indochine, for example. I discovered electronic music at the age of 16 through YouTube channels broadcasting deep house/melodic house productions or remixes from artists like Klingande, Kygo or Claptone. I really liked this vibe and it gave me the idea to start making my own beats. I immediately bought some production software and started playing with it on my computer in my student bedroom, and here I am now.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
In the electronic music word I’d say Diplo, David Guetta and Claptone but I’m also a big fan of The Kooks, Aloe Blacc and Bruno Mars.
Could you tell us about the writing and recording process for your new single/album…
It’s been hard to combine studio sessions and touring this summer as it’s been a super busy one for me, but I managed to have several studio sessions in Paris and London to make this album happen. I actually don’t have a single process for making music.
Sometimes I prefer working on an instrumental version first and then finding a good topline to put on it with a singer in a recording studio. I also like to start a session from scratch with a singer and songwriter, I love these moments of music, when everybody is able to bring their best ideas to a project. I also usually record real instruments during my sessions (guitars, trumpets, drums…). Anyway for both process, I always need to be home to finish a track, I love the atmosphere of my home studio (which is basically my bedroom, haha!).
What can we expect from your live shows?
Well first of all an intense and happy moment I hope! I’m always doing my best to make people smile and get wild while they are listening to my sets. I want to bring the groove back on the electronic scene, I think it’s important to make them dance and not only just jumping! That’s why I love to include some future house tracks melted with groovy old school stuff.
You’ve visited over 10 countries over the last summer. What’s it like to travel the world at such a young age?
It’s something that a lot of artists dream about, I think. I’m touring every day and this summer I had 40-50 gigs, so it was really intense and really tiring because sometimes I finish my set at 4 a.m. and I have a plane at 7 or 8 a.m., so I don’t sleep a lot. But it’s really cool, it’s like living a dream and I’m really thankful; I’m playing in big venues and really cool clubs all around the world.
Since you’re French, has there been a funny miscommunication that you’ve had?
My tour manager is not the best English speaker, so sometimes we have some problems, and one day we were waiting for the driver who was taking us to the airport and [my manager] just said, “Ok, we are leaving,” but he meant we were arriving, so the driver thought that the flight was just leaving the airport we were at before and so we arrived and our driver was not there all because my tour manager can’t really speak English.
Is it strange coming into countries where you’re technically underage?
Yeah! It’s so weird because I can’t do anything [in America]. I was in Las Vegas for a few days, and I couldn’t even go to bars just to have a Coke. It’s strange — in Europe you can drink at 18.
Who has been the coolest person you have met so far?
I had the chance to open for David Guetta — I was nobody. When you say “David Guetta,” you think he’s a legend who won’t talk to you, but he’s a humble and normal guy. His manager told me that your entourage is the most important thing for staying healthy — they’ll calm you down when you’re not down to earth anymore.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
I have two so far. The first one was in December 2015, ‘This Girl’ wasn’t even released yet and I had the opportunity to open for David Guetta in the biggest Paris venue. Playing in front of 14K people for the first time is a scary but amazing feeling! David has always supported me, I’m really thankful to him. The second moment was in Switzerland this summer, I was headlining a massive event so I had the chance to play in front of 50k people, fireworks at the end of my show… that was UNREAL!
What’s on your ipod/playlists that people wouldn’t expect?
Oasis – Wonderwall.