FKJ, also known as French Kiwi Juice is Paris-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Vincent Fenton and he is coming to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival this year.
The singer from Tours, France turns 28 at the end of March and he has been described as a pioneer and one of the flag-bearers of new New French House. French House is a style of European dance music popularised in the late 1990s by French artists.
Defining characteristics include a heavy reliance on filter and phaser effects on and alongside late 1970s or 1980s disco track samples (or original hooks inspired by said samples). Think Motorbass and the more jazz-influenced St Germain in the mid 1990s into Daft Punk of the late 1990s.
Into the 2000s it was Bob Sinclair, Ettiene de Crécy and Modjo, and now the late 2010s has experience a resurgence in interest in French House, which means FKJ’s timing is great. His music sits somewhere in that space where experimental soul, R&B and house meet jazz.
His self-titled debut album, French Kiwi Juice, was released on 3 March 2017. He has performed at music festivals such as Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Do LaB stage in Indo, California in 2017; Euphoria in Austin, Texas; CRSSD Festival in San Diego, California; and Lightning in a Bottle at the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area in California.
FKJ is currently in the midst of an extensive world tour and he has a history of staging live performances in unique settings.
On 25 February 2019 he mounted a special performance as a Facebook livestream via CERCLE, a digital platform that films and broadcasts DJ sets and live performances from unusual spaces.
For this performance he was on a set on a desolate Bolivian salt flat, Salar De Uyuni, which is the world’s largest salt flat. He played keyboards, guitar and saxophone and mixed his own music with samples - the original one man band. He looped hip-hop beats and jazz licks and then sang to boot.
In 2017 he recorded a video at the Paris Modern Art Museum in front of La Fée Electricité (The Electricity Fairy) which is a huge mural by the late French Painter Raoul Dufy at the entrance to the museum’s Pavilion de la Lumiere et de l’Electricité (Pavilion of Light and Electricity).
What makes his performances so special is that he not only creates the music, he takes into consideration the space. So for this performance he did a live improv session that saw his melodies play off the thematics of the light mural.
While he has released an album and you can find distinct, specific tracks online on portals like Spotify, the magic in his performances is when he creates something that will only ever exists in that moment - taking into consideration the space, the crowd and his mood.
Check his website frenchkiwijuice.com for links to some very cool videos or to listen to his latest piano- laded single, Is Magic Gone, his first release on the Mom+Pop music label.
Catch FKJ at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival on Saturday 30 March 2019. Tickets available from Computicket.