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BrittKing Britt

Assistant Teaching Professor

Department of Music

King James Britt (his real name) is a Philadelphia born, Pew Fellowship recipient, composer and DJ. Traveling globally, he carries the history of his musical legacy into the future.

Honing his skills as the first resident DJ (1990) at the legendary Silk City in Philadelphia Britt established “Back2Basics,” a new and innovative music collaboration which merged a live band with a DJ performance. This format serendipitously proved a perfect fit for Britt to become the original DJ of the Grammy Award-winning Digable Planets. After a world-wide three-year tour, Britt decided to leave, focusing his own productions in electronic music.

Since then, Britt has continued to DJ globally, spinning at thousands of clubs and festivals including AfroPunk (New York City), Berghain (Berlin), Liquid Room (Tokyo), Capital (Johannesburg), Rex (Paris), MoogFest (Durham) and Public Records (Brklyn).

Britt has performed his live work as himself and his sci-fi pseudonym “Fhloston Paradigm” in a number of forward-thinking performance contexts and spaces, including National Sawdust (Brooklyn), CTM Festival (Berlin), The Kitchen (New York City) and Le Guess Who? (Utrecht).

As a composer and producer, his practice has led to collaborations with the likes of De La Soul, Madlib, Alarm Will Sound Orchestra, Saul Williams and many others, being called for remixes from an eclectic list of giants, including Meredith Monk, Solange and Calvin Harris, and composing for films including “Miami Vice.” His biggest productions for Josh One, Ursula Rucker and H Foundation, are now Ibiza staples.

The role of music event curator is a natural one for Britt. With his respect for creative endeavors, comprehensive experience, global connections and determination, he’s a perfect conduit to combine music, culture and performing arts, curating collaborations for MoMA PS1 (Queens), Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia) and Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland).

He also co-founded Ovum Recordings with Josh Wink, produced for Hyperdub, Nervous, and Rope A Dope, then later went on to establish the experimental collaborative label The Buddy System. Most recently, he is producing EPs for Radio Slave’s new label “Stranger In The Night.”

What excites you most about coming to UC San Diego?

This will be my first time working full time in academia, which is to me the most exciting. This is where you can truly make a difference by helping to shape and develop young minds, while also learning from them! I’m most looking forward to that exchange of energy between generations of knowledge.

Also, the Music department faculty and staff are truly world class in all aspects. I have already felt extremely welcome, and look forward to adding to the already monumental history that the department has contributed.

Why did you choose your field of study?

It chose me. I have been producing music in a non-linear way since a freshman in high school. I haven’t really done anything else but tour, perform and make music in my studio, so this opportunity to work here will not only enhance those skills, but I plan to learn more skills from my colleagues and hopefully return the favor.

What advice do you have for students who choose to major in arts and humanities?

It’s probably one of the most important departments for a path that can truly change the world, by exploring alternate ways of thinking and feeling about the state of affairs in the world. The arts are a language of its own with many dialects, which on a global level can shift the paradigm. It’s most important now, more than ever. We need healing.

How do you view your role relative to the greater regional community?

I intend to contribute as much knowledge as I can, to help in this mission to cultivate the already fertile young minds who are curious about using their voice as expression.

Tell us something about yourself that is not normally mentioned in your bio.

Haha, I’m obsessed with film and soundtracks! My fave composers of recent are Mica “Micachu” Levi, The Haxan Cloak and Nicholas Britell.