Born and raised in France, his passion for music led to playing the drums during his teen years, and he moved to the US in 1975, where he hoped to find more challenging situations than those back home. Due to the heavy competition for any gig as a drummer in those days, he instead tried his hand at becoming a DJ in underground NYC clubs, around 1976. His career then skyrocketed, and he quickly was able to make this his full-time occupation, although some of it was at more commercial venues such as the club 'New York, New York' in 1977. During that time, he self-taught himself editing and started making 'Disco Medleys', some of which are still popular to this day, such as Rare Earth's "Happy Song" and others. He was offered a position doing A&R for a nascent Dance Indie record label, Prelude Records, which allowed to him to go into the studio and do remixes. His first remix, of a Patrick Adams production, "In The Bush" by Musique became a wild success both in clubs and on the radio, and was the first of many remixes that helped Prelude define the sound of New York's dance music, including such memorable songs such as "You're The One For Me' and "Keep On" by [[D-Train$$, "Beat The Street" by Sharon Redd, and many more. His stint at Prelude ended in 1982, the same year where he had the most Number One singles in Billboard's Dance Music Chart, which included his remixes of now-classic song such as "Situation" by Yazoo, and "Go Bang" by Dinosaur L.
During that time, he was privileged enough to play as a guest DJ at such legendary venues as the Paradise Garage, The Loft, Better Days, Studio 54, Les Mouches, Buttermilk Bottom, AM-PM, as well as a residency at New Jersey's Club Zanzibar on Fridays for over a year. The great success of his remixes naturally led him to production, and his first one was an EP for Island Records, "Snake Charmer" by the all-star cast of Jah Wobble, Jaki Leibezeit, Holger Czukay and U2's Dave 'The Edge' Evans. His career as a remixer and producer led him to work or collaborate with many more mainstream artists, such as The Eurhythmics, Diana Ross, U2, Kraftwerk, Mick Jagger, Ashford&Simpson, The Cure, Midnight Oil, Jimmy Cliff, Foreigner, Jean-Michel Jarre, Jan Hammer, The Fatback Band, Bunny Wailer, The Smiths, Pet Shop Boys, Cabaret Voltaire, and culminated in his involvement in mixing all of Kraftwerk's 1986 studio album, 'Electric Café'. This in turn led him to get hired by Depeche Mode to mix what was to be one of their biggest-selling albums, 'Violator' as well as many of their 12" club remixes.
During that time, he decided to build his own recording studio, Axis Studios, which ironically was located in Manhattan on West 54th Street, in the same building as the club 'Studio 54' , and it quickly turned into a major commercial operation. Due to the pressures of studio work, he had abandonned DJ'ing around 1983 to dedicate himself to recording and mixing full-time, but couldn't stay away from the turntables, and started spinning again in early 1990. The scene had really become much more international, and he quickly was able to start traveling and gaining much exposure overseas, including Japan. He toured Japan, DJ'ing with Larry Levan in the Summer of 1992 (the 'Harmony Tour') right before Levan's untimely passing in November of that same year. The demand for his DJ appearances led him to start traveling to many of the best club venues around the world, including London's 'Ministry Of Sound', Japan's 'Club Yellow', Ibiza's 'Pacha' and 'Space', as well as Italy's 'Angels Of Love'.
By 1995, he decided to start an eclectic independent record label, Wave Music which allowed him to find an outlet for his own creative endeavours, including the FK-EP, as well as signing records by Abstract Truth, Floppy Sounds and a slew of other electronic music releases. Then in 1996, he (along with partner John Davis) became involved in starting what arguably became one of New York's most revered weekly parties, Body&SOUL which took place every Sunday afternoon at Club Vinyl (6 Hubert Street), playing along with co-resident DJ's Joaquin 'Joe' Claussell and Danny Krivit for a mixed crowd of ecstatic and faithful dancers from all over the world. The 'Body&SOUL' sound, a unique soulful mix of very organic and spiritual dance music grooves, led to the release of a successful compilation series by the same name.
His career as an artist did not stop evolving, as he rekindled his interest for a more electronic sound, and the release of his Sonar Music set in 2002 marked a turning point; he started playing a much edgier and futuristic style, with more to do with Techno and Dub than the House sound he was mostly identified with as a DJ until that time. In 2002, he also started touring along with Detroit Techno legend Derrick May, playing sets together as the 'Cosmic Twins'. His recent appearances at Berlin's Tresor, Manchester's Sankey's Soap and London's Fabric have helped gain him many younger fans that may not have been aware of his previous work.
More recently, in April of 2003, he started a new weekly Monday night event in New York City called Deep Space, which focuses on Dub in all of its forms, and where the format is extremely eclectic, ranging from spaced-out Techno to the deepest Reggae, Hip-Hop as well as Drum& Bass, House and Disco. His recent musical output has him mixing Deep Space NYC Vol. 1, a compilation featuring several of his own original productions (along with Jamaican dub legends Mutabaruka and U-Roy); he also recently did notable remixes for Moloko, Yoko Ono, Cesaria Evora, as well as much for his own label.
The French-born NYC resident can be considered one of Larry Levan's disciples and therefore one of the forefathers of house music. Having started his career in renowed clubs such as the Paradise Garage, Kevorkian now tours the world, taking part in many music gatherings, such as the Sonar multimedia festival in Barcelona and its Brazilian equivalent, Sonar São Paulo, both of which took place in 2004.
To this day, many people (especially in the U.K.) insist on mistakenly spelling his last name as 'Kervorkian', which can be traced to an erroneous credit on the Violator album he mixed for the group Depeche Mode.
As an artist
- FK-EP (Wave Music) 1996
- "Time And Space" (Wave Music) 1998
- "Capricorn" (Wave Music) 2000
- "Awakening" (Wave Music) 2002
- "Enlightenment" (Wave Music) 2002
- 'Body&SOUL NYC (vol. 1, 2, 3, 4) (Wave Music) 1998-2002
- 'Deep & Sexy (vol.1)' (Wave Music) 2001
- 'Choice: A Collection of Classics' (Azuli) 2002
- 'Deep Space NYC (vol. 1)' (Wave Music) 2005
As a producer
- 'Snake Charmer' Jah Wobble, The Edge, Holger Czukay and Jaki Leibezeit (Island Records) 1983
- 'Species Deceases' Midnight Oil (Columbia Records) 1985
- 'We're On The Move' Jamaica Girls (Sire) 1985
- "Strong Enough" Loleatta Holloway (Active Records) 1992 co-produced with Yvone Turner and Alan Friedman
- "Got To Be In Love" Barbara Mendes (Wave Music) 2003 co-produced with Eric Kupper
- "Rootsman" U-Roy (Deep Space Media) 2005 co-produced with Russ Disciple
As a mix producer
- 'Electric Cafe' Kraftwerk (Elektra) 1996
- 'Violator' Depeche Mode (Mute) 1990
- 'Erasure' Erasure (Mute) 1995
- 'Blondosaurus' Rebecca (Sony Japan) 1989
As a remixer
- "In The Bush" Musique (Prelude) 1978
- "You're The One For Me" / "Keep On" / "Music" / "Walk On By" / "Misunderstanding" D-Train (Prelude) 1981-1983
- "Beat The Street" / "Never Give You Up" / "Send Your Love" / "Can You Handle It" Sharon Redd 1982-1983
- "Body Music" The Strikers (Prelude) 1981 co-mixed with Larry Levan
- "Let's Go Dancin'" Sparque (West End) 1981
- "Situation" Yazoo (Mute) 1981
- "Go Bang" Dinosaur L (Sleeping Bag) 1981
- "Two Hearts Beat As One" / "New Year's Day" U2 (Island) 1983
- "Tour De France" Kraftwerk (EMI) 1984
- "Lucky In Love" / "Just Another Night" Mick Jagger (Columbia) 1984
- "Solid (As A Rock)" Ashford & Simpson (Capitol) 1984
- "Why Can't I Be You" / "Japanese Dream" / "Hot, Hot, Hot" The Cure (Fiction-Elektra) 1985-1990
- "Get Another Plan" Abstract Truth (Wave Music) 1996
- "Sangue De Beirona" Cesaria Evora (Lusafrica / Wave) 1999
- "Forever More" Moloko (Echo) 2003 co-mixed with Eric Kupper
- "Walking On Thin Ice" Yoko Ono (Twisted) 2003 co-mixed with Eric Kupper
As an editor
- "Happy Song" (bootleg) Rare Earth (labelled as: "Happy Song And Dance")
- "Is It All Over My Face" Loose Joints (West End Records) with Larry Levan --uncredited on label--
- You can get more information and tour dates from his personal web site: http://www.francois-k.com/
- His record label, Wave Music: http://www.wavemusic.com/
- Current DJ residency, Deep Space NYC: http://www.deepspacenyc.com/
- Body & SOUL's web site: http://www.bodyandsoul-nyc.com/main.html
- Another look at François K. from Jahsonic: http://www.jahsonic.com/FrancoisKevorkian.html
Dance music's all grown up at the Dance Music Hall of Fame
The Village Voice (New York) September 27th, 2005 3:44 PM
by Tricia Romano
While the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognizes dinosaurs of a bygone era, the Dance Music Hall of Fame honors living legends. François Kevorkian, Jellybean benitez, and Frankie Knuckles were among the artists, DJs, producers, and label managers inducted at DMHOF's second annual ceremony last week.
Kevorkian, whose history in dance music stretches back to the disco era, nabbed two honors - for Remixer and DJ - so it was only fair that he gave the longest speech, in which he thanked everyone from Kraftwerk to David Mancuso to Larry Levan. Since dance music will never get respect in America (as host dj cousin Brucie noted in a speech), it may be the only time you'll hear people like Detroit techno artists Derrick May and Jeff Mills and Kevorkian's former Body & Soul colleague Danny Krivit getting props from someone on a podium. After Kevorkian was finished, Brucie cracked, "He mentioned everyone in the goddamn room!"
The awards show, held at the considerably tonier Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center, was all grown up this year. Fancy banquets and glitzy big-screen TVs, coupled with a more professional production than last year's seat-of-your-pants show at Spirit, led Danny Tenaglia to quip: "I feel like I'm at an Italian wedding!" He surmised why he wasn't getting inducted just yet. "I'm not old enough!" Then we high-fived.
Before the show, Randy Jones - known as "the Cowboy" from the Village People and wearing a cowboy hat to make sure you knew that - hung out with his lawyer. "I trusted him with everything!" he said, to which his lawyer added, "And I took it all!"
A large man later stopped me and insisted that I take his picture. "I'm very important." I didn't recognize him. He was Patrick Adams, whose name didn't ring a bell, but whose songs did. He cited "Push Push (In the Bush)" to jog my memory. Say no more. I took his picture.
You know how during normal awards shows you fall asleep during the musical performances because they suck so badly? This was not a problem. The music was so good I wished they'd skip the speeches altogether. Ray Chew and the Crew, the Apollo Theatre's house band, was unbelievably good - turning out medleys of popular disco hits and backing performances by the Trammps, Kathy Sledge leading Sister Sledge's "We Are Family," and a tribute to Sylvester, featuring Martha Wash, Byron Stingily, and Alyson willia ms.
Disco was barely a twinkle when I was born, but Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" was one of the first songs I remember. Her performance had everyone on their feet, including producer inductee Nile Rodgers, who was also celebrating his birthday. ("How's everyone know that?" he wondered earlier. I told him they probably planned the whole event just for him.) Rodgers watched the Chic reunion with a Cheshire cat-sized grin, as original Chic singer Fonzi Thornton, along with Sylver Logan Sharp and Jessica Wagner, ran through a medley of the band's monster hits, "Le Freak," "Dance, Dance, Dance," and "Good Times." Rodgers, when accepting his induction, said, "People always ask me what the proudest moment of my life is, and that's when 'Good Times' was No. 2 for weeks after 'My Sharona.' And people said dance music was dead." Funny, they're still saying that. And disco really sucks too.
What doesn't suck: hurricane benefits. The "NY Loves NOLA" benefit at the Ace of Clubs, ACME Bar & Grill, and the Culture Project - in an all-day cabaret and theater performance marathon featuring a hilarious performance from Mr. Miyagi's Theater Company - raised $4,291 for the Red Cross.
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