DJ Koze has been one of the most adventurous and consistently entertaining techno producers of the 2000s and 2010s. Fusing a good ear for warm melodies with an enthusiastic attitude toward experimentation as well as a cheeky, offbeat sense of humor, his productions are highly inventive crowd-pleasers. He grew up a hip-hop fanatic before getting into house, and by the mid-2000s he was somewhat of a secret weapon of the esteemed Cologne-based techno label Kompakt. Remixes for the likes of Matthew Dear, Battles, and Caribou helped raise his profile, and he broke through with the acclaimed 2013 full-length Amygdala, his most pop-minded release yet.
The Hamburg, Germany native, born Stefan Kozalla, was known first for his exceptional DJ skills. In 1988, at the age of 16, he finished second in a DMC (Disco Mix Club) contest. During the '90s, he was a member of hip-hop group Fischmob and debuted later in the decade as Adolf Noise. Music Is Okay, issued in 2000 on Yo Mama, was his first mix album, released prior to the formation of International Pony -- a whimsical dance act that was signed to Columbia in Europe. It was around this time that Kozalla became one of the Kompakt label's leading artists, beginning with September 2003's "Der Säger Von St. Georg" (a track on Speicher 11) and a three-track 12" titled The Geklöppel Continues. The following month, he recorded his second commercially released mix, All People Is My Friends, which was released on Kompakt the following January. He continued to release thrilling, rule-breaking singles and remixes, as well as albums: Wo Die Rammelwolle Fliegt (Buback, 2005); Kosi Comes Around (Kompakt, 2005); and, on his own Pampa label, the guest-heavy Amygdala (2013). Reincarnations: The Remix Chapter 2001-2009 (Get Physical) and Reincarnations: The Remix Chapter 2009-2014 (Pampa) collected his considerable, often spellbinding, remix work.
In 2015, Koze had the honor of compiling the 50th installment of !K7's celebrated DJ-Kicks series and took the opportunity to showcase his love for left-field hip-hop and pop as well as house. The following year, he presented Pampa, Vol. 1, an unmixed selection of exclusives by the likes of Lawrence, Isolée, and Gold Panda. Rather remarkably, the latter Reincarnations set, DJ-Kicks, and Pampa, Vol. 1 all placed on Billboard's Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart in the U.S. After the success of the compilations, Koze settled in to record his next studio album. Released in 2018, Knock Knock featured numerous guest appearances, including Róisín Murphy, Sophia Kennedy, Eddie Fummler, Speech, Mano le Tough, Kurt Wagner, José Gonzalez, and Bon Iver. ~ Andy Kellman