Klingande Headlines Prysm & Discusses Accidental Stardom
Klingande has become one of the most recognized names in tropical house, even though he doesn’t categorize himself in the genre. After releasing another critically acclaimed single, he kicked off his spring tour at Chicago’s Prysm Nightclub for their Prysm Fridays concert series. We had a chance to sit down with this soft-spoken superstar before the show to chat about what he’s been up to and how he got where he is today.
Sensible Reason: More recently, these past 6 months or so, you’ve been working on some new music, something new and working with other artists. What brings you to do so many collaborations?
Klingande: Sometimes someone sends you a track or whatever and, like any collaboration, if I like it then I can choose to work with them. I started working with M-22 because I love those guys and those vocals so I wanted to work with them. I have a few more collaborations coming because people become friends and we want to all work with each other.
SR: You have a live saxophone player on stage with you often. How did you two find each other and connect in such a way?
K: Right when I was starting, I made “Jubel,” and then I saw him playing in a club in my hometown and I was like, “Okay, this guy is killing it on the sax!” So, I asked him to come with me on tour and since then we’ve been touring together for about three years.
SR: Is he still with you?
K: Yes! He will be here tonight. I also have someone else with me, a violin as well, so it’s two musicians.
SR: Are you excited for festival season?
K: Yes, of course. I stopped touring at the beginning of the year because I wanted to have a break and be able to work on new music and stuff. So now I’m excited to go back on your and go do the big festivals.
SR: What are the biggest ones you’re hitting this year?
K: There are a few but I think TomorrowLand is the biggest, with some others I can’t really tell about yet.
SR: Which one is your favorite?
K: I think TomorrowLand, but that’s because I’ve never been to Coachella, so I don’t know.
SR: [Laughs] I think Coachella might be a little overrated, so I’m sure you’ve picked the right favorite.
K: TomorrowLand is for sure an amazing festival.
SR: Are there any artists that you hope to meet or work with while you tour the festival circuit?
K: I’m not really into that kind of thing. I have a few friends in the DJ world and I’m always happy to see them. I’m excited to see them next week in Miami. There are a few parties that I know that I plan on bringing all my friends to. It’s a good time of year to see them, but during festival season you can’t really catch a lot because you have to play and then leave. So, it’s very difficult to catch up.
SR: What is the most difficult part about touring the festival circuit?
K: I don’t think there is anything difficult, really. I think it’s super easy. You arrive, everything is set up, you have a big stage with everything. You always have a good crowd. It’s more stressful when you play in a club because you never know, it might not be packed, but when you play at a festival it’s always packed.
SR: What is the biggest difference between your crowds in the U.S. and in Europe?
K: Here in the U.S. more people are into the Tropical House scene than some parts of Europe. It’s interesting because everything often starts in Europe, but now it’s bigger in the U.S. Also because guys like Kygo who have really made it a popular genre. For me, I now prefer to play here in the U.S. My biggest country, in the beginning, was Germany, but now I don’t play as much there, more Italy, Sweden or France, and the U.K.
SR: Your new music is less “tropical house,” and more of a different variety.
K: I actually never categorized myself as Tropical House. People said I was tropical house because I used the sax, but when I started making music tropical house was not a genre in the beginning. For me, tropical house is more when you used plunky sounds.
SR: Steel drums, etc?
K: Yeah, and I don’t really use those sounds and “Jubel” never had those instruments, so I am fine with it but I don’t consider myself in that genre. Everything I do I try and do something different and original. I don’t want to stick to one genre.
SR: How do you feel you’ve grown as an artist over these past couple years?
K: I think I’m a better producer. When I made “Jubel,” I made the song in around 2 months, but it was super amateur. Now I feel I am much more technical, but you don’t make better music only from that. It was a long process because I started to work with more musicians and singers in the studio, it has been different from the beginning. As an artist, I still feel the same, like I haven’t really changed that much since I first started. I still bring the same kind of energy.
SR: What got you into music in the first place?
K: I played the piano when I was younger, then I discovered music production, so I went London to a school called Point Blank and learned how to produce. When I came back I made “Jubel,” so it was superb, my passion was already there.
SR: Was that the plan? To be a career artist?
K: Not at all, I made “Jubel,” I put the song on SoundCloud just for fun. I never expected anything, and then a label approached me and wanted to sign me. So things just happened and now I’m really happy that I chose this life because at the same time I was studying marketing, something totally different. But then studying music and doing this, I have no regrets with that.
At Prysm, Klingande opened his set in a strong fashion. It wasn’t long before the bass filled the club and the crowd bounced along. As promised, his live accompaniment came to the stage. The two had a platform on top of the decks, allowing for a theatrical performance. The two paced the stage, lighting up with the crowd and beaming from ear-to-ear as they worked in tune with each other. The addition of these two musicians sets Klingande apart, his performances can actually be considered performances. The spectacle on stage was well received by the audience as well as Klingande and his very large entourage of VIPs behind him on stage.
While Klingande doesn’t consider himself a tropical house DJ, his visuals give into the hype and often include tropical themes and visions of somewhere warmer. Donning a black hat and tight t-shirt, Cedric looked quite casual among the button-down shirts and high heels of the club setting. Even his live performers were dressed to impress with suit jackets and slacks. While the music industry wasn’t his original career choice, embracing the stage seemed second nature. The set had several remixes of familiar tracks, with a Klingande spin. It is clear why Cedric doesn’t categorize as tropical, for his set had a large variety with no steel drums in sight. Taking his headphones off to vibe with the saxophone during “Punga,” the crowd erupted. Not long after, Klingande dropped a remix of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which continued to keep the club engulfed in the music. The entire set was a beautiful reflection of how beautiful Klingande, and his music, make us feel.