Kyle Watson Chats First Shambhala Performance, New Album “Into The Morning” & Local South African Artists
Electronic music lovers around the world make the long pilgrimage north to Shambhala through the Kootenay mountains every August to discover the most cutting edge and innovative new artists out there. Current tastemakers like CloZee, Troyboi, Truth, Opiuo, and Rezz have all been fast-tracked to superstardom after laying down testimonials on the Canadian festival’s legendary sound systems.
Perhaps one of the hottest DJs and producers in the world right now, South African beatsmith Kyle Watson is set to follow in those footsteps. WIth notable releases on Dirtybird, Sweat It Out, and This Ain’t Bristol and with his debut album Into The Morning coming at the end of August, Kyle is planting his flag in the global music landscape.
After a jaw-dropping set at The Pagoda sandwiched between Fisher and Claptone, Kyle continues to enrich his credentials as one of the brightest stars in the game. We spoke with Kyle Watson about his upcoming album, playing his first Shambhala and the blossoming house scene in his native South Africa.
Sensible Reason: How was your first Shambhala experience and what was it like performing at the Pagoda?
Kyle Watson- What an amazing festival to play! The vibe was unreal, just such a feel-good energy and that Pagoda stage is pretty damn special!
SR: What’s it like performing with the Dirtybird crew for a takeover like Friday night? What’s the vibe like when you all get together?
KW: It was great to see some of the guys again, plus I finally got to meet papa Claude even if it was for about 15 seconds. It just makes me even more excited for Campout later this year.
SR: You’ve got a slew of big remixes in your arsenal, how do you approach remixing a track & do you have a particular technique?
KW: Ye I always try not to listen to the original track too many times, at least not critically. I like to throw away almost everything, focusing mainly on the vocal/hook. If I do use anything else from the original then I usually tweak it up so much that it becomes almost unrecognizable.
SR: What can fans look forward to from your upcoming album ‘Into The Morning’?
KW: This is super special to me! The album is probably not what a lot of people might expect, and that’s exactly what I want to achieve. There’s a variety of eclectic styles on there, everything from house to hip hop, downtempo to electronica.
SR: What goals, if any, did you set out for yourself when you first started producing? Do you feel like you’ve reached, surpassed or are still working towards those goals?
KW: I’m happy to say that I’ve achieved most of my goals, but I still have more to reach. I think it’s a fluid process, you should never really reach all your goals because once you hit one you’re already looking at where to go next.
KW: Within the crunchier side of the house scene that I’m involved in, its really grown a lot particularly over the last 5 or 6 years. International influences are starting to creep in properly now and the quality of our local producers is really starting to shine. Das Kapital, strange Loving, Ryan Murgatroyd, MKLY and Sides are all making fantastic music. We’ve got a way to go though, I still want to see more of our local producers breaking through the South African ceiling and into the rest of the world.
SR: What advice would you give to a young international producer looking to break into the North American scene? What challenges, if any, did you face?
KW: To be honest I didn’t actively try to break into the North American scene. I was kind of naive I guess, not really looking into the sounds that are popular in those countries. All I know is that I got curious when I started receiving loads of messages and comments from people in the US wanting to see me live! Best advice is to work with a good booking agent, because that can make or break an artist trying to break into a new territory. And just be honest with your own sound, be yourself.
SR: Recently you listed your 7 favorite clubs in the US for BBM Live. What in your opinion makes a great club ‘great’ to perform at?
KW: A great collection of people there just for the music, and a strong sound system. If the room is packed full of the right people and the music is reaching them through a proper sound system, then I feel the connection with them and can’t really go wrong.