Kyrist: In the Zone
Bristol-based Kyrist is on a mission lately. 2017 has been a turning point for the talented producer, with her debut EP on Dispatch LTD turning heads for all the right reasons, as well as a sublime release on Addictive Behaviour, a busy gig schedule under her belt, AND a new role as Label Manager at Dispatch. We caught up to find out more, get to know…
Kyrist in the building! Thanks for joining us, where have we caught you today?
Hey guys! Today I’ve just been chilling at home sorting out my Rekordbox, working out some new combos for my next set, and just doing some ultra-boring life admin stuff!
It seems like 2017 has really been your year… Releases on the likes of Dispatch and Addictive Behaviour, a seriously healthy gig schedule, not to mention stepping up as label manager for Dispatch as well – what is it about this year that shifted things up a gear do you think?
I’m glad you noticed! I think my debut EP on Dispatch at the start of this year seemed to turn a few heads! I worked so hard on that project, and Ant TC1 was giving me feedback every step of the way, which I couldn’t be more grateful for. Also I made a conscious effort to do a live-streamed set so I could really showcase my DJ’ing skills (as I’m a DJ first and foremost!) which had a ridiculous number of views and shares, so that definitely helped. Also the release on Addictive Behaviour was a bit of a milestone for me as it’s the first time I’ve had anything of my own on vinyl!
Wicked milestone no doubt! The whole EP is quality, and your tune The Drifted is a seriously atmospheric and techy number. What’s the story behind this one? Was it inspired by anything in particular?
To be honest, this track started life as a collab between myself and someone else who I shall not be naming. They chose not to be a part of it anymore, so I decided put it out as a solo track. I love the Arabic-style vocals and flute, those sounds seemed to fit really well with building up the atmosphere in the intro and creating a theme within the track. The rest of it is purely made to cause some damage on a dance floor! I think as with the majority of my music, it’s quite a progressive track, so it changes every 32 bars to something new to keep the listener interested, but it’s still a simple roller.
Job well done I say! 🙂 So how did label-managing Dispatch come about then?
I started working for Dispatch as a work placement project back when I was still at uni, around 2014. I was making their YouTube videos and cutting up clips of forthcoming tracks, just general admin work that none of the other guys had time to do really, so it was handed down to me. It was only supposed to be for 2-3 weeks, but I ended up doing that for a year and a half, then stopped for a while. In February this year, a position for Assistant Label Manager became available, and Ant wanted me to have a more pivotal role within the label so I decided to go for it. It’s been hard work but so far it’s taught me to be super organised, and I’m working with a great team of people!
Absolute bunch of legends they are! Were they a label you always aspired to be on/ working with?
I’ve followed the label for quite some time, maybe 6 or 7 years, so I was a big fan anyway and love pretty much everything in the back catalogue. When I first started writing music I did have a few daydreams about signing my tracks to Dispatch, I never actually thought it would actually happen one day! Madness…
Life has a way of surprising us sometimes, doesn’t it?! How did you get into d&b and into production then? Are you self-taught?
It honestly feels like it’s been in my life forever! Been in love with it around 12 years or something now, my older mates in school showed me their tape packs and I was like ‘woah, what the hell is this?!’ I’d never heard so much energy in music before. When I was about 15/16 years old I was buying CDs from Random Concept nights, Innovation, Westfest etc.. I think I spent most of my pocket money on those.. Wish I still had them now! Bought my first pair of Technics aged 16 and started collecting vinyl from then on too.
The production side started in 2010 when I decided to pursue a musical education and go to college and study Music Technology. One guy in my class who I quickly became friends with was well into jump up, I had started exploring the deeper side of d&b by this point but I was still into it. He actually showed me the ropes on how to structure tracks and how to get all the elements sitting right in the mix, so I have him to thank for getting the ball rolling for me on that! Big ups Samad! Everything else since then has been self-taught, countless hours of watching tutorials, experimenting with plugins… it’s all just trial and error really, ’til you find something that works!
I’m always fascinated by what inspires artists and whether it’s a case of just experimenting in the studio until inspiration hits, or whether certain life experiences actually drive the creativity.. what is it in your case?
I’m 100% sure my emotion drives the type of music I make. Three out of the four tracks on my Dispatch EP were written when I was going through a tough break up, so I just focused all my energy into the music. Usually though, I’ll hear a certain sound and it will spark some creativity in my brain, or I’ll just be building some drums for later use, then i’ll chuck in a bass line that I made previously and mess around with a few parameters that change up the vibe, and that’s how most of my tracks start. Literally trial and error, or happy accidents, whatever you want to call it!
I like happy accidents! 🙂 You’re playing alongside the likes of Dom & Roland, Ed:It, Xanadu and more this weekend at the Addictive Behaviour night.. Massive line-up! Must be a trip to now be on the same bill as acts like Dom & Roland ?!
Yes! I’m looking forward to this event.. And I guess so, it’s becoming more the norm for me to be on bigger line-ups now which is really cool, and I’m really grateful for! Kinda feel like I’m flying the flag for the girls right now, cos there aren’t really many females on the more tech-driven bigger line ups.
Your promo mix for the night is absolute fire! How do you approach your sets these days, is it a case of reading the vibe of the night, or arming yourself with exclusives and just going IN?
I’ll always plan out what I want to play, somewhere between 40-50 tracks, but I never really play them one after the other, I always watch the DJ before me to gauge what kind of vibe the crowd are on, and then I can adjust what I’ll play accordingly. I’m always armed with plenty of exclusives though, haha!
No doubt! You’re currently living with Sam Binga in Bristol – guessing the creative vibe in the house is at an all-time high?! How did that living situation come about?!
I am yes, but he’s hardly ever at home! Always busy doing his own thing either at his studio or away playing a gig somewhere. But when we do spend time together we have a laugh.. I’d just moved to Bristol this time last year, and was living in a flat temporarily for a month, I had a gig down in Brighton and my pal Joel from Klax said he knew a few people with spare rooms in Bristol, Sam was one of those people and it all went from there!
You guys ever thought about a potential collab? 😉
Haha, we have spoken about it before, it’s just finding the time really! I think the outcome could be pretty cool though…
100%! You’ve been producing for quite some time, have you got any advice for aspiring producers hoping to break through like you have?
Oh gosh, where to start?! One thing that helped me was going out to events and actually talking to the DJs. Get their email addresses and when you feel like your music is at a good enough standard, send it over and ask for their feedback. The more brutal the feedback, the better. Most of the time everyone’s so wrapped up in their own projects, but be persistent and consistent and don’t get disheartened when you don’t always get a reply. Take on their advice and when you feel comfortable, start sending your stuff out to appropriate labels.
I also deal with the vast number of demos we get sent at Dispatch, and from a label perspective, it’s no good if you send something that’s half-finished, or something that sounds like everyone else. Be yourself and don’t be afraid to be different!
Well said. What’s the last track/ release that gave you goosebumps?
Probably DLR’s remix of Noisia – Motion Blur…
Massive tune! And who’s inspiring you at the minute?
There’s loads of people inspiring me right now from different genres… Black Barrel, Nami, DLR, Break, InsideInfo, Icicle, Enei, Biome, J:Kenzo, Escapism Refuge, Sorrow, Arkist, Taiki Nulight, I could go on… Also I’m rinsing GoldLink’s new album right now.
So what’s coming up next for you for the rest of the year?
Lots of fun shows, obviously the Addictive Behaviour gig this weekend! I’m heading to Munich and Prague this month too, playing my first show at fabric in July, which I’m super excited about! Also Bass Camp festival, Let It Roll, Outlook Festival and Hospitality In The Park to name a few of the big ones.
My next Dispatch EP will be out later in the year as well, so keep an eye out for that. I’m also doing a production masterclass day down in Hastings, Sussex on 1st July. It’s in a wicked studio and I’ll be giving an insight into how I build tracks and everything else that goes with it. The class will be tailored to what the guests want to learn as well. Tickets are available for this, get more info here.
Respect! Any final shouts?
Shouts to my Dispatch team, Ant TC1 for pushing me to aim higher with each bit of music I write, Clayton and Neil at Addictive Behaviour, and big ups to my amazing friends and family who put up with me talking about drum & bass all the time <3
Catch Kyrist at the Addictive Behaviour night at Bar 512 in London this Friday – Tickets available here.
The New Age Myths EP is out now on Addictive Behaviour, get it here.
The Venomous EP is out now on Dispatch LTD, get it here.