Interview: Damian B
Kyrist has emerged in D&B by stealth. Imagine you’re in a lab or something and you suddenly notice your colleagues clutching at their throats and keeling over. Then you note: she’s the only one with the gas mask.
I have to ask…
Kyrist, you don’t appear to be a particularly malicious person… but these heinous sounds! Divergence is just one example:
Well, there was a quote from Sense MC on Kane FM last week: ‘You look so polite, but your music is disgusting’ haha!
Any reason for this?
Well I’m sure I’m not the only who does this but a lot of my tunes are written on the back of me being severely pissed off about something or with someone. I’m not an angry person… I guess it just all comes out in my music.
Okay, okay (backs off nervously). Imagine I’m a shrink and you’re on the couch: what are some early memories you have of this pernicious music?
I do remember at a real young age though, maybe about 11 or 12, listening to some mate’s brother and his friends spinning jungle for hours on end and it sparked something for me.
What was the year of solid commitment then? Commitment to D&B I mean…
It was about 2006 that I got my first pair of turntables, at that point I was mixing all sorts; trance, house, grime, garage and of course jungle and D&B. D&B was the genre that stood out the most for me though, it had, and still has, something really captivating and intriguing about it which I still can’t put my finger on.
Back then I loved jump up, though. I think most of my pals all went through the same transition as me, from liking jump-up then, as we got older, grew out of it a bit and took a stronger liking to the darker side of the spectrum. And that lead me to my first Renegade Hardware night at Area back in 2009.
That’s a wicked period…
It was the first time I had ventured out of my town for what was to be one of the most inspiring nights of my life, I was just in awe of every DJ the whole night. I just remember it being so sick and thinking how much I wanted to be behind those decks. That was the lightbulb moment.
Talking about that Renegade night, and considering your age and the contrasting age of D&B: if you had a time machine where would you like to go, to check out?
I always say this: if I had a time machine I would like to be born 10 years earlier. I would have loved to have been there for some of the legendary Exodus raves.
So in term of it all filtering in, what’s the ‘x factor’ in your music? The thing no-one else has…
I’d like to think I’m doing something different to everybody else. The way I think about making D&B is this… ‘if I heard this in a club, would it make me want to dance?’ The main thing for me is variation.
I get bored very easily so I like to switch things up a lot in my music. For example, basses and, sometimes, the kick drum pattern to give it a different groove. At the same time, every day you learn something new. So I could potentially learn something tomorrow that could completely change how I write music.
A random question: as the worlds of studio and live are closer than ever, could you change tunes or rewrite them in a live set?
It’s not an option for me, as I don’t own that much studio equipment that I could use in a live performance, so unless I win the lottery then it’s probably not going to happen any time soon. It would be great fun: I’ve seen Paradox do his live sets and props to him because he pulls it off every time so effortlessly even using his gear from 1997. It goes to show that you don’t need to have all this new fancy equipment to create a good set and wicked vibes.
What sort of places have you played?
I’ve played Hidden, Plan B, Cable and Electric Brixton for Renegade Hardware. I’ve played some warehouse parties, a fair few places in and around Bedfordshire, also Amsterdam earlier on in the year.
And what labels have you released on?
I’ve had releases on Broken Audio, Syrenz, Nurtured Beatz, Dust Audio and Proximity Recordings.
This is one of them, The Resolve, which came out in August on Nurtured Beatz…
How do you consume D&B in general and check out new things? Live, internet/radio etc?
The best way for me to find out about new music is just going to D&B nights, whether it be Fabric/Hidden/Fire etc, it’s all well and good listening at home but I don’t think you can fully appreciate the music until you hear it out on a fat system.
One of my mates always blasts the Critical podcasts from her car which are pretty decent. I am always on SoundCloud looking for mixes and I also check Rinse FM, Kane and Rude FM quite a lot.
I think this Get To Know session is complete! What dates you got?
I’ve just played at Hidden for Tech:nology. There’s Noise coming up on October 12. There’s also warehouse rave I’m playing at too, but it’s a secret location so I don’t know any details.
Pipe Dreams / Divergence is out now. Listen and download.