Kyshido has risen from roots in classical piano and violin to creating cutting edge liquid drum & bass. Labels have started taking note of the talented Londoner, and he now has a new EP on LiquidDrumz. Kyshido took time out to discuss the release, his background as a producer, and how you can grab a free track from the LiquidDrumz label.
Hi Kyshido, how are you? Where in the world are you right now, and what are you up to?
Hey, I’m good thanks. Well at the moment I’m in my studio in South London, taking a break from tweaking tunes ready for mastering. It can be like chasing your tail sometimes, so I’m glad to rest the ears.
How has your career panned out up to this point in time?
I've been working hard on music for 5 years or so now, keeping a fairly low profile to focus on learning my craft to the point where I have a strong catalogue of music now ready for release. Some of my music has been put out already by some quality labels along the way including Urban Torque, LDNB Music, Liquid Drumz and others, and I guess tunes people might know me for might be 'I Believed In You' and 'Rai' (forthcoming) for example. Aside from this, some highlights of my career to date would be things like radio play support from DJs I admire like Fabio/Grooverider on Radio 1 and Laurent Garnier, remixing Sony act 'The Milk', and being selected as "one to watch" on BBC1Xtra which I hope I can live up to one day too! These kinds of things, however small. mean a great deal to me, as I have not been pushing my stuff out much and was a social media hermit for a long while!
What factors influenced you to become a producer in the first place?
Well I've been a musician all my life, my background is in jazz & classical piano and violin which I started playing from the age of 6. So it felt like a natural step to be involved in the creation of music eventually. I have been into Chicago house, soul, hip hop, and then heavily into jungle/dnb in the early/mid 90s onwards. I built up a big vinyl collection and was DJing and still love to, but I felt I could contribute more than this as I had a vision for the type of sound I wanted to hear. So I saved up, bought the equipment and have spent years trying to teach myself to do this to a level I'm happy with.
You have a quite distinctive, soulful sound. How has this come about?
Great that you find that. This is for two reasons really. Firstly, music creation for me is often an outlet for my emotions, and to come to terms with things that I have learnt in life. Secondly, I love music with soul, music that really speaks to me. If you listen to soul music from the 60s and 70s for example, that music still resonates today, these artists put a piece of themselves in the music and were doing it for the right reasons. Melodies and harmonies combined with meaningful words can transcend generation or genre fads. I guess I want to make music with this kind of soul and integrity, whether that be uplifting or dark, soul can appear in many shapes and forms.
You are responsible for the first of Liquid Drumz’ ‘Concept’ EP series. Tell us about the tracks on the ‘Vibes’ EP.
The concept for the EP was first and foremost to make a collection of tunes with 'vibes' in mind. So for example you can hear a thread of golden age 90s hip hop/new jack swing/r&b influences in there, as that musical era had real musical vibes for me. Beyond this there is a deeper message about 'vibes' when it comes to people. "Fly to the Shady" is a warning to watch out for yourself, as someone 'fly' can well turn out to be 'shady', people can turn…a flower can be poisonous, but both sides in varying degrees can be attractive. "Vibes" is a party track about recognising those vibes people give off, your instincts rarely lie…(and self-referencing for producers trying to hit that elusive vibe in the creation process…). "Swing It" is an interlude to get down and forget your woes. Finally, "it's Like That" is about accepting that's the way life is sometimes, rough with the smooth, just dig deep and try to keep moving on! To convey a meaning for me is a fundamental part of why I make music, the vocal content is always there for a reason.
How have you gone about putting together the tracks on the EP?
I won't bore you with the whole process, but essentially I created rhythm tracks first of different styles to get a basis on which to write chord progressions and melodic hooks on top. All of these tracks and most of my music is keys-led, due to my background in piano, and for me playing and experimenting with chords etc is often how I set the vibe for a track. I then worked on sourcing vocals, then chopping and rearranging them etc to convey the kind of messages I wanted to relate. Next, working and layering other instruments and sounds into the songs. Finally, it was endless work tweaking and working on the drums, bass and all the elements. I spent a lot of time on getting arrangements right too. That is the crude break down of some of the main kind of work that went on.
What are some of the things that drive you on in life?
Aside from making music, I'm driven by seeing people around me doing things with integrity, people that graft to earn a crust or follow their path whatever that may be. That inspires me. Visiting other countries is another thing that pushes me on as damn this British weather can be tough on morale sometimes! Setting limits and goals helps me to push on too, I told myself the other day, I'm not allowed to eat until I finally put a lid on tweaking a certain track once and for all, it worked…I like cooking and street art too, lots of things basically.
Do you have any plans to hit the road any time soon?
Will be playing for a few collectives later in the year. The Liquid Drumz nights being one, the label is really making moves with its club nights in London, and now even abroad and organising boat parties with Liquid Tones to boot too! Another collective doing great things I should be playing for is Innersoul, they consistently have quality line-ups. Will post dates on my website and Facebook as all gig dates are confirmed. So yeah more DJing in future after a hiatus spent concentrating on making tunes, I have a lot of fresh music to let off this year hardly anyone has heard yet, so looking forward to it.
Where next for Kyshido?
Whatever the case, for now I will continue to try to make the best music I can as long I'm blessed with the health to do so. A lot of my music will be out there now via labels etc this year, I'm so much more prolific than people realise. I have been working on other genres too which has taken up time, I want that to hit the right level quality-wise, so watch out for my deep/soulful house and hip hop/soul tempo stuff in future: am working with some talented soul vocalists from the US on that. I have many plans and projects in the pipe beyond this, so will work hard to achieve my vision and give news when things are ready. As people will know, I've never been one to shout about what I'm doing. Thanks to those fans who hit me up with kind words and buy or spread my music, your support is so much appreciated.
There is a free track from LiquidDrumz available below.
The Vibes EP is available right now exclusively from the Liquid Drumz shop and from other online retailers from the 9th July.
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