Kyle Watson is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s biggest dance music exports. For over a decade he has spent his time cultivating a unique and eclectic sound which has garnered a strong following of loyal fans spanning the globe, including past releases on labels like Dirtybird, Bunny Tiger and Ultra Records.
Today we caught up with Kyle Watson as he’s about to release his debut LP ‘Into the Morning’ via This Ain’t Bristol.
Electronic Groove: How are you, Kyle? What’s making you happy and sad right now?
Kyle Watson: I’m good thanks! My new album is making me happy, but this jet lag is making me sad.
EG: It is said that South Africa is the biggest market for dance music in the world. Is it part of everyday life there?
Kyle Watson: It’s pretty big here and definitely central to culture in the country. We’ve got a massive house scene here that’s being led by heavyweights like Black Coffee, and smaller genre followings in bass, techno, among others.
EG: What makes the house music from South Africa special, unique, different than say Detroit or Berlin, do you think?
Kyle Watson: A lot of the mass-consumed house in the country is really unique in its drum patterns and bassline progressions. Sometimes the house loops have 5 kicks and they often use complex snare patterns that lead the drums forward. Short sharp vocal cuts are also popular in the style, so yeah if you sit it next to house from other territories it definitely sounds different.
EG: When, how and where did you first fall in love with it? What made you want to make it and play it?
Kyle Watson: I started listening to mix CD’s when I was around 13 years old and instantly fell in love with the way it made me feel. It just so happened that when I started making (really bad) music the loops that I had access to were all 4/4 and house-based, and once I started messing around with those I was hooked.
“I really just wanted to work on a body of work that was different, and an album gave me the opportunity to do that”
EG: Why now for a debut album? What made you want to write one? How different is it from singles?
Kyle Watson: An album for me has been long overdue. I really just wanted to work on a body of work that was different, and an album gave me the opportunity to do that. It takes much much longer to write than singles. Every track is special to me so I feel like I really put everything I have into every song.
EG: What was the idea for it, was there a plan or concept for it from the start?
Kyle Watson: There wasn’t a core concept to the album before I started, even the name was conceptualized after the album was done. All I knew was that I wanted to showcase different sides of my writing, something most people wouldn’t expect from me.
EG: Where do you start on each track, and does the gear you use to record it matter to you? Are you a hardware or software man?
Kyle Watson: Honestly, the hardware is really expensive in South Africa so I’m a software man! Sometimes I start with a concept in my head that gives me a direction I know I want to take, but most of the time I just sit down and see what comes out. I almost always start with the drums and bass, building a pattern that I then stretch out into the different sections of the track.
EG: What’s next, what else have you got coming up/are you working? Do you have big plans to tour the LP already?
Kyle Watson: In September I’ll be touring the album locally in South Africa, and October I’ve got a run of shows booked in the United States. Apart from that I’ve kept up work in the studio with remixes for Vintage Culture & Mancodex (coming out on the label I co-run called Box Of Cats), and I’m planning on making edits of a bunch of the tracks off the album to test out.
Kyle Watson’s ‘Into The Morning’ LP will be out August 24th. Grab your copy here.