INTERVIEW: KAYTRANADA

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Lucky us. Kevin Celestin, aka Montreal beatsmith, Kaytranada, is in LA for two shows this week for his No Peer Pressure tour featuring Groundislava and Jerome LOL (though his LA shows will open with Morri$ and Colta), and we managed to sneak in some couch-time conversations. We spoke a bit about his up-coming tour in the US, genre-labeing, Drizzy Drake and bodybuilding babes. 

LA CANVAS: I actually didn’t know English wasn’t your first language. That’s what Will (Kaytra’s manager) told me just now.

Well yeah, I’m from Montreal so I speak French. But we throw some English words in there, kind of like slang I guess.

LAC: So you just came off of an Australia tour with Ryan Hemsworth, and this is your first American solo tour. Is there a difference between the Australian crowd and the US crowd?

Yeah, the Australians go hard, they’re a lot rowdier, but I think that’s because most of them seem younger. I haven’t been to all of America yet but when I was in New York, I could tell that they weren’t really feeling it; I mean, they were dancing and all, but they weren’t going hard. I know LA goes hard though, LA gets down.

LAC: How was the tour kick-off in San Jose?

San Jose was cool, there was this girl dancing all over the stage, she was twerking and all that. It was crazy, I wasn’t expecting all that (laughs)

LAC: So you released the “Hilarity Duff” track, the second song off of the EP, and Earmilk and Hypetrak are all over it – they’re already anticipating the EP to be huge. How does that feel?

I mean, to hear or read something like that, it’s crazy, if not reassuring. The track was even featured on HotNewHipHop and they put the word “hot” in front it; and I was just surprised the track was even featured on a hip-hop blog. Something like that though, it definitely tells you that you’ve made it though, hearing that type of shit.

LAC: The “At All” video, though – that was nuts with the buff ass girls. Who came up with that idea?

The one who came up with video idea was my friend, Martin Pariseau. He called me about the idea of the bodybuilding women and me hanging with them and doing weird shit. I wasn’t really down with it at first, but I don’t know, when we were at the shoot, I knew it was going to be a big thing so I did it.

LAC: Was being carried weird?

Not really. I mean, we’ve all been carried when we were kids so, it ain’t that weird. But I couldn’t stop laughing.

LAC: Yeah, I bet. Just the imagery of it all was like, “What the hell?” I was diggin’ your jersey.

Yeah, that was the point of it all; and yeah, I was diggin’ it too, I wished the jersey was mine.

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LAC: When you listen to your tracks, you can hear the hip-hop, R&B, soul and disco influences in your background. Given that, is it weird to be labeled as an electronic artist/producer?

I mean it is weird because I don’t like to label myself as an electronic DJ because I’m always pulling from other genres, cause that’s what I listen to. I listen to hip-hop, R&B, a lot of old disco and that transfers to my music. Even the… I don’t want to call it trap, but I use a lot of that downbeat hip-hop bass, and I just don’t think the electronic label fits it. Nowadays it’s like, how can you tell my music is hip-hop? By the BPM? It’s so hard to slap any one genre onto music because we’re pulling influences from all these other different places, you can’t just place it into one bubble.

LAC: What have been the major differences since signing with Huh, What & Where (HW&W) Recordings? Has being a part of that helped you creatively?

It’s been cool. I mean, since I signed with them, I still stayed in my own lane, just doing my own thing. The label used to be just about instrumental beats, and even then I still want creative control over my music. But they’re the homies and they’ve helped get my name and music out, and then I get to do cool shit with them, like Boiler Room. So overall, it’s been cool, it’s been great.

LAC: I was browsing through your SoundCloud and saw some tracks under “The Celestics.” Is that like, a side project, or something you started prior to being a solo producer?

Yeah, it’s a hip-hop group I was working with, it was actually the first project I was doing, and it just never popped off cause we weren’t really working at it. Instead of recording or working on tracks, we’d just fuck around or be lazy or whatever. It was me and my brother, Louie P, he was the rapper and I was the producer – I was still Kaytradamus then and just making hip-hop beats. I didn’t want to associate Kaytranada (the solo producer) with the group, I just wanted to be the producer and have the music solely stand as The Celestics. But yeah, it was something that we were trying to do, and I want to keep working at it; we already have a few tracks out, “Charles Barkley,” and “Kill,” that are getting some recognition, so it’s something that I want to keep pursuing.

LAC: Was it hard to keep working on The Celestics while you yourself were getting recognition for your solo tracks?

I mean, yeah that was definitely part of it. Like when I started releasing tracks on my SoundCloud and people were feeling it, and I was getting a shit-ton of likes on it, and recognition from blogs, it was like I said before, it’s like you see you’ve made it or that you were doing something right. When “If” popped off, that was when things really started to escalate and it was like, I’m being more successful at this than with The Celestics so…

LAC: I mean, at that point,  it seems like you had no choice but to run with it.

Yeah, exactly.

LAC: I was actually going to ask you about the name change. Did changing the name from “Kaytradamus” to “Kaytranada” happen because of your success as a producer and a drift from The Celestics?

It was kind of part of it, but at the time, it was when I was still doing more “trap” beats and that also was when Flosstradmus was coming out too, and I didn’t want it to look like I was biting off them or anything like that. I was already hearing shit from my friends on Twitter like, “Who the fuck you think you are?” or “Why you biting off Floss?” and I just didn’t want to deal with that shit. I actually prefer to just be called “Kaytra,” but it’s too late to change it now at this point (laughs). But yeah, Kaytranada is more of a random name.

LAC: Going off your Twitter point, I saw a while back when (Drake’s) “Nothing Was the Same” first came out that you Tweeted that he could’ve done better musically. What would you have done with the album? Does that mean we’re going to get some Drake edits in the near future?

I mean.. I don’t know. I’m not disrespecting Drake in any way, but I just think that musically he really could have done better. Like, his team did  hit me up for some beats but they wound up not using them (for NWTS). If they did though, I can guarantee that that would’ve been a classic ass album. I mean, he could hit up any underground artist – whether that be me, Sango, Star Slinger, whoever – and that would be classic.

LAC: Who would you want to collabo with in the future? Near-future or even big dream-status? I’m sure you have a long list.

Oh man… yeah, I have a fat list. I mean, I’ve done a bunch of Erykah Badu edits, a ton of Janet edits, so I’d love to work with them or other people that have remixed their tracks too. The tracks I want to do, I don’t really want or need any big time names on them, I’d just want to work with people that have that sound that I like.. like, I absolutely have to have a neo-soul singer on my tracks, maybe a rapper… but definitely a neo-soul singer.

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LAC: Who are you listening to right now?

I listen to so much shit, man… really though I listen to a lot of old school disco and funk, mostly underground stuff. In a general sense I listen to a lot of underground music, especially hip-hop, disco, funk. A lot of 90’s R&B too, obviously. I love Janet.

LAC: So what should we expect for 2014?

Oh, I don’t know… I mean, I will say this: I’m definitely working towards releasing an album. It might be released in 2014, it might be released 2015, I don’t know, depends on if I’m feeling it or if I get into the right creative groove within the next year. But, we got some big things planned out, some collabos and projects that I don’t think people are ready for; I really don’t think y’all are ready for it.

 

Catch Kaytranada at Los Globos this Thursday, cop your tickets while you still can right here.

MIX OF THE DAY: TRIPPY TURTLE’S DIPLO & FRIENDS MIX ON BBC RADIO 1

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Saturday mornings was the happiest when I was a kid — no school, a bowl of cereal and Saturday morning cartoons, and I was set. Nowadays Saturday mornings are more or less the same — no work, a bowl of leftover drunchies (usually a half-eaten burrito), and BBC Radio 1’s weekly Diplo & Friends, and you can call me a happy camper, if not a hungover one.


A few weekends back, the Diplo & Friends guest DJ was a reptilian bohemian that goes by the name of Trippy Turtle… and really, that’s all we can tell you. Thanks to the Internet, DJs, artists and producers are popping up like daisies, sometimes with little to no information on who exactly these folks are — and Trippy is one of them.

Based off of his Facebook posts and Tweets, Trippy might reside somewhere in Europe (he recently did a show in Norway with Sinjin Hawke and has a show at the end of November in Paris) and rubs virtual elbows with Cashmere Cat. The two frequently feature each other on their respective mixes, including Cashmere Cat’s own turn on Diplo & Friends and his recent hangout with Gilles Peterson. Many thought Trippy was a Cashmere Cat alias, but he squashed that accusation months ago.

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Trippy’s BBC1 mix is all machine whirrs, withered down syrupy R&B samples and edits, thunderous bass and stutters — a mix of sex trap and Jersey club , if you will. Really, this mix has it all. It’ll have you singing along, while simultaneously doing body rolls and that infamous trap dance that looks like you’re doing some really weird pull-ups all at once. That’s how good it is, but I shouldn’t have to tell you twice. Hit that play button.

Check out more of Trippy Turtle’s tracks and edits at his soundcloud.

DELICIOUS VINYL: SAME MISSION, NEW METHODS

Move over Snoop, we know you’re a D-O-Double-G, but the triple Double-OG’s aren’t going anywhere just yet.

LA-based label Delicious Vinyl originated in the late 1980s, by signing two of LA’s finest pre-gangsta rap hip-hop acts to their roster, legend Tone Loc and Young MC. Throughout the years, DV was known for signing acts that have become pioneers and forerunners for their respective genres — acts like The Pharcyde, The Born Jamericans, The Brand New Heavies and the Masters of Reality, just to name a few.

 THE BIZARRE RIDE AT DV SHOP
Bizarre Ride at the DV Shop | Photo Cred: Asato Lida

But fast forward a couple years and the label’s evolution transcended into territories that were just on the cusp of making it big – DV’s Rick Ross (not to be confused by one Miami security guard) was one of the first in LA to delve into the world of electronic music before it made its mainstream explosion in the city of angels.

Founder Mike Ross and all his cohorts were capable of recognizing what was up and coming with music, acting with some kind of musical wizardy for knowing what people were going to eat up next as far as genres go.

True to form, DV is nowhere near falling off the grid. In recent years, the label/record store began to host “DVTV Sessions,” weekly events where they would bring in a guest DJ to spin at the shop, while streaming it live on ustream.

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Aaron LaCrate at DVTV Session #50 | Photo Cred: Asato Lida

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Teebs at DVTV Session #54 | Photo Cred: Asato Lida

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Alexander Spit at DVTV Sessions #44 | Photo Cred: Asato Lida

The idea here is not only to keep up with the hottest artists in the game right now, but to also take over in a new role as a pseudo-online radio station – highlighting top DJs and artists to music lovers not only in LA, but all over the blog-o-sphere while establishing an online presence.

55 Sessions-deep and a soon to be released season 1 wrap-up on the way, the DVTV Sessions have been highly successful in that its brought in a whole range of acts – from Beat Junkies godfather Rhettmatic to new kids on the block like Soulection and Falcons.

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Blasion Maven at DV Shop | Photo Cred: Asato Lida

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Rhettmatic at DVTV Sessions #48 | Photo Cred: Asato Lida

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Star Slinger at DVTV Sessions #55 | Photo Cred: Asato Lida

The next scheduled DVTV Sessions is October 11 with TeamSupreme, so set your calendars folks. Until then check out a few of DV’s recap videos and all the DVTV sessions on their Ustream channel.


Delicious Vinyl TV: A Day With (G)uards | Video Cred: Asato Lida


Delicious Vinyl TV Session #54: My Hollow Drum Take Over | Video Cred: Asato Lida


Delicious Vinyl TV Session #53: Nanna B. | Video Cred: Asato Lida

LISTEN UP: MOD CREW’S YUNG SATAN

So I moved to LA for a number of reasons, but let’s keep it real, I really moved down here for two things. One: of course, I found a job. And two: LA’s music scene.

Originally recognized through Low End Theory and the likes of artists like Free the Robots, LA’s beat scene has been on a huge rise in the last few years, and I don’t know what has kids coming out with these beats, but I dig it. Is it something in the water? Hell, maybe it’s the traffic or the pollution, something!

The M|O|D crew has slowly but surely breaking ground with their trap tapes and Peng compilations, but individual artists like Arnold, C.Z. and Lil Texas are starting to speed up the breakthrough process. Add in a kid like Yung Satan, and it’s only a matter of time until these guys are headlining major show festivals.

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Yung Satan | Photo Cred: Jason “OHDAGYO” Fenmore

Disregarding any “future trap” label that might come up on your Google search of the kid, Yung Satan’s sound in a nutshell in heavy bass undertones with an overlay of 80s and 90s R&B/soul samples, like in his most release, “Tell Me.”

Chopping and screwing the samples are Yung Satan’s forte for dissecting the samples to his liking but the R&B influences are there and compliment the true-to-M|O|D nature of “club” and “trap” music. What Yung Satan does is to transform that type of “trap” and “club” music into something outside of it.

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Yung Satan | Photo Cred: Jason “OHDAGYO” Fenmore

It’s a one-two punch combo that on paper lay on opposite ends of the sound spectrum but Yung Satan’s chord progressions and high hats pull it all full circle and leave you wanting something beyond a five-track EP and a sprinkling of remixes and guest mixes.

Last night the kid and the rest of the M|o|D crew and Team Supreme threw a party at The Echo, with sets from Yung Satan himself, M|O|D brethren Lil Texas and Arnold, Colta and Djemba Djemba from Team Supreme, and many more. The good thing about being based in LA is hey, you never know when his next gig will pop up in the greater LA county area, so keep an eye on his Facebook and Twitter and in the mean time, tune in to his guest mix featured on Beatflakes.