My introduction to the music of Polly Jean Harvey was through ‘The Dancer,’ the final track of her 1995 album To Bring you My Love. It was a desperate song– I almost felt shameful listening to it, as if I was imposing, listening in on something I shouldn’t be. It was her raw vulnerability, that sense that I was eavesdropping on the middle of a crisis that fused my ears to the rest of her discography. 

Choosing at random, I opted for her 2007 album White Chalk. Rather than the split-open lava of her 1995 release, White Chalk was a slow burner. On tracks like ‘Grow Grow Grow’ and ‘When Under Ether’ Harvey whispers her secrets to us, enveloping darkness into lullabies and woozy piano-based ballads. The songs speak to trauma and loss, in a voice that grows softer and more reserved as each track progresses. There couldn’t be a greater difference between the PJ Harvey of White Chalk and the Harvey of To Bring You My Love.

This is the key to Harvey’s music – she always plays characters, macabre ones, shy ones, brash ones. She burst onto the scene as the emboldened, crude Polly Jean, roaring at us in ‘Rid of Me; “I’ll make you lick my injuries / I’m gonna twist your head off, see.” On the album of the same name, PJ operates from a place of instinct; growling, shrieking. The entire album is an outburst, the result of holding back nothing.

No one could predict what forms this voice would take over the next few decades, packaged in synth-laden tracks, 4-track punk-inflected pieces, political songs written on the auto-harp. With PJ, you must always expect the unexpected. There is no ground she will not cover.

Written by DJ Phenomenology at KSDT.

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Ephwurd, the bass house duo of Datsik (Troy Beetles) and Bais Haus (Basie Hauser), is headed down to San Diego at Bassmnt this Saturday. We caught up with the producers to chat about making a different style of music and what they’re up to these days.

Stoked to have you guys back in SD, I know you guys have definitely been here before. How do you guys like it? Are you both living up in LA now?

Beetles: Yea, I’ve got some family down in SD and been there tons of times, Bassmnt is epic, stoked to come back now with Basie to throw down some of our new stuff. We live pretty close to each other in LA actually, like 5 minutes away, Basie’s at my house all the time. I’m from British Colombia and moved down here to get a house and build my dream studio…it’s pretty sick! It’s also cool touring where there’s blizzards and stuff and it’s like, I come back here and the weather’s the same every day.

Basie – how cool is it to have a name like “Basie Hauser” – I totally didn’t think that was your real name and kept trying to look for your real one. Also, your dad founded and was part of The Manhattan Transfer, what was that like growing up?

Hauser: It’s fate, man, haha that’s definitely the biggest sign of fate. I gotta thank my mom for that. With my dad, I definitely felt like I’ve been touring my whole life, I remember going to Europe and other places as a kid, and by the time I was 13 I had been around the world, pretty sweet! Also I remember going to lots of studios and meeting these legendary jazz musicians, but at the time I didn’t know who they were and today I’m like “holy shit, I met that person!”

What kinds of music are you guys into right now?

Beetles: I’m a huge hip hop guy, throwback kinda stuff that we just blast on every single on every bus tour. All those throwback hits and stuff like Billy Joel, haha, stuff that gets everyone laughing on the tour bus.

Hauser: Me, I’m into a lot of chill stuff at the moment, the future bass stuff. Stuff like Flume and all those guys on Future Classic.

What’s it like producing bass house and how is it different from what you guys made before? Any different directions in the future you think you’ll be heading?

Beetles: The thing about bass house, and house music in general is that it’s way more groove oriented. Whereas in dubstep you can take it a million different ways, with house it’s all about the feel and if you wanna bob your head to it or not. In every single project we make now, that’s definitely the number one concern – does it groove right, is it funky enough. That makes it fun, to make stuff that makes people nod their heads. Obviously there’s lots of crossover of sounds from my Datsik stuff but it’s really fun having a new alias to experiment with.

Hauser: Right now, this shit’s kinda blowing up but who knows maybe in a year we might be doing different stuff with Ephwurd. It’s more about keeping it versatile and keeping it forever changing with the times, but also doing our own thing. When we play live we really just want to play what’s hype in general, what gets everyone going crazy. Who knows where that could end up.

Beetles: Also, it’s fun because with my stuff as Datsik versus this new stuff, I really don’t play any of the same songs in my sets. Definitely for the kids that come out to the Ephwurd shows because they liked my old stuff as Datsik, I’ll drop a couple to please ‘em but it’s really different stuff. Now it’s all in the 128-135 range of these bangers and breaks. We were just in Australia actually and played 14 shows in 12 days both as Datsik and Ephwurd at these festivals, clubs and after parties and it was super fun to get the best of both worlds and sometimes play 2 completely different styles in one night. I think a lot of the reason we started the new alias was to shake off the past and not weird out those kids who are real into the dubstep and come out to see me and then be like “what’s all this funky house stuff?”

How’s DJing and producing music together?

Beetles: It’s just fun – Basie and I have been traveling together for a couple years now, but now it’s like, Basie gets to DJ too now and play his shit. Performing as Datsik I play on my Ableton setup where I have 2 controllers and a mixer and everything’s custom mapped with my effects. I’ve been using that for a while and I can get pretty crazy with it. With Ephwurd we got 3 or 4 CDJs going and it keeps me sharp because I’m bouncing back and forth between these different setups. At these parties it’s kinda like, we’re trying to one up each other, you know, who can play the sickest track, and it definitely keeps you on your toes because you’re like “shoot! I gotta loop this and mix this in real quick!”

Hauser: We use Ableton right now for producing, and there’s this online music sharing platform called Splice, so when we’re not together we can just upload our ideas and get together later and flesh it out. I think it’s the ultimate game changer because we’re constantly spinning out ideas, there’s all these tracks and things we’re working on, and we can just open the latest version and work on it wherever we want.

You guys got any tips for a new producer? Stuff you wished you knew when you started making music?

Ephwurd: Mixdowns, mixdowns, mixdowns. I’d rather have a track that’s simple with a really good mixdown that’s gonna hit hard in the clubs versus something overproduced. Making sure your tracks hit really hard and everything sounds proper while the groove is right. Kids send these demos to Firepower and there’s a lot of stuff where I’m like “ehh” but if I hear something simple and the mixdown’s right, I’ll be 10 times as likely to wanna sign that. Mixing is definitely key, stuff gets complicated so quickly so keeping it simple and sounding amazing is really important these days.

Catch Ephwurd this Saturday, March 5 at Bassmnt down in the Gaslamp. Tickets sold here!

Photo/ @ephwurd / Interview / Nathan Mih

03/02/2016

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unnamedSome British humor, an eclectic crowd, and a forty-four dollar punch bowl, what do these all have in common? A solid set to start off the three-day weekend. A little off the main Gaslamp strip and up a steep collection of stairs is a triad of part Asian-fusion, part cocktail lounge, and part dance club. Bang Bang San Diego strikes a balance of class and pop culture. There is a sense of comfort being able to sit high whilst enjoying drinks off a table embellished with Chinese newspaper clippings of Michael Jackson. There is also something gravitating about a dance floor with a floating disco ball comparable to a super moon. The space dripping in purple and blue was segmented and intimate, drawing in a spectrum of love dazed people for the night before Valentine’s Day. When the clock struck twelve, British DJ duo Just Kiddin graced the Bang Bang stage. And as playful as their name, Just Kiddin mixed a playful night of house music.

Just Kiddin is comprised of Laurie and Lewis. Hailing from across the pond they stopped in San Diego for the weekend to soak up some San Diego sun and experience some California love as a part of their US tour. Equipped with a handy-dandy Polaroid, KSDT was allotted the opportunity to sit and talk with Lewis before their performance. Warm and welcoming there was much excitement surrounding their presence in SD. The two have had an eventful 2016 thus far with their newest single “Only For You” reaching the heights of #2 on HypeMachine. The group’s ultimate hope is to offset the pretentious stigma surrounding house music by putting out dance tracks that are light-hearted in disposition. We later found ourselves engaged in a 3-way conversation including the LED Rep & Lewis, debating the “coolness” of Pacific Beach, assured the verdict was split.

The crowd was exactly what you’d expect from a weekend ruled by cupid, bringing in a slew of people on both sides of the dating pool. Whether they were looking for love or already had one, the crowd displayed moves to match the mood. With Laurie & Lewis exhibiting some tongue and cheek tunes, the club-goers were quite humorous too. The demeanor of the night was a little less sultry than some Casanovas would have liked; but being the new kids on the block coming through on Valentine’s Eve Just Kiddin brought a solid set with a lot of build-up into a great extended weekend.

They are definitely a group to watch for in 2016. Also worth noting is that a surprising number of their tracks are free for ones downloading pleasure via Soundcloud. The down to earth duo will no doubt continue to surprise us in months to come.

Checkout more on JustKiddin!

Links & Sites:

WEB ▽ SPOTIFY ▽ FACEBOOK ▽ TWITTER ▽ SOUNDCLOUD

Mentioned Track(s): Just Kiddin – Only For You (Single)

Photos / Just Kiddin + The Wanderlvst / Article / Susan Bystrom

2/19/2016

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Lewis Shay Jankel is an artist that blends old school soul with a new school sound. The London born DJ has been touring the USA this summer, and while he was in California KSDT had the pleasure to sit down with the DJ, producer, and vocal artist best known by his stage name Shift K3Y.

With his debut single “Touch” making it to #3 on the UK Singles Chart in 2014, Shift K3Y has gained acclaim in the UK and Europe, but that is only the start. The now 22 years old has come a long way in a very short amount of time. Trying to make his mark across the pond, Shift K3Y has signed to the USA’s very own Ultra Music (Ultra Records), in addition to Columbia UK. He has just released a remixes EP under Dim Mak this month and supposedly has an album waiting in the wings. You might not be familiar with his name quite yet and that’s okay, but Shift K3Y is definitely an artist to watch out for.

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KSDT caught up with Shift K3Y after his outdoor DJ set at Splash House Palm Springs this past June, engaging in a casual convo/Q&A session:

Q: How did you feel about your set today? (Shift K3Y’s DJ set was poolside in 108 F* heat.)
A: My set if I’m very honest, it was ridiculously hot. To the point where- because the mixer and everything are all metal, so if you could imagine it was like literally mixing on a stove, a cooker. So it was interesting, but after the first 10 minutes I was into it and found the flow. I always find that I can hit a blend of what I do and what I usually play here (the USA).

Q: If you could describe your own sound what would it be?
A: My sound is a mixture of R&B, dance music, jazz, soul, and a little bit of hip-hop influence.

Q: Who would you say are your music influences?
A: MJ (Michael Jackson), Stevie (Wonder), Earth Wind and Fire, Chaka Khan, (Led) Zeppelin, (Paul) Rodgers. Yeah, that is like my era of music.

Q: Who are you currently listening to? What about them do you like?
A: For me the Kendrick (Llamar) album (To Pimp a Butterfly) took a minute for me to connect, because good kid, m.A.A.d city was like my bible. For him to try and put out anything after was going to be difficult for me, naturally. So I was bit like… ehh, where are the club hits? That sort of thing… And then after awhile I realized I kept listening to it. I didn’t even know why I was doing it; I was just like this is so deep I just have to hear the end of it.
And also the guy I have been working with quite a bit James Fauntleroy did quite a lot on the album. I didn’t realize it until I started hearing his voice. So yea, I’m just in love with that album.

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Q: Your name is pretty unique, how did you come to be Shift K3Y?
A: Well at the time I wanted something that was a new stage of musical development, so yeah. And the “3” was because no one could find me when it was just regular; obviously because I knew nothing about search engines or anything. And when I was making trap music I had a dollar sign ”$”.
Yeah, it’s a name, it just clicked. It is just a name.

Q: From being in the studio making music to playing live to a crowd when you tour, how do the two sides compare?
A: It’s always a learning experience from playing shows and then going back to the studio. It does give me lot of ideas, but I always find that I come back to the same things, those same influences I was talking about. It’s just because I listen to so much of that music on a daily basis. For me when I was fifteen that is when dance music was in my life; that is when I first got into it. And ever since then I’ve been trying to blend what I’m into; and I love dance music, but it’s always hard to blend the two. I feel like there are occasional moments, like what is going on now is a good point.

Q: KSDT is a college radio station, so many of our listeners are about your age. What advice could you give our listeners who are trying to pursue music?
A: Quit your job and dedicate every possible moment to doing music. Personally I think you have to understand everything about what makes a song a song, or a track a track, you got to understand a bit about the marketing, the lyrics, the advertising, the conception, the beat, mix down, mastering. You don’t have to know how to do everything, but as long as you understand all of those elements, then you can truly say I signed off on that knowing I was on top of everything.
But also just put stuff out and don’t be afraid. Because I think a lot of people spend too long getting it just right, and in that time they could have been building up a following. So it’s a balance of addressing your craft and then knowing the right time, and you just know when it’s right, you just got to go for it.

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Q: We are a San Diego based radio station and you recently performed at San Diego’s Bang Bang. How did you enjoy your time out there? Do think you will be heading back our way anytime soon?
A: I actually love San Diego, really love it; I like LA (Los Angeles) a lot for writing and stuff, but San Diego for me has always been like if LA had a bath.  I kind of feel like San Diego has a real cool vibe and I love it. I’ll come back whenever.
So definitely coming back?
Yeah, a 1000%.

Q: In the Future what should we expect from you as a producer and vocal artist?
A: There is an album coming, I’m not sure of the exact time it’s coming out. We originally said- summer, as in this summer, but I just want to make it right. I’m chilling; I don’t need to prove anything just yet. Over here people still don’t really know me, so I’m just building my presence here and trying to get that to the level where I am in the UK. Once everyone is in the same place then I reckon the album will come out.
So you’re just building a following, like you said?
Yea, over here ( the USA). I could put it out in the UK, but I feel like I would be letting down people here. I think the time just has to be right for everyone to be into it at the same time.
So look out for an album?
An Album, obviously more singles, remixes; there is a track with me and Born Dirty which is coming out at Dim Mak in a month. All I’m going to say is it’s not my usual role, that’s all I’m going to say.
So not as much R&B and House?
No, like as in what you think I did on that track, rethink. As soon as you think you know what I did on that track think again. Because I guarantee, you won’t be correct your first guess.

Q: Lastly, for all our listeners what is the best way to find the latest on Shift K3Y?
A: At the moment, Spotify is where I’m directing everyone. It makes more sense in Europe and the UK for me: obviously Soundcloud, my website shiftk3y.com, twitter, Facebook, all that stuff, but Spotify and Soundcloud.

There was a sense of ease with which Shift K3Y spoke; an ease that comes not from knowing all the answers, but from being in the heart of the process. And it shows, since KSDT’s interview with Shift K3Y in June, he has put out his remixes EP Misbehave with Born Dirty, and another EP of his own called Off the Record. For more on the up-and-coming artist Shift K3Y, from songs to tour dates check out the links below.

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Links & Sites:
Spotify: smarturl.it/SKSPOTIFY?IQid=sc
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/shift-key
Website: www.shiftk3y.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shiftk3y
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shiftk3y

Mentioned Singles & EPs:
Shift K3Y – Touch (Single): https://youtu.be/9KtYYHKEGDc
Shift K3Y & Born Dirty Dim Mak Records – Misbehave (Remixes EP): https://soundcloud.com/dimmakrecords/sets/shift-k3y-born-dirty-misbehave
Shift K3Y- Off the Record (EP): https://soundcloud.com/shift-key/sets/off-the-record

 

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Photos / @shiftk3y / Interview / Susan Bystrom / Audio Record / Zane Samarasinghe

8/19/2015