Huge new ‘The Price of Nonconformance’ album from the man from Detroit
Interview by Rob Chadwick
The Price of Nonconformance. It’s not exactly your average LP title, is it? But then Keith Worthy has never been your average DJ/producer. Outspoken but more than talented and intelligent enough to back up his views, Worthy is the sort of individual whose candid interviews are just as fascinating and multi-layered as the music he makes. So with that in mind, there’s never been a better time to chat to him, what with the aforementioned debut album having just hit the shelves. And what an album it is too. As we anticipated, it’s a hypnotising mesh of sculpted and refined analogue sounds with a timeless sound at its core, and one that emphasises the man’s knack for straight-up jams, not to mention his increasing appeal as a producer of some renown. Here’s what happened when we caught up with him recently to get the lowdown on a debut LP that we’ll be reaching for long into 2015…
Tell us about your new album, the concept and what you tried to achieve?
“On ‘The Price of Non Conformance’ I basically did some soul searching and recorded some of the moods that I get into. The spirit of the album challenges the status quo and celebrates individualism.”
Was the dance floor in mind when you wrote the LP? Or is it more about representing your city, Detroit?
The dancefloor is always my focus…without the dancefloor then why would any of us do this? Detroit is always in me…I grew up here so of course it comes out in my productions. Visually, I’d like to think that I’ve taken you for a ride in my car while driving through the D on some of these pieces.”
What makes that city so great for you, why do you stay when so many leave, does it still inspire and influence you?
“Regardless of where you live, you can certainly find both good and bad anywhere…so living here works for me, and as far as “what everyone else is doing”…that never factors into my decision making process.”
Is it a blessing or a curse being from Detroit? Do you feel a sense of history weighing heavy on your shoulders? Do you get bored of the expectations people have of Detroit producers?
“No weight at all, no pressure at all, and I don’t care to meet anyone else’s expectations, hence the title of my album. Also Detroit is my physical zip code, and I don’t ever feel a need to defend that…but mentally I live wherever I want to…”
Who was the album written for – you, an imagined audience, the dance floor or someone else?
“The album is written for people who gravitate towards a deeper edgier sound, and also for peeps that get down a little differently than possibly their next-door neighbour does.”
Tell us about your label Aesthetic Audio – what is the aesthetic of it and what sort of artist do you look to release on the label?
“Aesthetic Audio is a conduit for people who see and hear the world differently. There are absolutely no rules in fact the deeper and the more abstract the better …”
What have been the most important lessons you have learned in your time as a DJ and producer, and what is the best advice you have ever received? Have there ever been times when you have wanted to give up?
“I’ve learned that you cannot always listen to outside opinions when it comes to managing your own personal passions, and that if everyone else is doing it …then you should probably go in the other direction.”
How do you think you ended up with the deep sound you did – what were the key things, events, clubs, parties, albums that have musically formed you and your tastes over the years, do you think?
“Musically I was impacted by deep house as well as techno, and although I detest being labeled, I would say that I’m somewhere in between…let’s call it hecno!”
Tell us a bit about your recording process – do you just sit and play and experiment or record live or are you a big planner, a meticulous craftsman who is always tweaking and editing what you have made?
“I sit and experiment and yes, I am always tweaking and editing.”
How did you know when the album was finished, do you have anyone you play it to for feedback or is it all of your own back?
“Funny, I did not play it for anyone before I pressed it…my close friends in the biz probably think that I’m weird, and maybe I am, but it just happened this way.”
What is the message you mainly try and convey in your music, your DJ sets and so on? Do you want to educate, entertain, edify audiences or…?
“When I am DJing or producing, my focus is only on passionately contributing to the genre as those who came before me have impacted my life! As far as music goes … in my humble opinion my advice is to always be an original, passionate, and have fun or leave it alone! There are already enough bad examples out there.”
Keith Worthy’s ‘The Price of Nonconformance’ is out now on Aesthetic Audio