Radio 1s Kissy Sell Out - DMC World Network

Radio 1’s Kissy Sell Out

Before we speak to the main man, here are some words from his manager, a young lady doing it for herself in what is suddenly coming a women led industry. Over to you Claudia Avila-Batchelor…

Radio 1s Kissy Sell Out - DMC World NetworkBefore we speak to the main man, here are some words from his manager, a young lady doing it for herself in what is suddenly coming a women led industry. Over to you Claudia Avila-Batchelor…

“There are some people that come in to your life who are so uniquely special that it makes you believe in magic. Kissy’s talent is driven by an insanely prolific creative streak, composer-like musical ear and the fact he simply looks at things in a different way. There are no rule books for him which gives him a distinctive sound/look/life. Be it producing, writing, DJing, painting, A&Ring, broadcasting or designing, he puts his heart and soul into everything he does – and as a manager I can’t ask for more. As a friend he has grown from a lost and shy boy into a confident and strong man, being there for me through every crazy episode of my life. He is fiercely loyal to those around him and loves with the passion that binds all aspects of his world. In spite of ever growing success he also remains kind and level headed…this is why he is such a superstar- its not about his profile, it’s simply about him being a wonderful and inspirational human being who just happens to
be supremely talented.”

Hi dude. Welcome to the DMC family. You’ve had a fabulous five years since bursting out on to the scene, a new album ‘Wild Romance’ smashing it up. So what or was it that inspired you to get into DJing in the first place?

“The magical moment for me was when I walked into the house area at my school aged 13 and heard a United Dance DJ Hype CD booming through the speakers. Then when I got hold of the CD it had a photo of a guy standing over two old-fashioned record players and I was immediately enchanted by the idea of this wicked music being mixed together on something that I knew so little about. I remember I managed to get two second hand decks by washing the neighbours’ cars and then I sat in my bedroom for 2 days transfixed by the turntables until I could mix records together myself. I’ve had DJ Hype on my Radio 1 show twice now which has been quite surreal!”

How did the name come about?

“The name is a long story! While growing up none of my friends were interested in the same music as me (which I think made me all the more obsessed with dance music!) so whenever I played my tunes to my mates on their Essex-boy car stereos they’d politely listen but usually say something like “yeah, that’s great…err can I put my R Kelly CD back on?” so I got used to keeping my music to myself from then on.”

What sort of artists/music genres were you listening to as a kid?

“Because records were so expensive, I got most of mine from either my mum, second-hand bins or from charity shops. This meant I got into mixing random genres of music and developed a particular love of 80s goth music by Swans, All About Eve, The Cure etc… I had a nightmare a few times when I was younger that I was in a horror film called “Kissy”. I thought it was especially scary because the word didn’t really mean anything. Years later, I got into a posh London art college called Central Saint Martins where I became an 11.5/10 at using Photoshop but also deallusioned with any career in graphic design as I hadn’t met one other person who shared my live of music and record covers. When I wrote what would later become the first Kissy Sell Out record called “HER” (a sqeulchy goth-electro track kinda like Swans remixing Tiefschwarz) as a final attempt to make a great dance tune of my own, I was so convinced that the people around me wouldn’t like it that I n
amed it “Kissy” as I was facing my fears,  and “Sell Out” because selling-out was the absolute opposite of what I was doing. I hoped it would soften the blow when nobody liked my music because I was the first person to slag it off. Although it gets a bit dull telling that story all the time I’m very proud of it’s meaning. It’s a constant reminder of where I’ve come from and how lucky I am to be experiencing my dreams come true.

You hail from Colchester but quickly escaped to study Grapic Design at St Martin’s College of Art in London – did those years there help you in your later music career in any way?

“It’s a handy skill in the music industry being able to do all your own artwork, I do absolutely everything related to my San City High record label and my own album art, website, etc… It’s cool doing all that alongside an international DJ career but I often wish I had more time to spend on things. I’m at a stage now where I can make a banging track in a day but it takes a week to make a banging piece of artwork?! I’m super proud of my Wild Romance cover.”

So  ‘Wild Romance’ – for those who haven’t picked the album up yet, talk us through the album, what are the highlights?

“Hopefully the whole thing is a highlight! Wild Romance marks a big step in my life it represents a new found confidence. No matter how full of character my previous music has been, it’s only now that I feel like I know where I fit in with regard to dance music. I’ve learnt that having a solid sense of identity is very important as an experimental musician. You need to understand the dynamics of your own writing in order to make it resonate with other people – which is afterall, the most important element of DJing. Half of my new album is dramatic and complex melodies performed on classical instruments but, perhaps most crucially, the other half is upfront post-modern speed garage basslines which hopefully translate the madness into something danceable!”

You’ve presented over 100 Radio 1 shows, for some kid who’s been living on Mars, sum up what you do with your weekly forays into electronica…

“I think the thing to bear in mind with the Kissy Klub is that you’re listening to a radio show put together by a music producer who, no matter how musically obsessed, never expected to ever get an opportunity such as a weekly BBC Radio 1 show to hundreds of thousands of people! I’ve always treated every show like my last and I’ve always been very insistant on hosting the show around the people listening. I’d hope that it’s the devotion to the audience that kerps my listening figures rising because it’s the lifestyle aspect of my show that contrasts with most other dance shows. Oh and I play a lot of remixes of classical music too…or remixes of anything in whole world as long as you can dance to it! Everything is produced by myself specifically for the show including the little stories at the start of the show with the talking computer voices. My favourite is the one when Pamela met Bill & Ted!”

Has your show helped your musical direction progress in any way?

“Absolutely! It’s been like a publically broadcast practice session for my new album every week!”
What new talent have you discovered recently who we should be looking out for?

“Dillon Francis, Botnek, UNION, Terravita & Ado have all smashed it with San City High remix packages recently.”

What is the most extravagent item you have ever bought yourself?

“I tend not to buy big things for myself unless it’s for my something for my studio. Although, I’ve bought a fair few fake flowers in my time! When your job involves travelling the world so often it can get quite depressing when you come home to dead plants, so I’ve raided the fake flower section in Ikea many times now!”

Best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

“There are several nice nuggets I’ve been told over the years which become little core beliefs. I’ve been told “you are only as good as your last show” a few times, which I think is an important way to carry yourself in this game. I also remember Linus Loves from Breastfed telling me that “you can only ever disapoint a fan”. That may sound a bit negative but I think it sums up how important it is to be respectful to your audience and always remember where you came from. It’s the people in the crowd at Kissy gigs that have got me here so they are the most important people in my life.”

Who are your DJ pals at Radio 1 – also whose shows do you respect?

“I’ve got a lot of respect for all the specialist shows. I like trading extreme song choices with Rob Da Bank and Daniel P Carter sometimes because my mixing style means my track selections have more in common with the non-dance shows sometimes. I’m also very fond of the Judge Jules show because he’s still as passionate about new dance music as he’s always been. He also regularly feeds tracks from new producers into his sets to push the music forwards which I think is the most important thing you can do when you host a specialist radio show. I don’t have much in common with the daytime shows but me and Chris Moyles have become good mates after our bizarre a-list celeb filled charity show earlier this year. Scott Mills also is a very sweet guy, it turns out his production team listen to my radio show quite often so they’ve always been very welcoming and friendly to me.”

What’s the best record you have ever made?

“Well for me it’s my new album for sure. Previously it was my track “Harriet” or my All Saints remix which happened much earlier in my career so it’s nice to feel this way about some new material.”

And also, what one record do you wish YOU had made?

“Well although I feel inclined to say something like  ‘Small Hours’ by John Martyn, ‘Theme To Wide Angle’ by Hybrid, ‘Her’ by Swans or ‘Teen Age Riot’ by Sonic Youth, I don’t really think I’d love those tunes as much if I had been part of it. I am, and will always be, a massive fan or other peoples music. The more of my music idols I meet, the more I feel like I’d prefer to be a fan on the outide of the bubble rather than having a more objective perspective from the inside.

Who would be a dream collaboration to make music with?

“Well bearing in mind the answer to my last question, it’s not really an aspiration of mine because I like being on a lower level than my idols, but one of the things I enjoy most about San City High is getting involved in projects with new artists because I love the raw excitement of new music.”

You have travelled the word with your music– which country do you always enjoy returning to and what’s the best club you’ve ever played at?

“It sounds like a crap answer but there are so many places I’ve been lucky to play it’s impossible to pick one. It’s the crowd that make a great event you see, so sometimes it’s the most unexpected or the smallest clubs which provide the best memories or have the best feeling of community. I love the Belgian festivals because they are so damn big! Melt festival in Germany is also a beautiful thing to be part of. My first few Australian gigs at Field Day and Summer Field Day are still some of my best memories because I was DJing to 20,000 people in the blazing sunshine alongside my favourite electro artists. In Britain, I’m still a big fan of Sankeys in Manchester and Glasgow’s Arches.”

What’s your guilty pleasure record?

“Mac Band ‘Roses Are Red’ or Kenny Loggins ‘Playin With The Boys’.”

Biggest disaster whilst DJing?

“There ain’t nothing funny about power cuts when your DJing! Breaking decks has become quite common in my DJ sets oddly. I think it’s often because smaller clubs aren’t used to being asked for 4 CDJs in the booth which means they borrow their mates’ decks which freak out when I start all my double-dropping and rewind business!”

Which festivals can we catch you at this Summer – what are you looking forward to?

“I’m looking forward to Creamfields, Wakestock and all my Ibiza dates the most right now.”
Tip for this Summer’s dancefloor anthem?
“Probably something by Dillon Francis. I also think Herve’s ‘Together’ deserves to be a big hit too, as the guy has done so much underated stuff – it’s about time a Herve tune went stratospheric!”

“Thank you for having me peeps DMC!”