Month In Dubstep Feature: Andrew Ryce talks with 18-year-old Detroit house producer releasing on Hyperdub this month

Interview: Kyle Hall


Detroit’s Kyle Hall is one of the most exciting artists around right now, in any genre and any region. Starting out with an EP released on Omar-S’ FXHE label and setting a gold standard through the last 2 years with his own Wild Oats label, Kyle Hall has an even more amazing year ahead of him, with releases on Hyperdub and Warp among others. His fluid style defies classification, navigating between classic house and techno, and he launched himself onto the UK bass scene with his beautiful remix of Darkstar’s “Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer” on Hyperdub last year. Hall took some time out of making his wonderful tunes to talk to us for an exclusive, in-depth interview.

onethirtybpm: You probably get this a lot, but how long have you been doing this?

Kyle Hall: I’ve been DJ’ing and making music since the age of eleven.

onethirtybpm: Who inspired you to start making music at such a young age?

Kyle: I can’t cite one thing or one person, but just listening to stuff made me want to attempt to make music.

onethirtybpm: Your first appearance on Hyperdub was the amazing remix of Darkstar’s “Aidy’s Girl’s A Computer.” How did that come about?

Kyle: The guy who offered it to me was Marcus from Hyperdub, who helps Kode9 run the label. He used to work for Warp Records, and I was going to send him some tracks for maybe an EP for Warp. He asked me If I was interested in doing a remix for Darkstar on Hyperdub and I was like ‘sure, why not.’ So thats how it happened. Funny now, because I have a remix coming out on Warp in April for the Hundred In The Hands.

onethirtybpm: Are you a fan of the current UK techno / bass music scene? What was it like putting out a 12″ on what’s considered one of the foremost dubstep labels?

Kyle: Yeah, I like certain artists and aspects of the UK bass scene, though a lot of it sounds like really lazy uninspired hoopla. But I love almost everything on Hyperdub. I like the Horsepower stuff, I guess older UK 2step bass music stuff. Martyn stands out for me, not only his music but lately he’s been sharing some good dubstep and UK bass with me that I haven’t heard before.

onethirtybpm: Was there any particular inspiration or theme behind “Kaychunk” / “You Know What I Feel?”

Kyle: I don’t know, I guess I have my own idea of how I want dubstep to sound and those tracks I made were what I would make dubstep sound like. I just made tunes in a context that is pleasing to my palette.

onethirtybpm: What does “Kaychunk” mean?

Kyle: I had this running joke with a friend of mine that dubstep music rhythms all sound like ‘kachunka-chunk.’ So when I made a dubstep track I was like ‘I’m calling it Kaychunk’ — the KAY = Kyle. So it’s kind of like me doing that music with my own flare.

onethirtybpm: Who’s inspiring you right now?

Kyle: Floating Points, Kaidi Tatham, Fatima, Dance Mania stuff, old deep house tunes, Space Dimension Controller, old Kalamazoo techno dudes like Jay Denham and Fanon Flowers.

onethirtybpm: Who are your musical ‘heroes’ or touchstones?

Kyle: My Mom, my Dad, and Omar-S.

onethirtybpm: Do you listen to non-‘electronic’ music and if so, who/what, and do they affect or influence your music at all?

Kyle: I listen to a little bit of non-electronic music. So much is really electronic music so it’s hard to say. I don’t listen to much classical. I listen to some indie acoustic guitar hipster shit now and then. Outside of that maybe some older jazz like Ahmad Jamal, Tribe, Bill Evans, Sir Roland Hanna.

onethirtybpm: Were there any particular dubstep producers, tracks or releases that you liked that made you interested in making things more in that vein?

Kyle: Yeah Martyn’s “Broken” was one. Floating Points’ “K&G Beat” / “J&W Beat.” Actually, a lot more of the old broken beat stuff inspires my dubstep. What I want from dubstep is a simplified, more bass-heavy, gritty, faster version of a good broken beat tune… If I were to describe my intent. I just like listening to stuff that challenges the genre and doesn’t make it so easy for motherfuckers. Some of the dubstep sounds just like shitty commercial Lil’ Jon crunk rap beats only with more weird shit in it… that stuff just doesn’t do it for me.

onethirtybpm: You’ve said that you’ve been exploring different genres recently, is there any genre or style you haven’t yet explored that you’d really like to release some tracks in?

Kyle: Maybe East Indian music and classical. Death metal of course. Ever since I saw that show Dethklok: Metalocalypse, I’ve been interested in it.

onethirtybpm: Do you think about specific tempos or genres when you make your tracks or do you just go with what feels right and deal with the result later?

Kyle: Sometimes I think about tempo when i make tracks, because a lot of the time tempo determines who plays what. With genre I tend to have a lot of overlap in style, I guess it might be based more on feeling when I’m making a track.

onethirtybpm: What do you use to make your tracks? Have you ever considered branching out to other methods?

Kyle: I use various things to make my track,s just depending on what mood I’m in or what I’m trying to accomplish. Hardware, software, DJ mixers, cassette tapes, FX racks, I use a combo of all those things and more when I make music. I’m always branching out looking for new ways to do things.

onethirtybpm: What kind of thing do your samples come from, or where do you get the ideas?

Kyle: All type of things, I just grab sounds that work. I get ideas from all kinds of mediums, from movies, records, equipment, to youtube videos.

onethirtybpm: Are you primarily a vinyl fan? What’s your opinion on digital release? (Yes, I am asking this because I can’t find a copy of “Dirty Thouz”)

Kyle: Yep, majority of the music I buy is vinyl. I play it I listen to it and sell it. I plan to sell my stuff digital somewhere in the future. I don’t have a problem with digital releases, I just don’t really buy them. It’s kind of annoying and boring to keep up with digital stuff. I much prefer records to digital files. Half the time when I get digital promos I don’t do anything with them but listen once, unless I really, really like it, then I might burn it to a CD.

onethirtybpm: Any plans for Wild Oats [Kyle’s own record label] to start releasing digitally?

Kyle: Yeah, probably on Bleep and some other places.

onethirtybpm: What’s your opinion on file-sharing? Do you think it’s too detrimental to the financial side of things or is it ultimately beneficial for artists and producers?

Kyle: I think it’s cool. I don’t have issues with it. My records still sell fine. To me right now, file sharing is too much to keep up with for an artist like myself. I’m really in love with my records so I spend a lot of time on Discogs, but the file sharing helps me hear samples of how records sound so I can buy the vinyl. File sharing does help promote artists, but it can also be overkill because there are so many digital artists that it becomes meaningless sometimes.

onethirtybpm: What are the future plans for Wild Oats — are you going to release music that you aren’t directly involved in or will it remain a primarily Kyle Hall venture?

Kyle: I don’t think I’m going to ever really do a entire release of someone else’s material on Wild Oats at this point. But who knows, the future might say different. I would like to release some stuff with Space Dimension Controller, but maybe on a new, separate imprint.

onethirtybpm: What’s your relationship with Omar-S? He’s been a huge champion of your music and you definitely have some sonic similarity — is he an influence on you or is it just likemindedness?

Kyle: Omar, he’s a cool guy. He’s both an influence and we share some similar ideas now and then.

onethirtybpm: You’re collaborating with the Irish techno producer Space Dimension Controller, who kind of seems like your UK equivalent — how did you end up meeting and working together?

Kyle: I hit him up through Mypace and told him I liked his EP. Then we just started chatting on AIM, trading tracks and stuff. We still haven’t met in person yet. But I really like what he’s doing, I just finished a remix that’s coming out on his Clone release.

onethirtybpm: Are there any other producers you’d like to collaborate with in an ideal world?

Kyle: Kaidi Tatham would be one. Lil’ Wayne, Warren Harris aka Hanna, Basic Channel, Penny Wells, Lady GaGa, Pharrell.

onethirtybpm: What about artists/tracks you’d like to remix?

Kyle: Jay-Z, Deadmau5, Mary Mary, Black Milk, Soulja Boy, Carl Craig, Tiesto. I’d like to reach other audiences.

onethirtybpm: Are there any other labels you’d really like to release on, now that you’ve been on Wild Oats, FXHE and Hyperdub?

Kyle: Yeah. Sound Signature, Stones Throw, Deutsche Grammophon, Universal…

onethirtybpm: Any word on your future plans (releases, remixes, etc.) aside from the Space Dimension Controller collaboration?

Kyle: NSNT Project… uh, and a bunch of other stuff, you will just have to see.

onethirtybpm: What’s your favourite release so far this year?

Kyle: My 12 On Hyperdub that’s coming out [March 15].

onethirtybpm: Favourite remix?

Kyle: Ollie Brook – “Into Your Dream (John Beltram Remix)” or Sebastian Tellier – “L’Amour et La Violence (Floating Points Remix)”

onethirtybpm: Favourite mix/compilation?

Kyle: Hmm, I don’t know.

onethirtybpm: And, I have to ask – “I <3 Dr Girlfriend" - is that a Venture Bros reference?

Kyle: Totally and completely a Venture Bros reference.

Kyle Hall’s release on Hyperdub is out this month and is available for purchase at Boomkat, Juno, and all the other usual suspects. His remix on Warp is due out in early April. You can hit him up on his myspace and listen to a recent promotional mix he did for Fabric.