South Africa is one of those weird places that has an extremely vibrant culture, but for some reason is rarely talked about in the electronic music world. There are great clubs, and great artists, but they all seem to be overlooked. Until today that is. On Saturday 17, we return to our San Francisco home of Halcyon, to welcome one of South Africa's finest talents, Kyle Watson. Ahead of his performance, we thought we'd get to know him a bit, and he's been kind enough to give us an exclusive mix to top it off.
First off, a massive thank you for taking time to do this interview, we’re excited to get to know you some more. Where are you from Kyle?
I’m from a city called Johannesburg in South Africa.
Tell us about your upbringing. How did your surroundings shape who you are both as a person and musically?
I was always surrounded by great music growing up (thanks to my parents) so I was exposed to a lot of different genres and styles when I was young. They both convinced me to take up music at school. My dad was a record producer at the time, he owned a record label and publishing company that focused on local stuff here so he got me into the whole production side of things. SA is a diverse nation with a diverse music industry, everything from gospel to township-based music, pop and everything in between so the influences come from many different places.
If you were to describe your music in one word, what would it be?
What sort of sandwich would best be eaten whilst listening to your music?
I’d say beef. Maybe a ‘club’ sandwich? Now I’m just imagining a club full of people getting down to Pop Up throwing sandwiches around. Beef, beef everywhere.
Tell us about your studio setup? What DAW are you using? Favorite plugins or hardware?
I have a simple setup, no outboard/analogue gear at all. The room is small and doesn’t have the best acoustics, but to be honest, if you can trust your ears you can make music anywhere. I’ve been using Cubase for pretty much a decade, and always dig into the Waves analogue modeling plugins to give my music more warmth and depth.
Do you have any strange rituals before, after, or during a session?
I don’t really have any rituals but I am a bit OCD. I’ll label all my channels in colours that represent the sound. Drums and red, basses are blue, etc. Drums go out the top of the sequencer, vocals at the bottom… I always try to keep all my sounds and synths organized, maybe some would say it’s a bit much!
What does a typical day look like when not in the studio or on the road?
I’m actually a video editor as well, so when I’m not writing or touring I’m doing that.
Any hobbies you enjoy?
Honestly, my life is pretty busy so any downtime I get I usually just want to kick back and relax with the wife!
What is your favorite film? And film soundtrack?
Tough to pick a favourite film, but without a doubt, my favourite soundtrack is from Interstellar. Hans Zimmer is a proper G, anything the dude does is golden.
Thanks for giving us this exclusive mix. Is this a taste of what’s to come at Halcyon SF?
Pretty much, this is the kind of stuff I’ve been enjoying lately, plus a few sneaky originals. Definitely just a half hour taster, there’s plenty more where this came from! I’ve been very busy in the studio this year and I can’t wait to show you guys when I’ve been writing.
Seeing as this is your first time playing in San Francisco, how are you feeling going into this headlining a show at Halcyon?
I’m so excited for this show, really I think it’s going to be one of the highlights of the run. I’ve heard amazing things about Halcyon and people have been messaging me for years asking for me to come to SF. I’m finally coming!!
Give us one word which describes what we should expect from you?
For tickets, click here.
For other Halcyon events, click here.