Kyle Watson’s debut album, Into The Morning, outlined the mind of a diverse musical talent and expanded the South African producer’s sound well beyond anything he had produced in the ten years prior. While Watson had always been ahead of the curve and is arguably one of the architects of the current bass forward, tech-influenced sound that is dominating house music. His first attempt at a long-form work proved that he could express his artistic capabilities in many more meaningful ways. And now just less than a year from its release, he’s handed the reigns to a small collection of friends and family to reinterpret what This Ain’t Bristol calls “probably [it’s] most exciting release.”
Working in concert with his homies at This Ain’t Bristol, Kyle has selected a handful of current heavyweights to create a remix album that is nearly as diverse as the original. The lineup includes label co-founders Maximono and Billy Kenny as well as Bart B More, OMNOM, Hood Rich, Stace Cadet, Mark Milgraves, Zeal and Mat.Joe. Drawing heavily from the tastemaker label’s stable of innovative artists.
Into The Morning - The Remixes covers a lot of ground so we asked Kyle to pick out three of his favorite remixes and offer his thoughts on each. You can listen and buy the whole collection now from your favorite retailer/ streaming service. We also caught up with him to chat about the process of putting the original album together, how it felt to see the remix album come together, and what’s next for the South African scene.
Can you pick 3 remixes and tell us a little about each?
You Boy (Billy Kenny Remix)
The thing I love most about this remix is that peaced out buildup that starts from the first second of the track. Billy built the tension so well with that single pitched string note, and when it all finally kicks in it just slaps you in the face with this crazy weight and energy!
Control Ya (Bart B More Remix)
The thing I love most about this particular remix is that main buildup in the middle of the track. The way it drops in with that glitchy synth pattern and ravey stabs is just so effective and the tune just works so well in the second half of my sets.
Lights On (Zeal Remix)
The original is one of my personal top 3 tunes that I have produced, so I had high expectations for the remix. I'm a MAJOR fan of drum n bass, and we decided that the tempo changes in "Lights On" would work perfectly in this genre. Zeal did an amazing job on the remix here.
Those are just some of my favorites but honestly, the whole pack is so so strong, All the remixers just smashed it, and you can easily listen to it from start to finish without losing interest.
It’s been a year since you released your album “Into The Morning”. Do you feel like your approach to production and DJing has changed as a result?
I can’t believe it’s been a year already! I definitely think that after writing "Into The Morning" I definitely have become a bit more experimental in the studio, trying out different things and not necessarily limiting myself to what I’ve been familiar with in the past.
Was a remix album always part of the plan?
I think it was a given that the remix album would happen right from the start. Into The Morning is an eclectic album with very remixable tracks, and I was very excited to see how others would interpret my music off of it. Every artist on the record has exceeded my expectations. I have said in an earlier interview that I can listen to the whole package from start to finish and not get bored, so it’s been very exciting to hear my original ideas re-interpreted!
How did you go about selecting who would be good for remixing each song?
This was a very organic process between myself and This Ain’t Bristol. We both had our suggestions, so we put a wishlist together and started sending out the remix stems to the artists. Some we gave the choice to choose a track, others we selected particular songs for that we felt they would resonate with.
With artists like yourself, Das Kapital, and Black Coffee really beginning to dominate house music, where do you see South Africa going in the next few years as a destination for performers?
Firstly I’d really love to see more South Africans touring globally. There are local artists that are absolutely smashing it lately on a global level - Das Kapital being one of them – so I think the potential is there for touring on a bigger scale. Secondly, exciting things are happening in South Africa at the moment in the scene, with brands like Mixmag doing their Lab series here and great artists visiting our venues. I’d like to see that momentum keep up over the next few years.
How has becoming a touring DJ expanded your sonic palette?
Without a doubt, both on a production and a performance level. Since I started touring properly, I’ve noticed that my sets now have more depth and I find myself playing out records that I probably would have scrolled past before. I think it’s great to get that experience on a global level and take that back to your home country because it helps you as an artist and also helps the scene you go back to at the end of the day. It all feeds into the production as well and has helped me grow creatively as an artist.