Kastle Talks Symbols Recordings and North America Tour with Bonobo
If you had the misfortunate of missing Bonobo's Miami performance last year, the UK electronica wizard is back at Grand Central on Saturday. Now while this gig comes as part of his current North America DJ tour -- meaning no awesome full-ensemble live show -- the show packs a very special punch with opening act Kastle, one of America's own electronic boundary pushers.
As DJ-producer and Symbols Recordings boss, Kastle (AKA Barrett Richards) is at the helm of the "Los Angeles beat" scene and some of the most innovative sounds in American future bass.
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Crossfade: R&B and soul are obvious reference points in your sound. What did you grow up listening to? Which artists, records or specific styles of music do your think were most formative for you when you began to produce music as Kastle?
Kastle: I fell in love with artists like Herbie Hancock and Run DMC as a kid. "Rockit" is burned into my brain as my first musical memory and it really set the bar for me. Have you watched the video lately? It's still amazing. I still listen to '70s and '80s funk and soul music all the time because it is so timeless. It is an essence that I want in my music.
Thanks to the homegrown Los Angeles beat scene, L.A. has emerged as a real hotbed of innovative left-field electronic music. How do you think living and working in L.A. has shaped you as an artist? Do you feel part of the scene there, as far as engaging with other local artists and bouncing ideas and influences back and forth with them?
I love L.A. because everyone is free to do whatever they want. I think there's a lot of mutual respect between labels, crews, event nights, etc., and everyone inspires each other to work harder. I've met a lot of cool people who, while we may not share exact similar interests, have a lot of great energy.
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You collaborated with Miami homeboy Austin Paul on a few songs off your last album. How did you hook up with Austin and what prompted you to want to work with him? What can you tell us about your chemistry and working with him in the studio?
We linked on SoundCloud and it happened pretty naturally. All the collaborations were done over the internet. Austin is an extremely talented artist and songwriter. I love his energy!
Considering the genre-defying output from Symbols Recordings, do you have some sort of concept or grand vision for the label? What is your criteria for selecting artists to sign and records to release?
Symbols is very much an extension of me. I've always felt compelled to share music that moves me. Even at a very young age, I was compiling mixtapes from the radio. It's a way to curate my own world. I definitely have a grand vision, which is always shifting and changing. You can expect Symbols to become more involved in other areas of interest, such as fashion, tech, science, different art mediums, etc. I don't want to limit the curation to only music.
How did you hook up with Bonobo for the current U.S. tour? Obviously, you are both artists who channel a multitude of stylistic influences through you own unique electronic production sounds. Do you feel an artistic kinship between yourself and Bonobo?
It happened very naturally, like all good things. I met him a couple years ago, when I was living in San Francisco and he was playing some of my music from the early Symbols releases. To be honest, I couldn't imagine a more perfect tour pairing. Simon [Green] has been a huge inspiration to me over the years as an artist, performer, and DJ. He has a very distinguished, timeless nature that I can only hope to cultivate as well.
So what can Miami expect during your performance on Saturday? What is your M.O. for this tour?
I will be DJing as well on this tour. I have lots of new original material by myself, as well as fresh remixes of Odesza, Banks, and Pearl.
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Bonobo North America DJ Tour with Kastle. Saturday, October 4. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $20 to $25 plus fees via ticketfly.com. All ages. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.
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