1: CEREAL CONNOISSEUR, LOVER OF ALL THINGS JAI WOLF
// Twenty-three-year-old, Agoura Hills local, Kyle Walker has a chiseled jawline.
3: MUSIC PRODUCER, LABEL SURFER
// Jauz, Drezo, BIJOU, Dr. Fresch, Noizu and Wuki are juiced up over Kyle Walker’s work.
// Kyle Walker has released bangers on BASSCVLT, Bite This!, Artist Intelligence Agency and Insomniac Records.
My best friend Brittany and I sat down for an interview with Kyle Walker at The Windy City’s North Coast Music Festival. We giggled about pouring milk into a breakfast bowl while drunk, why possessing chutzpah trumps all, what’s cooking in his makeshift studio and plenty more.
Frosted Flakes over everything?
With Frosted Flakes, you can’t go wrong. It’s always going to be good no matter what. It’s comforting; it’s a nice snack to fall asleep to.
Even better than cake?
Cake, cupcakes, pie—I’m not with. It’s the frosting. It makes me sluggish and not want to do anything. If it was just the bread part, I’d think it was bread. Then, we’d be good.
How have your musical preferences evolved over the past eight years?
I’ve moved on from that G-house, bass house kind of stuff and more into tech house—I guess everyone is; it’s in style right now. I used to make dubstep a long-ass time ago. As I’ve grown, I’ve become more of a house head. It’s hard not to like it. I don’t think people even think of me as a tech house artist. In the future, I want to make hip-hop beats and score a film.
When did DJing and production come into the picture?
I wasn’t into music except listening to it in the car. I really got into it when I was at summer camp, and somebody threw on Bassnectar’s “Basshead.” I thought “What are these sounds coming out of the speaker? I need to learn how to do this.”
There was a wave of “dude, making electronic music is so easy.” Then, I thought maybe I should give it a shot. Then, I realized it wasn’t easy at all. You have to have a thing for it and put your time in like everyone else.
How does isolation and/or socialization play a role in creating beats?
Nowadays, I am more by myself. Technically, I don’t have a studio. I’m in my parents’ family room/dining room. The kitchen’s off to my left and people are watching TV off to my right. I’m making music in the middle. I’m lucky to have really good parents that let me blast music and pursue my passion.
People who are assholes, typically don’t last. Everyone’s gotta like you, especially now. It’s 60 percent personality and who you know and 40 percent music. There are so many good producers. There are some people on SoundCloud you’ve probably never heard of; they’re killer producers but maybe don’t have a good personality or are a little bit shy. You have to get out of your comfort zone and try to connect with people.
On behalf of Chicago, welcome! How is The 312 different than Los Angeles?
Everyone in Chicago is super nice; they are out for other people in a good way. In LA, everyone’s more to themselves and more about themselves. Out here, it’s more midwest values, but you are in a city.
Not like it’s a big deal or anything, but we were at a Walgreens, and they were closing at 10 p.m. We were there until 10:30 p.m. The people didn’t care at all. If I was working there, I’d be like, “Get the hell out of my store. We closed 30 minutes ago. I want to go home.” They were super nice. They were like, “Do you need help with anything? Take your time.” Wow. In LA they would probably not even let you in the door at 9:50 p.m.
What were you purchasing at Walgreens?
We were getting White Claws, not for me. Um, I might have had a few, but they weren’t for me. Also, hard alcohol and the usual snacks. I can munch on some chips for a long time.
Randos were giving away free Cheez-Its at the festival gates.
You’re either with Cheez-Its or Goldfish, and I can eat more Goldfish than Cheez-Its.
Whole grain or regular?
Oh, regular. I’m not trying to be healthy when I’m eating Goldfish.
Describe your fast-approaching NCMF set. You’re warming up the stage for i_o.
A party vibe. I’m definitely going to go into the i_o-style of music. I just put out this remix of HVOB’s “2nd World,” which is a great original. I flipped it into a steady groover but still with a sentimental outro. You could end a set with it. You could bring down the level with it. It still has a big climax that everyone is looking for at a festival.
How was winning the Insomniac Discovery Project and EDMbiz’s 2016 A&R Competition a game-changer for Kyle Walker’s career?
I was at my community college at the time. They called me during class. I sent it to voicemail. They left a voicemail. Then, I got out of class and was like, “What just happened?” I was walking to my car, and I had to call them back. I started crying a little bit because it meant a lot, and they said to not worry because a lot of people cry. It made me feel a little bit better. Honestly, it’s just been music, music and music from thereon out. It feels like it was such a long time ago.
My manager at the time said, “This guy [BBC Radio 1’s Danny Howard] is humungous, and he digs your shit.” People I don’t even know, who are so big in the game, thinking that I’m going to be somebody; it’s a good feeling. It makes me want to work harder to get to where I want to go or where I want to be.
Where do you want to be?
Headlining. I want to be the best. I want to be headlining this festival next year. That’s the mentality I have, and that’s the mentality you have to have. It’s eat or be eaten. You have to believe in yourself and push yourself. You have to believe you’re the best or nobody will. Not to say that I’m the best, but I’m working towards it.
Kill Paris was super influential when I started, but now it’s changed into the Disclosures and even the Kendrick Lamars. This new dude, Channel Tres. He’s amazing. He has a different mixing style. He draws inspiration from James Brown and mixes it with what the house scene’s doing right now. He’s revitalizing something that was so amazing back in the day, but he’s making his own style: very vintage. My favorite song by him is “Topdown.” People don’t even know about him yet, still. He’s so ahead of his time. He’s going to be the Gallant of 2019. He’s got his shirt off, and he’s feeling himself. I love it!
Sum up Cruel Intentions in 10 or fewer words.
Tech house mixed with a darker, techno sound.
A little birdie told me that Kyle Walker is releasing a tune on Dim Mak’s sub-label New Noise.
I legit had zero intentions of releasing that song ever. I made it two years ago. Now, it’s coming out in October. They saw something in it. It’s on their New Noise label. It’s more of a chill vibe. You can sit in the car and listen to it. You could throw it on in the background while you are eating your Frosted Flakes, or you can play it at a festival. It has the potential to go off. It’s got consistent vocals. It’s a classic house song. It’s different than my other releases because there’s no big climax.
Usually, I use a reference track when I make music. I’m sure I referenced some Walker & Royce track for “Bricks.” For example, the song that I’m working on right now is a No. 1 on Beatport type of song. It references “The General” by Mark Knight, which has Spanish and African house samples.
It’s [tech house] the hot thing right now, so really anyone’s gonna jump on what’s hot. Not to say that Diplo’s a clout chaser, but he kind of is.
He built the clout.
Yeah! I’m super jealous of that guy because he’s always going to be killing it. People are going to shit talk him, but he doesn’t give a shit because that’s his style. I really respect him as a person. Well, maybe. I’ve never really met him, so maybe I don’t respect him as a person, but I respect him as a musician.
Devour Kyle Walker’s Cruel Intentions EP below.