Kyle Watson Talks Dirtybird & His Love For Denver In iEDM Interview
Fresh from Dirtybird Campout, Kyle Watson is wrapping up his U.S. tour before heading back home to South Africa to get back in the studio to make more music.
He put out a full album called Into The Morning on Billy Kenny's This Ain't Bristol label and we highly recommend checking out this Mini Mix HERE. This year was huge for Kyle Watson as he got to rock festival stages like Electric Forest and Splash House.
He just played at Sound Nightclub in LA for the first time and said it was amazing and Saturday was his third time back in Denver. iEDM got to sit down with him before his set at Vinyl.
iEDM: Hey welcome back to Denver. I remember last time you played at Bar Standard!
Kyle Watson: This is the third time I'm back actually. The first time was Bar Standard, and second time was Beta. Now tonight, Vinyl.
But yeah, Bar Standard, and it was a Wednesday night or something. It was in the middle of the week. It was one of the best shows I've ever done. It was so cool, and the place was packed, and people went crazy. I've always liked coming back to Denver.
iEDM: You're fresh from Dirtybird Campout, What'd you think about that festival?
Kyle Watson: It was awesome. It was so good. It was my first time at Campout. Unfortunately, I didn't have like a lot of time to spend at the festival, so I didn't really get to experience everything.
But, from my set to the car, to the people to like just the general energy, was so nice. It felt like family vibes. It didn't feel like an office. It felt like everyone came together for the right reasons.
iEDM: Right, I agree!
Kyle Watson: And that was what was cool about Campout.
iEDM: Yeah, that's festival was super fun. Did you host bocce ball?
Kyle Watson: I hosted bocce ball.
iEDM: How did that go?
Kyle Watson: It was good. I had no idea how to even pronounce it, I was pronouncing it wrong.
iEDM: What were you saying?
Kyle Watson: I was saying batchi, but it's bocce.
iEDM: Haha that is funny.
Kyle Watson: Yeah. It was cool. They were like twenty, twenty-five people there, so it was good fun. It was cool.
iEDM: That's cool. So how did you meet the Dirtybird guys?
Kyle Watson: Justin actually came to play a show in Johannesburg, at my home club called Truth and that must've been, I don't know, seven years ago or something. And that was when I first met him. I've been following Dirtybird for quite a long time before that. They'd been like my sort of, idolized label. Like I always wanted to release on Dirtybird.
Kyle Watson: I never had a chance. We never had a lot of international acts to play. So we're lucky to get Justin actually.
So when I met him, I didn't even know he was into my music, but he gave me like this huge bear hug and said, "What's up? I love your music." And I was like, "WHAT?" There I am.
iEDM: That's cool. That's a good feeling.
Kyle Watson: And like the rest just kind of went from there. I gave him a flash loaded with a bunch of music and ...
iEDM: Hell yeah, that's awesome. Now you got to go and their festival.
Kyle Watson: Yeah, its so cool.
iEDM: I would say that the This Ain't Bristol sound fits that sound a lot. So, how did you get connected with Billy Kenny and those guys?
Kyle Watson: I'd been following Billy Kenny's stuff for a while before we connected. I think it was just over a message or something, like just over mail.
And he came a played a show in South Africa, we shared a bill. We shared the bill a couple times in South Africa and Muizenberg, which is right next door to South Africa.
So he hit me up when the whole This Ain't Bristol label started with Maximono, and I ended up releasing on their first sort of compilation solo. So like right from the beginning, I've been like apart of their releases, which is cool. Since then I've released a couple EPs, and obviously the album Into The Morning and stuff.
iEDM: Yeah, love that album.
Kyle Watson: Thank you.
iEDM: Do you have a favorite track on it?
Kyle Watson: Nope.
iEDM: No? Too hard to pick one?
Kyle Watson: It's like, so the thing about that album is everything, every track is ... means something different to me.
Kyle Watson: So like, they're all cool to me in their own way. Its really hard selecting just ten house tracks that I put together.
Kyle Watson: I put like a ton of effort into each track to making sure that it was as good as it could be, so like each little piece of the track has got something special I think. I definitely couldn't pick a favorite.
iEDM: Yeah, there's more layers to it then just house music too, which is one thing that I love about it. I read that you have a history in classical music. What instruments did you play?
Kyle Watson: I played the piano for about eight years. I started when I was pretty young and I gave it up ironically, cause I just stopped enjoying it. Stopped enjoying the process of like music class and everything, which is kind of strange, considering.
Kyle Watson: I started playing piano when I was really young.
Kyle Watson: So, sort of growing up with music. It's one of my loves.
iEDM: It's probably helped you a lot with your production.
Kyle Watson: It's helped a ton. Now anyone can kind of make music. You don't necessarily have to have that background. But it's really good to have it.
Kyle Watson: So I'm really lucky to have that.
iEDM: Right, you understand notes.
Kyle Watson: Exactly. Exactly.
iEDM: Its good. So how did you start making electronic music?
Kyle Watson: My father bought like a really simple piece of software where all your music was kind of made already. You just had to kind of put them together into a full song.
Kyle Watson: And so that I was kind of like my first experience into production.
Kyle Watson: With electronic music. And then I kind of started listening to mixed CDs, like mixed compilations and then I found beat boards. It was like blowing my mind cause now I found proper club music. I found proper club music and for me, I was able to actually start following artists and it all kind of went from there.
iEDM: Cool and then you played ... what was your home club called?
Kyle Watson: Truth. Truth in Johannesburg.
iEDM: Cool. Do you still play there a lot?
Kyle Watson: Yeah, yeah. I'm based in Johannesburg most of the time.
Kyle Watson: Like ninety percent of the time, I'm there. I'll play at Truth like once a month and its sort of the main club in Johannesburg that keeps bringing international acts. It's been consistently going for like 18 years, I think now.
iEDM: That's awesome. South Africa is somewhere I've wanted to check out. What is the scene like there? In comparison to the U.S. scene?
Kyle Watson: Its good. Its pretty strong. I mean, we ... the nice thing about South Africa is that everyone, at least in the bass house scene is very supportive of each. A lot of the South African guys are playing South African music. There's a ton of guys writing music which is quite nice cause we're all like feeding into this scene.
Kyle Watson: The tricky thing is though because we're far away from the rest of the world, its hard to get people influential, international, and its very expensive for us to get them here.
Kyle Watson: To South Africa. I would say its cool, but it still has quite a lot of room to grow.
iEDM: I would say besides you, my favorite is GoldFish.
Kyle Watson: Oh, yeah?
iEDM: You've remixed some of their songs before, haven't you?
Kyle Watson: Yeah, the funny thing is the first contact we had was for a remix competition. It was like way early in my career and I just did a remix on it and send it to them and they ended up choosing it as the winner, which was pretty amazing.
iEDM: Cool, I didn't know that.
Kyle Watson: Yeah, that was our first sort of connection.
Kyle Watson: And then over the years, they approached me with more remixes and anything, so we kind of kept in touch. Wanna see what's the latest one is a little bit different. It was ... no one estimate.
Kyle Watson: But I remix like a sort of daunting house track.
iEDM: Okay, cool. So have you, you guys haven't made music together, have you?
Kyle Watson: No, it's harder because they don't live in South Africa anymore. But, I mean, with the internet now, you can do that easy, without a problem.
iEDM: That's very true. So do you have any other collaborations coming out or that you've been working on?
Kyle Watson: No collaborations actually, but I've been on a few remixes that will be out pretty soon.
Kyle Watson: And obviously the one for Zhu that came out a little while ago. And I got a couple more that I need to start when I get back to South Africa. But, no collaborations really. I think what I kind of want to do for the rest of this year, is get those remixes out and then work on a couple more EPs.
iEDM: Cool. And then you just recently did a bunch of U.S. tour stops. What are some of your favorite spots in the U.S. to play?
Kyle Watson: Denver!
iEDM: You do love Denver!
Kyle Watson: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's no secret! I'll tell everyone that now. Denver's amazing. Obviously, my last show in L.A. It was my first time here and it was amazing. It was a sell out show. It was amazing. So that was pretty cool. Arizona's also so amazing. So Denver, Arizona, and L.A. yeah, Phoenix.
iEDM: Phoenix is pretty fun. They have some cool clubs out there. So what's on your music playlist right now? Like if you were in the car and you had to turn on some music, what would you put on?
Kyle Watson: People would be interested. Its not a lot of house music at all. So when I'm driving around and just listening to stuff, its anything from Rock to old Missy Elliot. I don't really listen to a ton of house music when I'm not playing or like looking for music and stuff.
iEDM: I would say I don't that much either. I think I listen to it at clubs, but it's not what I usually would put on in the car.
Kyle Watson: Its like there's a time and a place for it. Before I used to listen to it all the time.
iEDM: You're around it so much too, you probably need some other beats.
Kyle Watson: Yeah, exactly. And there's not much good stuff out there. Like I can listen to Rock for days.
Thank you Kyle Watson for taking time before your set to chat with us! Follow him on SoundCloud HERE to keep up with those remixes to come!
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Banner photo credit: @tyeidelman