Kyle Watson Talks Music, Touring The US, And More [Interview]

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Kyle Watson is a force to be reckoned with. Hailing from Johannesburg in South Africa, the DJ/producer has debuted music on Dirtybird Records, This Ain’t Bristol, Box of Cats, Heldeep Records, and more. His eclectic house music packs a punch with a wide variety of distinct elements that make Watson an aficionado of sorts. The success of his Road Trips EP, massively popular single ‘Don’t Talk‘, and countless impressive remixes show that he is on his way to the top.

Having just landed from playing a show in Seattle, Kyle Watson arrived in San Francisco this past Saturday with only a short amount of time before he made his debut in the foggy city at Halycon. We were lucky enough to chat with him and get to know house music’s next big thing a little more.

Can you tell us how you got your start making music?

When I was young my parents convinced me to take up music at school. I did that for most of my school years, learning music theory alongside playing the piano. So when my father got me a copy of my first music making software I had a solid foundation and started writing house music.

So you’re classically trained in music- can you tell us a little about that? Do you play any other instruments?

Yes, I’m lucky that I have that background, it really is super important. Nowadays even though you don’t need to know music theory it makes a huge difference. And yep, I can play the drums as well!

How do you feel that your music stands out? Do you have a secret ingredient to your music that you consider a signature touch?

I get asked this a lot and it’s tough to answer because I can’t really put my hands on what makes it different! I guess my music theory background helps differentiate my stuff because I always try to incorporate some kind of clever melody/chords. People have also told me that my basslines are unique because I use a type of call/response technique with them, almost playing the different sounds and patterns off of each other.

Now that you’re embarking on your debut US tour, where is the next place you want to play that you haven’t yet?

Well, I’ve got Croatia coming up which I’m really looking forward to playing! Other than that I’d love the chance to play at Fabric in London. That’s bucket list stuff right there.

What is the most rewarding thing about making music, and the most challenging?

The most rewarding thing is easily the feeling of watching people out there on the dancefloor actually enjoy what I put hours and hours into making. The most challenging thing I think is keeping it fresh, moving forward but still staying true to yourself and your fans.

After watching your set at CRSSD and at the This Ain’t Bristol after-party, your relationship with TAB- especially with Billy Kenny- seems pretty close. How did this evolve?

Billy is a legend! I’ve known him for a few years now, since before TAB. We’ve shared the bill a few times around the world, including South Africa. I actually released on TAB’s first ever record so the label has been an important part of my growth as an artist over the last few years and I’m happy to be associated with the crew.

Any artists you’d like to collaborate with in the near or far future?

I’ve always said I’d love to work with Justin Martin!

When was the last time you were a fan in the crowd instead of behind the decks? Any concert experiences come to mind?

This had to be a few weeks back. It was my 30th birthday, and we decided to go out after the celebrations. It was awesome because I hardly ever end up going out if I’m not playing a show, and I had the best time!

Where do you draw the most inspiration from?

Other music, mostly different genres (especially rock believe it or not)! I listen to a bunch of different stuff, and taking techniques and tricks from that music, twisting it and incorporating it into my music always shows some interesting results

As his debut US tour comes to a close, Watson leaves us only wanting more as he jets off to play scattered shows across South America. His live set was exemplary and easily one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. His natural charisma and classic talent is setting him on a path towards success. Stay tuned for more from Watson in 2018!