Ask anyone in touch with the current state of house music and the name Kyle Watson is bound to surface with excitement. Over the past two years, the South African DJ & Producer has become infamous for his unmistakable sound and style amongst American house lovers, with many foreseeing him to be a future heavyweight of the genre. Now kicking off his first ever headline U.S. tour, the hype seems to be coming to fruition as Watson is packing floors and gaining recognition all over the country. Ahead of his gig at U Street Music Hall this Thursday, we caught up with him to delve into his feelings on this milestone in his career, what fuels his creative process, and how other South African house artists are making their way into the conversation.
First off, Blisspop and D.C. would like to say welcome and congratulations on your debut headline tour of States! What does it mean to see the fans and support you have in this part of the world?
Thanks for having me!! Ah man, the love has been incredible. People have been asking me about a US tour for so long so it’s really good to finally get out here and meet the people!
Word has gotten out amongst the house heads of D.C. that your set at CRSSD Festival was the best of the entire weekend. What do you have in store for the nation’s capital? Is there a theme or focus on the approach to the music for you on this tour?
Wow, I had the best time at CRSSD so that’s awesome to hear. The whole idea behind The New Ground Tour is to focus on the fact that this is my first time here in the US, so I’m approaching my sets in a way that exposes the new music I’ve got coming out soon but also shows love to some of the older favorites of mine.
What’s one tune you most look forward to playing in your sets at the moment?
That’s a tough one because there’s a whole bunch, but out of all the reactions, I’d say “Road Trips” has been getting some of the best in the US so far. Saying that though, there’s a lot of unreleased music that’s also been going down!!
Any American food tried on tour thus far? What’s one underrated dish?
Banana pancakes are totally underrated! Your portion sizes here are crazy though I can’t finish a meal haha!
Dance music, and deep house, in particular, has seen a huge revival recently in EDM. With that said though, there seems to be a lot of neglect to the years pre-2008. What’s one classic record/song every house music lover of this new generation needs to dig up and let run?
Trouble Men ft Colonel Abrams – “In The Air”
Africa has a sound and love for dance music that often goes unrecognized in the larger scope of EDM. Who are some producers/artists from South Africa that deserve more recognition?
SA is booming right now in the scene thanks to guys like Black Coffee, who are pushing the Ibiza-friendly tech house and techno but still staying true to their SA roots. Da Capo is also making some big waves internationally all thanks to guys like Coffee who has opened doors for all of us. I think there will be many more breakout acts coming from SA soon.
Have you/will you ever play some Gqom (South African House) in your sets? If not, are there sounds from South Africa that you dig into otherwise?
Gqom is massive at the moment! I do like it in moderation, but I probably wouldn’t fit it into my sets, but there is definitely inspiration to be pulled from it. Most of the South African stuff I play is from the bassier side of the spectrum.
In the studio, what’s the best and worst part of the creative process? How do you know when one of your tracks are finished?
Is a track ever really finished?? I think it’s finished when you end up starting to make it worse instead of improving it. That’s when you know you have to stop!
The worst part of production work is creative block, luckily it doesn’t last forever but it’s terrible to go through. The best part I think is actually playing out something you’ve spent so many hours putting blood sweat and tears into and watching a crowd enjoy that. That’s definitely the most rewarding feeling I get.
Outside of music itself, is there anywhere else you find inspiration for your sound?
I wish I could say yes but thinking about it now all the inspiration I pull is from the music world, listening to a bunch of different music styles. Consciously at least, maybe touring, seeing new places and meeting new people adds to that inspiration but I’ve never actually noticed that.
Are there any current projects set to follow up or supplement the energy of this tour?
Absolutely! I’ve been working on a big project which is set to drop later this year, I can’t really share too much at this point but it should be surprising and exciting at the same time. On the performance front, I’ll be back in the US a few times this year, playing Electric Forest and a few other shows which I’m very excited to announce!
Kyle Watson continues his The New Ground Tour this Thursday, March 8th at U Street Music Hall. You can buy tickets here.