Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Interview: KAYT­RANADA talks Haitian Compas, EDM, 2014 on Noisey

Kaytranada must be shy. His headlining, sold-out show is in a few hours, but he's mostly quiet when we meet. I spotted his manager and him in their hotel lobby in downtown Toronto and, even after shaking hands, he hardly speaks until we get into his suite. For all the hype revolving around the gig, the artist and the music, I expected more, well, hype to be coming from him.

After all, this is Kaytranada (formerly known as Kaytradamus) the Montreal beat music producer and DJ from the Los Angeles label Huh What & Where. An artist who, two minutes into his NYC Boiler Room set last year, accosted the too-cool-to-dance audience, declaring “y’all motherfuckers better dance and shit, instead of bobbing your heads and staying on your goddamn phones.” His Soundcloud page is full of original music as well as signature bedroom-produced, bass-heavy remixes of Azealia Banks, Common, Busta Rhymes and Janet Jackson tracks - tracks that have racked up hundreds of thousands of plays. His seamless ability to patchwork hip-hop, disco, R&B and soul elements across an already-extensive body of work have garnered him some serious attention, including praise from the likes of Diplo, Drake and Mobb Deep.

The five-hour train ride in from Montreal must have left him fatigued. As we head into the suite, Kaytranada is wearing clubmaster frames, an old Raptors Starter jacket and a backwards baseball cap. I notice the liquor-filled fridge, candy bars and bags of chips in the suite’s cupboard, but instead he goes right for the mineral water. He pours a glass and mixes in an orange-flavoured sugar packet, the kind you’d find advertised on the inside fold of Chatelaine. “You gotta be healthy on the road man,” he says.

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