With a host of floor smashing releases and a forthcoming track on Metalheadz Genesis II EP, we thought it was about time we caught up with producer virtuoso and Qilin label boss Kiat…
1. Since releasing your collaboration with S.P.Y. "Close Encounters" on Marcus Intalex's Soul:r label in 2008, you have enjoyed a steady but sure rise through the drum & bass ranks. How have you found the transition?
Being based in Singapore, Asia, I wouldn't be exposed to the ranking system of the drum & bass world. I am just pretty glad that the headz are enjoying the music that comes out. The most important thing isn't the transition but forging relationships with other like minded individuals as well as consistently pushing my personal creative boundaries.
2. Your sound has been described as "deep grooves behind warm detroit synths and dubby bass lines". Who are the influences behind your sound and how does your creative process work?
I think my influences are quite wide ranging. Having been on this earth for a while, I've been fortunate enough to experience hip hop when it first started right through to electronic music as it is today. Personally for me, the music that I make is usually drawn from what I'm feeling in the studio during that particular instance. Even simple things like the sun being out could affect the music that is created at the particular time. I think the creative process for me has always been about being open to new ideas and influences. When I was still experimenting with new ideas, I always treat the studio session like an art session where I just take out some paint, a blank canvas and see what happens. Since last year, I've been approaching music making the way I would see a scene in a film, trying to create a mood or a space in the audience's mind using a sonic palette. For me, it's always been about THE PROCESS.
3. You're based in Singapore and enjoy pioneer status in South East Asia. Are we going to be seeing you in the UK any time soon?
I did use to travel quite a bit to play in the UK and Europe years back when I started putting music out but recently, I've been going to New Zealand the last few tours as I've built a great circle of friends over there, as well as the fact that I enjoy the space as I don't handle crowded places very well. I do have plans to visit the UK next year but I think I would like to expand my music arsenal before I head back to the UK. It's really important for me to showcase a different side of the music as I don't think there is any point in me playing the same music as every other DJ plays.
4. You're heavily involved with the Qilin label. Can you give us the low down on its ethos and aims?
The Qilin label was started with the intention of showcasing music that me and The Vortex (my label partner) enjoy. It doesn't matter if it's a tune from Sinistarr in Detroit, Muted in Iceland, or Mr Dymz in Indonesia… music is music. When you hear good music, it's all about you and the music. Nothing else matters… Not genres, race, etc. That has always been our attitude towards music. It's never been about what would sell or wouldn't sell. I think sometimes, we tend to over analyze music and try to rationalize within ourselves why this and why that… At the end of the day, it's like art, it means different things to different people. Our aim is to break down these mental walls we have about music and just share music that excites us.
5. What's coming up next in the world of Kiat?
Well, there's always a million and one things to do for me but at the top of the list right now is sorting out my studio so I can get back into the beats. Currently, I'm finishing off a tune with Digital featuring a vocalist from New Zealand called Isaac Aesili as well as other beats that we're working on that isn't drum and bass related... We're just concerned with writing music as opposed to anything genre specific. Besides that, there is a new night I'm involved in locally called Syndicate, which comprises of a music policy that ranges from experimental hip hop to dubstep to whatever beats that comes to mind... sort of like LA beats meets UK bass meets Singaporean efficiency in a chewing gum free environment. A lot of pre production goes into this monthly night which comprises of live sets alongside cutting edge visuals. Last but not least, I'm doing a live beats set at Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Festival held in Singapore as well as possibly another live drum and bass set for another night called +65 held at Home club which SPY will be in town for. So yeah, I'll be busy for quite a bit.