Words: Miljan Milekić
When it comes to new and exciting names in the drum and bass scene, Kyrist is definitely the one you don’t want to miss out. With her dark and atmospheric sound, she’s taking over the stages all over Europe, and on December 1st, the crowd can see her co-headlining the Shuriken Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia.
This December, you will play your first show in Serbia, at Shuriken Festival. Are you familiar with the Drop Sensei Crew, and the festival, and what can we expect from your set?
Kyrist: Hi guys! I’m not familiar yet, but really looking forward to meeting the crew and being involved in the party! You can expect lots of rolling vibes, maybe a surprise or two thrown in. I won’t give too much away so just make sure you catch my set (laughs)
You live in Bristol, a city with a massive legacy in music and electronic music. How is it to live and make music in such a creative melting pot? How much did the city and its scene influenced you?
Kyrist: I really love this place. I feel more at home here than anywhere I have lived before. It’s great because there are lots of creative people close by wherever you go, lots of support and advice if you need it, etc. I think it has influenced me quite a lot, as there are so many events happening all the time; I get to hear lots of new boundary-pushing music, which sparks lots of new ideas for me. I always try to go out when I have a free weekend without playing my own shows.
You managed to build your style and quickly became known for your dark and gritty, tech-driven sound. Where does your inspiration come, and again, how much it has to do with Bristol?
Kyrist: I get asked this a lot. I’m not too sure, to be honest. It somehow just happens! I just know that I need to create an atmosphere and a theme within my music. I love the Ed Rush & Optical‘s ‘Wormhole’ album, and early 2000’s Konflict, C4C techy vibe. I guess I draw some inspiration from these guys but in a more minimal form.
You are one of the rare female DJs and producers in drum and bass today but looks like the situation is slowly getting better. Do you think your path was harder at the beginning, and how open is the scene for female artists? As a scene, I mean, crowd, promoters, and other producers.
Kyrist: I think it was pretty hard for me in the beginning, as being from a town and not a city, a smaller population means less parties and less people that are into underground music. But as time went on, and I decided to move to London for the university, it was easier for me to meet like-minded people. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play at Renegade Hardware a few times, and a few other events around the city. I can only speak from my own experience, and since working my way up the musical ladder over the years, I think I have gained people’s respect, as they know I’m serious about forging a career in this scene. To be honest, this scene needs more females writing music, and I don’t know why there are so few of us.
You started this year by releasing an EP on Dispatch, making yourself the first female producer on a label. How cool is it to be part of such a reputable label, and be part of its history?
Kyrist: I feel really proud and honoured to be the first female solo producer on the label, and I hope by me achieving this, I can inspire more females to get in the studio and start writing music! Being part of the Dispatch family is great, and I have lots of support around me. Ant (TC1) is awesome with feedback on my music, and he pushes me to do better.
Also, you became a label’s manager in February. How hard is it to keep up with that job and your career as a DJ and producer?
Kyrist: It’s not so bad now. In the beginning, I felt constantly swamped by work, but now I’ve been doing it a while, I know what needs to be done for every release, so we never fall behind with anything. There’s a lot of work that goes into running the label behind the scenes, from myself and the team. It’s hard to keep the balance sometimes as we all have days where we just don’t feel like writing music, but I try my best to keep things rolling!
Legendary Noisia, but also some other great artists played your tracks in their sets. Have you ever been to a rave and heard DJ randomly drop one of your tunes? Can you describe the feeling?
Kyrist: Yes, I’ve heard Skeptical play my track ‘Geometry’ at every set I’ve seen him play this year! And also I heard S.P.Y. play ‘Ill Skill’… It’s a massive buzz to hear someone I respect so much as an artist play something that I wrote in my bedroom! Literally makes you feel on top of the world for a few hours, and it drives me to write more music.