Interview: K-Delight is still old school
British DJ and producer K-Delight built his reputation on the skill with which he manipulates samples, taking rare and unheard pieces of music and reworking them into parts and phrases for his songs. His Audio Revolution album released in 2008 was a superb journey through many different styles and genres. Now he’s back with his new limited edition 7″ single and download “Make it Different” featuring Shinobi Stalin flowing over chopped up breaks and beats. 25ThC caught up with the man from up North:
Your new track “Make it Different” is excellent and was inspired by an early 90’s interview with Dr Dre. Can you tell us why that interview inspired you to make this track and do you feel that Dre is still as influential now as before?
I had most of the beat done but needed something vocally within the chorus breakdowns. I wanted the track to be about originality and the importance of keeping your music true to yourself and not to follow. Be influenced and inspired by people but not to follow and copy. I just happened to be looking at some old Dre stuff on YouTube and saw the interview from the 90’s. Before I even heard the actual vocal I ended up using I knew I was going to sample it. Just the way he was very humble about his achievements then and what inspires him and the importance of being different and trying to stay one step ahead. Basically being a perfectionist at what he does. I definitely think he’s even more of an inspiration to people and kids now more than ever just through what he’s achieved in life not just in production. He treats production like a job and insists on making the artists he’s recording retake and retake until it’s perfect and not settling for second best.
The single features vocals by Florida’s Shinobi Stalin. How did you first link up with him and what is it about his particular style that made him perfect for this track?
I remember just hooking up with him when MySpace was big, It was great for hooking up with fellow artists. I think it was via his crew The Vets of Kin that I heard him and loved his flow right away. He did a few tracks on my Audio Revolution album and as soon as I had a rough version of the track I knew he was the man to do it. Some rappers are quite monotone but he rides the track perfectly every time, taking his voice up and down with the beat like that classic 90’s style we all love.
Most of your tracks feature collaborations and you have worked with some pretty big names including DJ Kentaro, DJ Yoda, Lewis Parker and more. Who have you most enjoyed working with and why?
They have all been great experiences but I would have to say Lewis Parker. He stayed over at my friend Royce Rolls’ studio in York and he just sat and wrote his Star Wars lyrics, occasionally ringing his mate to ask a random Star Wars question then put it in his lyrics once his mate confirmed it. Then I started cutting up the Star Wars vocals with him dancing around. Just hanging out in the studio like that rather than just receiving the vocals via a drop box, that is a proper way to collaborate so you can bounce ideas of each other in the studio.
Can you tell us about your workflow when working with MC’s and how that differs to when you have collaborated with other DJ’s?
It differs either way. I’ve tried this time to send people very stripped-down versions of the tracks and giving the MC’s an idea of the vibe by giving them a theme or just a baseline and beat, then I can sit and build the music around what they are saying or what the DJ is cutting up. I used to send finished tracks to people but now I like to sometimes send it not overproduced so it can be produced around them so they are not confined by the finished beat.
You have done a few mix albums with Evil Ed over the years from Caesars Palace and Outer Space. Is there plans for any more and where will it be from this time?
Yes definitely, I’ve loved Ed’s stuff since hidden identity so doing those mixes was great. We’ve touched on the thought of doing a third one, it’s on the cards, we’ve got a few ideas on titles etc but the main thing is we will still record It the same way, live on three decks with a load of vinyl stacked to the ceiling.
What is your current setup up for recording in terms of hardware and software and how long did it take you to produce the single?
I use cubase on my laptop, it’s great now because you can carry your studio everywhere as its just on my laptop, I sit on the train or even when waiting for the train get on the laptop and start editing tracks. I generally throw the samples, synths etc in at home via the keyboard and decks then get busy chopping it all up when I get chance when I’m out and about. I would say the new single took about six months on and off as it would just be an hour here or 30 minutes there, depending on if the kids were awake or not, haha.
You are still a very active DJ based in the North East of England. What is your current DJ setup and has that changed/improved your style over the years?
I’m still quite old school with it, I use vinyl with 1210s and a basic Vestax mixer but now I incorporate serato too, so it’s still manipulating vinyl when I’m not using traditional vinyl. It’s great for creating doubles of tracks that never came out as singles but also for being able to create and build more sounds and beats to drop in and out of your sets.
In a world where there are multitudes of genres and sub genres and everyone seems to be a producer, is it harder now to promote and get your releases heard?
I’m a strong believer that if it’s dope it does eventually get heard by people through the internet especially. I think in terms of some kids trying to just get the music out there and be heard its never been a better time. We used to make 100s of tapes up then send them out hoping the right people got to hear what we did but half the time getting lost along the line. I would have loved to have had the internet when we first started out. Word of mouth is still the best form of promotion, if your music is good enough, original and you put the work in it will get heard. It’s been four years since I last properly released something so who knows what will happen with this new stuff but I think it’s fresh enough to blow a few speakers.
Your records are always layered with tons of samples. How and where do you go to source samples for your records?
Lots of crate digging in car boots, second hand shops, online, I’ve been sampling random sounds off videos on YouTube. There’s tons of sounds to hook up through a midi keyboard and layer up, recording stuff when I’m out and about, just random stuff. I don’t have a definite single source for my sounds, I just collect them from anywhere.
The single is off your forthcoming second album due next year. Can you tell us about any of the other artists that will be featured on it?
Shinobi Stalin is on quite a few, chrome from Def Tex, still a few names in the pipeline but I’m not going to just fill it with loads of artists, there is going to be quite a lot of DJ-friendly instrumental tracks featuring musicians and vocalists so it will be in a similar vein to the last album but tweeked with some future funk for good measure.
“Make it Different” is out on Playing Around Records on the 4th November 2013. Check out out K-Delight on Soundcloud.
Interview by 25ThC