kaytranada crosses the Atlantic

The Haitian RnB beatmaker is the current darling of Europe following his first headline tour. He gives us the breakdown on London's positive energy, working with Disclosure and of course, extra hot Nando's.

by i-D Team
20 February 2014, 12:00pm

Ash Kingston

Listen to Kaytranada live at Deviation from London's XOYO.

By his own admission, Kaytranada thinks he's a little overhyped right now. Fresh from playing the official Yeezus afterparty, the Haitian-born, RnB junkie is the number one in demand, Montreal DJ on world rotation right now. Hype is his word.

It's been just over a year since Kay (real name Kevin Celestin) first dropped a bootleg remix of Janet Jackson's 'If' on his Soundcloud; What followed was a head-spinningly fast ascent to internet notoriety that's just culminated in him headlining his first European tour. It's not for nothing; Kay is both an effortlessly capable beat-maker and one respectful of the sound, name-dropping Dilla as much as he name-drops the influence of Bossa Nova or Robert Glasper. There's a natural intellect and interest there that marks him out against the slew of former bedroom DJs - and looks set to blow him up even further over here, if that's possible.

You're on that distinct neo-soul vibe when you play live, what were the first few tracks that got you thinking 'yeah, I can play this out in my sets'?
Jill Scott - It's Love Zo! - Nights Over Egypt Erykah Badu - I Want You 

How has your European tour been going? What's been the best night?
So many good nights, I can't really decide between London and Paris. It was definitely live on every date but crowd-wise, London made me feel like it was the best night.

One of the more obscure remixes in your repertoire has to be the Robert Glasper Experiment's 'Move Love' - are you always on the lookout for more experimental artists to work on?
Yeah, those are the type of artists that I would love to mess with the most than just have the same artists or collaborations just for the hype. All I need is soul and experimental artists at the end of the day.

I like how you didn't take any shit at the NY Boiler Room show, telling people they better dance. Do you get that alot?
I get that alot in NY or in the States mostly (except LA). The thing is with crowds like that, they're not really there to have fun, they only want to be in the coolest parties and show off their swag or how cool they are. Fuck all that. They don't have to.

I heard you've been working with MNEK. Have you managed to check any other young artists whilst you've been out here?
Sadly I'm not good at knowing new dope artists out there, unless they're as dope as MNEK is. I'm listening to too much old shit.

What's the status of your album 'Kaytrathomas'?
The album's not coming out anymore cause of some stupid label problems and I'm never gonna put it out cause I've moved on and I'm in a different phase musically. But if you've heard my "instrumental hip hop is dead" mixtape, you've heard 93% of what the album sounds like.

There's been a pretty serious shift in artists' thoughts about signing to a label, i.e. not doing that so much anymore. What do you think about that?
I don't really care about what label I'll be on as long as they don't treat me like shit and let me have creative control. But I'm good though - I'm with Huh What & Where Records.

Who's been the main breakout artist for you this year?
I don't pay a lot of attention to that. All I know is Disclosure, Vic Mensa, Chance, Isaiah Rashad been doing their thangz.

Artists always hate the food over here in London. Are you enjoying it?
It depends what I eat. I'm a burger dude and I know damn well I'm done with burgers in the UK. One time, I ate Nando's: don't get me wrong, I love me some chicken but I was not ready for how hot and spicy that shit would be. My mouth was hot for 3 hours after eating some wings.



Text Karim Khan
Photography Ash Kingston

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