The rise of Kiril and the exciting development of Italian drum & bass

Shout out to anyone currently recovering from the immense D&B trip that was last week’s Sun And Bass festival. You of all people know how exquisite drum & bass sounds on Italian soil… And has done for 15 years.

But beyond the beach stomping bliss and hazy, wavy nights at Ambra the country has had a much slower bubble in terms of its own local talent. Until recently…

Exactly a year ago we spoke to Inward, Hanzo & Randie about their country’s state of D&B health. They explained how there had been various cultural and musical challenges facing D&B culture and that while the scene remains underground, the more under it becomes because people still see it as ‘rave music’. However they did highlight 10 acts who were at the forefront of changing that status…

Acts such as Kiril, the Como based craftsman who has just returned to Critical with his new EP for the label’s Systems series. Comprising some of his sharpest, slipperiest, dark funk fuelled tracks to date, it’s another key beacon in one of the most exciting international drum & bass stories of recent times. We caught up with him to talk about his personal development, his health, the rise of the Italian scene and his killer new EP. Shout out to anyone currently recovering from hearing it. He’s not messing around.

It’s been a year since we last saw you on Critical. Bring us up to speed on the last 12 months….

A few months after the Binary release on Critical, I released a single on The Dreamers recordings – Royal Flush/Ugo. Then on Halloween I was very excited to play at my first Critical night in Turin alongside Kasra, Was A Be, Synth Ethics and The Dreamers crew. Unfortunately, I also had a dark’ period around that time. So because of depression (which also affected me physically) I went on without writing music for something like 3-4 months or more. I also had to cancel a gig because of that. All good now.

Sorry to hear about this. The darkness affects so many of us…

It does and my health was in decline so I decided to take a break and went on a trip to the Balkans, specifically Macedonia because my family is there. That helped me a lot and there I wrote all the tunes of the Systems EP. That’s why there’s a tune called MKD (Makedonija). After that a good amount of bookings arrived and I went on playing gigs around Europe.

Light at the end of the tunnel…

Yeah. And after that block, I focused on improving  and developing my sound. You can learn something new about production every day and grow musically. That period helped me a lot to better myself as an artist.

You mentioned The Dreamers release. It seems drum & bass is finally getting some exciting attention in Italy. Your country has never been known for D&B. Why do you think this is?

The Dreamers crew, Mother Inc, who have been promoting D&B in Italy since 1997, and lots of other crews have always tried to bring the UK sound to Italy. Here D&B parties were associated with illegal raves in occupied social centres. Because of that most of the promoters always tried to bring D&B to the clubs and closer to the club culture. I don’t know why D&B isn’t that popular in Italy. It’s the mentality, I guess. Most of the ravers here prefer techno. Fortunately now there are a lot of Italian dnb producers getting recognized by the international scene.

Yeah there’s an exciting wealth of talent and sounds coming from the country!

It’s healthier than ever! As I said before, there are a lot of Italian newcomers, which means the scene is growing and more people have interest towards this genre.

Is it much of a community? I think you’re in Como and The Dreamers is based in Turin and you’ve been working together for years. So maybe there’s a physical / real life community connection too?

Yep, I used to go to The Dreamers parties in Turin years ago and that’s how I got to know them personally. Here’s an interesting fact: after a party in Turin, I don’t know how, but I ended up in Andrea’s (Neve) studio and that’s how I got to know him. After he became label manager of The Dreamers Recordings, I was asked to be their second release. Otherwise, I’ve been ”real life” friends with Was a Be for years, also Synth Ethics, HLZ, Crimson…

Awesome. How do you see the Italian sound and scene developing?

In an excellent direction. D&B with more variety is being produced, including subgenres like futuristic halfstep, liquid, deep rollers, solid neurofunk and jungle etc. The general interest towards D&B events is growing higher.

How about your own development? You’ve worked with some exceptional labels over the years as well as Dreamers and obviously Critical you worked with Flexout. So many now well established names have come through them!

Totally man. I’ve also worked with other great labels such as Vandal, Alchemic Breaks, BNCexpress (another Italian label), Noisia’s Invisible. I have to give shouts to Was A Be, there was a collaboration with them on my Flexout EP and now they’re releasing music on Shogun, Critical etc. Also QZB and Hyroglifics who are also now releasing on Critical. I have to give special thanks to Kasra and Adam from Critical, Andrea (Neve) – The Dreamers label manager, Tom Bassi from Flexout and all the other labels and label managers I’ve worked with. Thanks for supporting me and my music!

In terms of your latest release on Critical I would say tracks such as Strike and This! are the sharpest productions I’ve heard from you so far. What you are your personal favourite moments on this new EP?

My personal favourite is This!, a collab with Was A Be. We were hyped during the studio sessions, shouting ”reeewind” during the drop haha.

Awesome. What happens next?

I’m working on new music at the moment. Inspiration is running high. More details soon.

Can’t wait. Please wrap up with a non musical fact about yourself… 

I couldn’t live without a coffee and a cigarette in the morning.

Don’t live without Kiril: Facebook / Soundcloud 

Kiril: Systems 12 is out now