If you like your drum & bass dark and gritty, there’s a strong chance Kyrist has been creeping onto your radar recently.
And if she hasn’t yet, she will soon. The 26-year-old has been quietly bubbling away under the surface for a few years and has kicked off 2017 with a bang. Last week she dropped Venomous on Dispatch – her first EP on the label – and in the process became the first ever female producer to grace the imprint.
It’s going to be a big year for Kyrist, so we decided to find out a bit more about her.
You moved to Bristol last year, how’s it been?
I love it! I’ve been so productive since I moved here. It really is the hub of drum & bass; more and more people are moving here and getting involved in the scene. I actually live with Sam Binga which is quite funny, he’ll sometimes check out what I’m working on and give me a few pointers.
I bet he’s a messy housemate – can you confirm?
Your sound is synonymous with Bristol, isn’t it?
I guess so, although I haven’t really stopped to think about it; I’ve just been powering away ever since I moved here. This year I really need to properly get out there.
You’ve made a good start with the EP
Yeah it was a great start to the year. I recently quit smoking weed and I’ve become so much more productive as a result. People seem to think getting really high helps your music but it really doesn’t; it’s a false sense of security where you think you’ll come up with loads of ideas but instead do very little.
How productive are we talking?
I’ve written eight or nine tunes since I stopped smoking. When I was smoking it took at least a month per track!
Is there another reason you decided to give it up?
Yeah I actually saved my dad’s life a few months ago. I went back to Luton to see the family and he said his shoulder really hurt, so I told him to have a rest and said I’d be in the next door room if he needed anything. Then I put my headphones on and took them off after 20 minutes to hear him faintly calling out my name. I ran next door and he was on the floor, slap bang in the middle of a heart attack. I called an ambulance which took him to a hospital and he was luckily okay, but if I hadn’t have been there he probably would have died. I thought it could’ve been me in a few years if I wasn’t careful; it was a real wake-up call.
Crikey, fair play! So can we assume that increased productivity = more releases?
Yep I’ve literally just confirmed another EP for Dispatch which will be coming out in a few months and there’s also a release coming out on Addictive Behaviour in the meantime. It will be my first release on vinyl which will be really cool, I can’t wait to stick it up on my wall and show it off.
It seems like you’ve found your home on Dispatch
Definitely. In fact, I’m going to be taking over as label manager from February, which is very exciting but quite daunting too. It’ll take up a lot of my time but making music will obviously be the main thing still. This is a good opportunity to big up the Dispatch family – I love them all – even Ant, who is easily the hardest label boss to please…
Congratulations! So you’re doing the music thing full time now?
Yeah I took a brave move and quit my “proper job” in October. I really wanted to give music a real go and thankfully it has worked so far. I felt like the option was to either stay in the job and have my soul drained of happiness or do something I really enjoy for less money. My family were really supportive of the decision which helped too – mum is the first person I go to before making any big decision.
Do you ask her what two tunes will make a gully double drop before your gigs?
All the time, she knows what goes off in the rave…
An evil man just approached you and said you can only be a DJ or a producer – not both. Which one do you choose?
Ooh that’s a tough one, but I’m a DJ first and a producer second, so it would have to be that. I actually learned how to DJ when I was 12 thanks to my mum! I was on summer holidays from school and she had seen an advert in the local paper for a DJ academy in Luton, so she sent me along and that’s where I learned the craft. I started out mixing really bait trance and then moved on to garage, then when I was 16 I got my first set of decks and started buying drum & bass records.
Being the first female producer to release on Dispatch must be quite a nice feeling?
Yeah I guess it is quite cool. Iris has done some stuff with Quadrant but I’m the first solo female producer to release an EP which is wicked. I really hope it encourages more females to start making drum & bass. I only know of four others out there at the moment – Changing Faces, Mantra, Liz-e and Dushi – and they’re all wicked. There definitely should be more.
What’s on your 2017 wish list?
I’ve already had Noisia supporting which was unexpected; they played No Remorse on their show. They pronounced my name incorrectly but as it’s Noisia I’ll let it slide… Serum and Phace have also said nice things about the EP which is wicked. Aside from getting more feedback from the likes of those guys I want to keep releasing music on Dispatch and get as much as possible out there.
Is there one producer you aspire to be like?
I’d love to be something close to the female version of Icicle. I’d like to try producing a few other genres this year, like Icicle does so well. When I was at uni I wrote loads of different stuff which was good fun. Sam has been saying I should try my hand at some 160bpm stuff so I’m gonna have a go at that, and some dubstep too.