Killawatt: Exclusive Bassweight Society Interview

What’s up everybody!  We’re back with our monthly interview.  Today, we get words from a man who has established his presence with insurmountable speed.  Killawatt, nominated for best new producer in the Dubstepforum Awards this past year, is on a path straight to the top.  Securing releases on labels such as Black Box/Box Clever, Boka, New Moon, Subway, and DubPride, Matt Watt’s sound has been gaining a really large amount of support from the likes of Youngsta, Thinking, and many more.  All of this action seen has been within less than TWO years!  That is not to say that Killawatt is new to the music scene, though.  He got his hands on his first pair of decks back in 03′, and quickly began to make a name for himself in the jungle scene.  Fast forward to 2010, he is now co-operator of jungle label, Satta Sounds, and continues to carry on that passion.  But, he also gained a strong love for deep, minimal dubstep music.  After gaining his first release on New Zealand imprint DubPride, Matt had decided to part ways with the dubwise tunes he had currently been producing.  After taking classes in soundscaping and sound design he became very infatuated with the appeal of the ambient and cinematic aspects of dubstep.  The rest is history.  Making his debut appearance on Rinse fm in July of 2011, Killawatt has been smashing dance floors with his hard hitting mixing style.   As he continues to build his signature sound he is beginning to slowly drift into a seperate realm of classification. By that I mean that he is pretty much in a category of his own.  On the late he has been fusing a lot of techno influences into his 140 productions and is creating some of the heaviest rollers out there right now.  HUGE rolling kick drums, techno stabs that can make a good girl turn bad, and some of the most well-executed use of bongos the past year has seen, and there has been A LOT of bongo use in the tunes this past year.  His ability to incorporate the multitude of percussive instruments that he does has been, without a doubt, unrivaled in 2011.  Just recently he has had releases on Boka and New Moon and will see one shortly on Wheel & Deal.

Let’s see what the man has to say about the complaints of so-called “purists”, 140 jungle, and who shot Biggie and Tupac.

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BWS:  Alright, let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first.  Can you give the readers a little background about yourself.
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Killawatt:  Ez, I’m Matt Watt aka Killawatt and i’m currently based in Southsea. I’ve been producing dubstep for around 2 years now, dabbled in making scatty ragga jungle before  but never really took producing seriously until i got into dubstep late 2009. 
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BWS:  The percussive elements in your music are unreal man.  This is an attribute of your music that caught my attention when I first heard your sounds, and it has kept me hooked ever since.  Sometimes, in my opinion, people get too carried away with the focus on sub-bass, leaving other elements of the tune sub-par.  The fact that you are able to recognize the importance of each element and then successfully harness that importance is one of the best things about your style.  Do you use a lot of sampling when building your music or do you play intruments live? Or both?
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Killawatt:  I use a hell of a lot of samples for pretty much all aspects of my music. I never really used to be into sampling, probably because i didn’t really know how to make good use of it, but recently it has taken hold of my productions, largely due to the influence of Ipman and renowned sample based producers such as Amon Tobin. Ipman works as a sound designer and sampling is obviously a major part of that so we’re always talking about it and thats influenced me a lot. It’s also because sampling and resampling opens up so many sonic possibilities. You can create sounds and textures that you could never recreate using purely synthesis, the organicism of real sounds provides an extra layer of depth that really lifts the music. I also like the unpredictability of using sounds i’ve recorded myself or that somebody else has, you don’t have complete control over all the parameters so i think it makes me work harder to achieve a sound i want.  I very rarely play live instruments in. I can play the trombone and the guitar and i have recently started using them in a couple of secret side projects i have on the go, its actually been quite inspiring playing them again so i think it is something i will do a lot more of. Over time i’d like to build up a collection of instruments, both common and obscure, so that i can make use of acoustic and electronic instruments equally.
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BWS:  Your turnover rate for tunes is extremely high.  Is production your only full-time job?  If yes, what did you do to accumulate all your studio equipment before beats were paying your bills?
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Killawatt:  Well, i suppose you’d have to call it my full-time job since i don’t have a job and i do it pretty much full-time. That does not mean, however, that it pays my bills! I’m sure i will start to earn a half decent living off it at some point but its hard work scraping the pennies together at the moment. Luckily my parents are very supportive of me so they are helping me get along for a few months until i start earning more from producing/DJing or until i get a job. I’m pretty lucky in that sense really!
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BWS:  As a fan myself, I have a very large respect for the appreciation that you express to your supporters.  Maybe not in a verbose manner necessarily, but in the tunes that you give out for free.  Usually it’s quite obvious why an artist is giving their particular tune(s) out for free; they were old, unfinished projects thrown together half-assedly at the very last moment.  Your free music, however, is of the same top-notch quality as the music you release on respected labels such as Black Box, Boka, and New Moon.  Is this something that you set out to do?
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Killawatt:  I love sharing my music, it gets me into a bit of trouble with my peers sometimes but i write so much music, and so much of it will never see the light of day unless i give it out for free. I don’t see the point of uploading everything i make to soundcloud if half of its never going to get released or played so i may as well give it out. I would never give out anything i haven’t played or know i wouldn’t play so i suppose thats why they are of that quality. The end of last year went a bit over the top with the free giveaways, literally everybody was doing it and to be brutally honest some of the music that got given away from pretty awful, was almost embarrassing.  I’ve already compiled 2 free EP’s ready to giveaway the promote releases this year so you have them to look forward to! 
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BWS:  Lately you have been making tunes that have a more techno vibe to them.  Can we expect 2012 to be filled with releases like these?
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Killawatt:  haha yes you can expect a LOT more like this. Techno is my main passion at the moment so it was always going to filter down into my own productions. I’m not really making your standard 128 4×4 techno, i’ve tried but i can never shrug off my dubstep production so it ends sounding a bit crap. I’ve gone back to the 140 bpm tempo and tried to incorporate aspects of techno into it and people seem to like it so i think i’ll keep making it! I can’t really make half-step anymore, since ive been producing this more upbeat and energetic style, half-step has just seemed a bit labarious and sluggish, theres just not enough energy in most of the stuff coming out whereas with these techno influenced rollers with the big relentless kick drum lines and the pounding subs there is just so much natural energy, you move instinctively to the music whether you like it or not because of the sheer physicality of it and the rhythms that have been engrained in us over the past millenia from ancient ‘tribal’ music. I say ‘tribal’ because there has been a recent trend in everything with one bongo in being tagged as tribal music, its utter rubbish and is something i find pretty annoying to be completely honest. I’ll stop ranting!  Expect to hear plenty more of this sound this year though, either at 140 or 134 bpm!
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BWS:  There has been a sufficient amount of hype surrounding the 140 jungle that is currently being pushed by artists like Arc88, Benton, Dismantle, etc.  What is your take on it?  Considering that you used to produce jungle/own Satta Sounds, do you see yourself putting out tunes of this vein?  Or have you already, and we just haven’t heard them yet?
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Killawatt:  I’m not a fan, although i was smashing Dismantles terrain EP, they’ve got that older jungle aesthetic but with very up to date production and most importantly sound massive through a system.  Again its one of these things where people run out of ideas so they hark back to an older style and then claim its new, most of the time anyway. The majority of it sounds pretty weak compared to actual jungle, with looped 4-bar breaks that have had basically no processing, or have been processed completely wrong. Jungle was well ahead of its time and this stuff just isn’t. The most authentic 140 jungle tune ive heard is Ipmans remix of my track ‘Sidewinder’ that was released on the Black Boxxx series in december, the man knows how to chop up a break or too! I suppose because of my background in jungle i will always have this view. I still love jungle and really miss playing it out, it’s so fun to mix, and a lot more challenging than dubstep in my opinion. I have tried a few times to make jungle again but the production values are so different to dubstep that i just can’t really do it anymore. I’m sure i’ll make it again someday but just not quite yet!  Big ups to the Satta Sounds crew, making big moves in the jungle scene this year!
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BWS:  There has been, among a select population, a growing discontentment for the current state of the genre.  These are typically the people who complain about dubstep not being “underground” enough anymore, or just plain “dead”.  I have a really hard time with those kind of claims, mainly due musicians like yourself, Compa, Phaeleh, Von D, and so many others.  Your sounds are fresh, forward-thinking, and exhibit uniquity, so how someone can claim that dubstep is dead is beyond me.  Where do you see yourself going with your music in the next year or so?  Do you have any insight on where the genre as a whole is heading?
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Killawatt:  Those people need to get a grip on life. This discontentment is something i find very irritating. There is so much good, new music being made and released but these people are either too lazy to go looking for, jumping on a bandwagon or are just bitter. I for one am really happy that dubstep has found the masses. Obviously the biggest crowd pullers are playing the more aggressive and obnoxious style of the sound but who says something isn’t allowed to evolve and adapt? Thats just what the majority are into and fair enough, if they have a good time listening or dancing to it then i don’t see how its a bad thing. Even if just 1% of the people who have discovered dubstep in the last year take the opportunity to delve deeper into the underground then that surely is a good thing? Without it going mainstream, J:Kenzo wouldn’t be doing his Daily Dose of Dubstep on Mistajams show and Skream & Benga would never had got their INDWT show and now their weekly friday night show. They have been representing both the mainstream and the underground consistently on 2 of the biggest radio stations in the country…how can that possibly be a negative thing?!  I honestly don’t have a clue where its all heading, and thats the most exciting thing about it. It will just keep mutating over time, giving birth to more and more different styles. I think dubstep has been a mini paradigm shift in music. Drum & Bass was too much of a clique to really do anything massively beneficial in genre development and house/techno/trance/garage had all gone a bit stale until dubstep came along. Now i think all the genres within EDM feed off each other and thats why there’s so much interesting music being made at the moment, even though a lot of people would say otherwise. Moreover, all genres within the whole of music feed off eachother now, not just EDM.  I see myself just doing what im doing now and hoping things go to plan!!
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BWS:  What should the readers be on the look out for, as far as releases from yourself, in the next few months?
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Killawatt:  January was a fairly hectic month with 4 releases coming out within 3 weeks of eachother. There’ll be a bit of a break now i think. Look out for my 2nd release on Wheel & Deal, my remix of Radikal Guru’s ‘Dread Commandments’ on Moonshine recordings alongside more Radikal Guru remixes by RSD, Hatti Vatti and Adam Prescott.  I have plenty more for the rest of this year already but thats all under wraps for now…there should be some news soon though so hold tight!
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BWS:  Alright, now, just for fun……
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BWS:  Who shot biggie and tupac?
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Killwatt:  MC Hammer
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BWS:  If you were stranded on an island and could only keep with you the following things, what would they be? 1 vinyl, 1 DAW, 1 piece of hardware, and 1 sandwich.
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Killawatt:  The vinyl would be Pink Floyds ‘Wish You Were Here’ – amazing album! Provokes pretty much all your emotions!  Don’t think i’d really be bothered about having a DAW if i was stranded on a desert island. Pretty useless really considering i wouldn’t have a computer!  My choice of hardware would be a solar powered fridge…pretty useful.  My sandwich would be cheese, ham, gherkins, mayonnaise and branstons pickle in homemade white bread! the king of sandwiches!
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BWS:  If you had the ability to make music with one person, dead or alive, who would it be? and what one question would you ask that person?
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Killawatt:  Would have to be Hendrix, he was just a straight up badman! I’d ask why he didn’t read the label on those sleeping pills!!
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BWS:  What would you consider to be the most ideal setting for your performances?  Who would you want to be there?
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Killawatt:  On a beach in the Maldives with my girlfriend, family, friends and all my favorite musicians! sounds like paradise to me!
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We just want to give a massive shout out to Killawatt for taking the time to answer these questions for us!  Respect.
Below you will find links to Killawatt’s Facebook, Soundcloud, and Myspace.  Make sure you check out his music if you haven’t been fortunate enough to yet.  Support the artists, BUY THEIR MUSIC!
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Thanks for reading everybody, make sure to watch this page as we have another great interview lined up for March!  Go ahead, start guessing ;).
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To the gods.
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-Bassweight Society (Kinman)
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4 responses to “Killawatt: Exclusive Bassweight Society Interview

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