Music Q&A:
Kissy Sell Out

As head of a new label and with a new album on the way, 2018 promises much for the DJ and part-time astrophysicist. He plays Tank, Sheffield, 3 Feb

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How have you evolved as DJs over the years?
I guess my sets are much tighter and smoother than they’ve ever been – even though my sets are about 10 times more complicated than they were before, as you’ll see from some of my latest Facebook videos. Having been thrown in at the deep end when I was 21, my first professional gigs were immediately to thousands of people, so I used to get paralysed with nervousness. Truth be told, a combination of over 10 years’ experience and far more practise than I used to do has made me feel most at home on stage these days. I think learning to laugh at myself a bit more and realising that whilst I’m rubbish at a great many things in life, DJing is the one thing that I am really lucky to be so good at has turned those nerves into fire and passion that keeps my spirit alive.

What’s your record to get any dancefloor going?
I’ve always suggested an old record whenever I get asked this, but to be honest there’s a track by DJ Zinc called Juicy Fruit that I have been spinning for years which has literally never ever failed me. It’s still my go-to intro tune when I’m not sure what the crowd are after.

Any record that unfortunately cleared it?
Back when I worked for the BBC at Radio 1, I garnered a reputation for playing very obscure Kissy Klub remixes of things. For example, I would often start my sets with my remix of Promontory taken from the end scene of The Last Of The Mohicans, and even end some with a drum ’n’ bass remix of the Maid Marian And Her Merry Men theme tune. Having said that, there were a few clangers. In particular, I made an otherwise quite wonderful remix of Harry Nilsson’s Without You, which sounded great on radio but I guess I just didn’t really think it through properly before spontaneously spinning it at a huge warehouse event. It not only killed the vibe but also sounded really depressing in comparison to the other music that night.

Some say club culture is dying. What do you think?
Do they? I guess I can see how you might have that point of view if you are comparing the mad-for-it super club era to modern settings, but I don’t think it’s true when you strip away the exterior and look inside. I can say now that I did think things got a bit dull about three years ago when the deep house global takeover was so ubiquitous, if for no other reason than all the big “OMFG!” moments in DJ sets felt a bit neutered as a reaction to the explosion of cheesy EDM dubstep the previous years.

Right now, however, I truly think that British dance music is in a totally exhilarating place. UK garage has made a huge clubland comeback in the form of bassline and bass house, which has really created a line in the sand between the generations of clubbers. The new records are now influenced by UK garage, social media and grime music that so many youngsters have grown up surrounded by in their formative years. This means that with a change in the foundations inspiring the scene, there’s some really fresh stuff happening now, but having still not figured out how on earth Snapchat works (!!?), I can totally see how fading familiarity can be a bit bewildering.

What are you up to at the moment?
I have embarked on a new chapter in my life and career recently. It began with starting a new label called Stepper Man last year and moved onto producing a new album as KSO called Style From The Westside, which I’m incredibly excited about. I’m just putting the finishing touches to the KSO LP, but I’ve already got collabs with DJ Q, Darkzy, Wideboys, Majestic and many more already in the bag. I’ve also given my DJing a massive kick up the bum by making bi-weekly DJ videos for my Facebook page – something that has kinda eclipsed the relevance of radio shows in my opinion. So if you do one thing after reading this, google one of my latest videos because I’m super proud of them.

What’s on your rider?
Well my rider is a bit dull these days – just a few beers and Red Bulls. Back in the day – or rather, for nearly 10 years of my career – it used to be a crate of watermelon Bacardi Breezers!? It turned into a bit of a joke after a while, but the original reason I had them on there was because I was only 21 when I first got a DJ agent and, being from Essex, when I was asked what my favourite drink was it was an obvious choice! A few years later, I headlined the Bacardi tent at T In The Park, and they thought it was so adorable that they gave me two massive crates of the stuff. Trying to find enough space in your fridge for 96 Bacardi Breezers is no easy task, let me tell you!

Thanks so much for featuring me, folks! Big love x x x.

Kissy Sell Out plays with Danny Howard at Tank, Sheffield, 3 Feb

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