It’s been a long and rich journey for Kyle Watson, one of South Africa’s biggest dance music names to date, since he began putting out music in 2007. As both an electronic DJ and producer, Watson has traveled the world to play for a variety of crowds to spread his highly curated mix of four-on-the-floor dancefloor grooves. He’s worked with a multitude of labels: This Ain’t Bristol, Dirtybird, Box Of Cats, Heldeep, Insomniac, and Ultra, and has yet to let loose on his steady release flow.
The past year alone from Watson was absolutely packed with basslines tinged with tech house, deep house, and the classic minimalistic house beats we love. To start, his massive Road Trips EP set the bar last year with its three tracks “Road Trips,” “UH,” and “That’s Kinda Wavy.” “Road Trips” was featured as one of NEST HQ’s Best of 2017: Originals and was described to be “a rare cross-over hit, used as a secret weapon by underground and mainstream DJs alike.” The festival-made trippy track echoes, rumbles, and spins across all things club-related, making it one expected to steal the spotlight. Following the EP, Armada Electronic Elements released Watson’s single “Solace” featuring Apple Gule. This one took a turn for the soulful side of deep house with a lyric-forward melody and more ambient sound design — my personal favorite.
Next, Kyle Watson’s “Road Trips VIP” was featured on This Ain’t Bristol’s New Year VIP Selections alongside fellow artists like Billy Kenny and Maximono on the 11-track compilation. This release was also premiered on our pages for its mind-expanding rework of the original. Booms and claps alike lead this one to the top of the installment by taking a laidback mixing style atop a saturated progression. To continue 2018, Watson didn’t rest and soon after, his Vice Versa EP was released presenting his original, the extended mix, and a triple-remix package all in one. “Vice Versa,” the wobbly house spotlight track, took to oscillating rhythmic filters and laying down percussive-laced feels all around.
Last month, Watson came out to play with his remix of ZHU and Tame Impala’s “My Life” as a part of their remix package on Mind Of A Genius. The quality on this one is just impeccable — Watson uses a polished beat to lead us directly into the highly emotive chords and chorus from its original makers. Throughout its nearly 6-minute breakdown, “My Life” unwinds and funk is pulled straight up from the ground. Just last week, This Ain’t Bristol released Watson’s latest double-single titled You Boy / Chomp. Both “You Boy” featuring Kylah Jasmine and “Chomp” featuring Franklyn Watts are coined to be radio edits — assuming they are for his upcoming ‘New Ground 2.0 Tour’ to be broadcasted live from the man himself. “You Boy” uses sultry vocals to entrance us alongside Watson and before you know it, your head is bobbing and your feet are moving. “Chomp” takes to a more rugged house anthem, but also just as fitting for a crowd-focused get-down.
I recently saw Kyle Watson play at CRSSD Spring Festival, where he stole my heart a second time, with the most interactive and energetic set I saw all weekend. As Watson gears up for his second round of touring, including performances at Shambhala and Splash House, his debut album Into The Morning is expected to arrive in late August. Although it’s a bit obvious, Watson has definitely earned his place in this week’s edition of our Artist Spotlight series.
Listen to our five favorite selects from Kyle Watson below and get to know him just a bit more.
Photography by Andre Labrune and Fernando Sigma