SHAPE Platform is a pan-European initiative designed to give the underground music scene exposure on its own terms. The SHAPE Class of 2018 is as exciting as you can imagine, which is why we’re going to be showcasing a few picks from this year’s selection over the next 15 Fridays…
This week’s highlighted artist is Kimyan Law, the Austrian producer showing us all a softer side to drum’n’bass…
Drum’n’Bass is a genre that always seems to influence a lot of other work but doesn’t get taken too seriously itself. Why do you think this is, and what made you fall in love with the genre?
Kimyan Law: I don’t know, maybe because people may have a certain image stuck in their head when they hear ‘Drum’n’Bass’. To me the whole genre is very energetic – or at least it can be, and it developed an incredible diversity. A lot of the music has got a naturally pushing, uplifting essence, which is part of the reason I started exploring and getting into it. For me, that also explains why many other genres get influenced by this type of music. Personally, I like merging Drum’n’Bass with a lot of different musical elements, because it is so flexible and expandable.
You work with vocalists on a few of your tracks, how did you all meet and what makes for the perfect working partner?
Yes, most of the vocalists I’ve worked with I know, which often makes the whole process of incorporating vocals a lot easier for me. I think if you know the person you’re making a piece with, it feels a lot more personal and relatable. Although sometimes when I get vocals, they just fit perfectly into the music.
You recently spoke about the solitude of growing up as the only mixed-race kid in your school. How did music help you to deal with that?
Back in my childhood, as [with] many children of colour, I experienced many forms of ‘being different’. Sometimes subtle, sometimes very direct. That made me think a lot, because I couldn’t really comprehend why I would be different. Making music seemed to help me ‘talk’ about that and other topics that were hard for me to talk about, or hard to find someone to talk to. When I’m in my circle of people I forget my skin colour, simply because it doesn’t matter. Still, sometimes when I’m outside I get reminded of it.
How does performing as Kimyan Law differ from playing with bands when you were younger? Is it important for you to try and maintain a spontaneous, ‘live’ element when you perform?
I think those are just two different experiences. When you perform with or in a band, you need to play as a limb, in order for the whole body to organically function, and that can be magic.
When I perform live, it’s a hundred percent my thoughts, dreams, compositions, and everything I’ve learned, while making music in the moment. As a musician I don’t think it can get any more personal than performing live for an audience, no matter what you’re playing. So, in a way it’s important for me, yes.
Where are you looking forward to performing this year, or where would you love to perform?
I’m looking forward to supporting Fred V & Grafix on their new live tour in February, also I’m stoked to play at Fabric in London in March for the first time and the Hospitality on the Beach in Croatia in the summer.
The majority of places I’ve played were good experiences, and people give so much love, it’s a really beautiful thing. One day, maybe, I’ll get the opportunity to work and or play with an orchestra, but until then I’ll just continue making more music.
Designed and managed by a handful of the best music festivals in Europe, many SHAPE artists will be appearing on line-ups throughout the year. You can read our full interview with co-founders Viestarts Gailītis and Rihards Endriksons by clicking HERE.