We spoke to KSO ahead of his Tank set on Saturday
He used to run events at Plug as well
Over the last twelve years, Kissy Sell Out has risen to global fame. He had a BBC Radio 1 show for seven years, has supported The Prodigy at Wembley and even debated Stephen Fry on national radio.
Now going under the name KSO, he will soon release a bass house and bassline album, featuring collaborations with Darkzy, DJ Q and more, and supports Danny Howard at Tank in Sheffield this Saturday (3 February).
Below the article is his new single, 'Like That', exclusive to The Tab today, and our interview with him ahead of his return to the Steel City.
First up, you return to Sheffield to support Danny Howard at Tank on Saturday! Excited?
Oh yes! Sheffield has been a really important city in my career – I used to run my road-blocked Kissy Klub nights at The Plug and Tank is smashing it at the moment, so I can’t wait!
New single ‘Like That’ is a belting tune with a very current feel to it and heavy bassline influences. Who has helped inspire this newer, darker sound?
Having a well-established 12-year career can be a blessing and a curse sometimes. On the one hand, my name is internationally recognised, but on the other there can often a situation where people assume you are doing the same thing they remember you for, despite not having listened to anything that you’ve done for years.
Back when I was only 21 – and still at university – my whole life suddenly changed as I quickly rose through the DJ ranks for making very very experimental electro bass tracks and remixes that pushed the boundaries of what was possible in dance music.
I look back at such exciting times now and realise that after 10 years of travelling the world, my busy tour schedule was masking the fact that I had begun to lose the creative spark that comes from embarking on new paths for the first time and jumping into the industry with nothing to lose.
So, to cut a long story short, I’m back and being a musical nuisance again! I started a new label called Stepper Man specialising in bassline and bass house, I’ve got a new album which I’m putting out under the name ‘KSO’, plus I’ve gone in harder and heavier than ever with my technical DJ style.
It’s a really exciting new chapter in my life, and the new single “Like That” is a great warm-up for what’s to come.
What can listeners expect from your upcoming album in terms of its sound and collaborators?
Well firstly, I can reveal that it’s called “Style From The Westside”, and it’s already sounding like the most exciting album I’ve ever done! The last few tracks are still being finished off but the amount of collaborations is ridiculous, including DJ Q, Darkzy, Wideboys, Majestic, Dread MC, JG, DJ Direct and Shaun Dean so far.
It’s essentially a bass house and bassline album, but when you hear it you’ll immediately notice that there is a clear thread of west coast hip hop running through which is inspired by the “Urban Takeover” early old school jungle records by Aphrodite and Mickey Finn, which I adored when I was growing up.
When I had the idea to try their sample-cutting style on house tempo tracks, I realised that I’d finally nailed my KSO sound. It genuinely feels like something that’s not been done much before, which is an amazing feeling for a music producer.
And when can we expect to hear even more new music?
Well, 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.
Which moments stand out as highlights throughout your career?
Crikey! So many things. Composing music for the London 2012 Olympics ceremonies was a very proud moment. I’ve also toured North America seven times, and Australia nine times, which has provided some extraordinary experiences and I’ve met so many wonderful people.
My mum was very proud of me when I debated against Stephen Fry at Cambridge University, although thinking about that still sends a shiver down my spine as I’ve never been so out of my depth before!
Being able to say that I supported The Prodigy at Wembley is pretty mad. I was too star-struck to actually speak to them back stage at the time though! I have so much passion for what I do, I just try and make the best of everyday, I’ve been very lucky and I’m very incredibly grateful for that.
To top off all your DJing achievements, you’re a part time astrophysicist! How did that come about?
Yes, I am indeed – in fact, you’ve just reminded me that I actually have a practical experiment using a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer booked in March! I was about 24 when I first started studying the subject part-time while I was travelling around the globe for DJ gigs, and I guess it had a big impact on the way I think about life almost immediately.
When my career started, music went from being a hobby to becoming my entire life, so I think I needed something else to do in my spare time for a bit of escapism. I’ve suffered with severe ADHD throughout my adult life, so mental arithmetic is a struggle, but on the other hand I find it very easy to visualise the ideas and concepts of quantum mechanics, so I’m much better at the pure maths side of things.
If you want a quick fact, it turns out that the universe is left-handed! It’s an example of chirality in organic molecules and originates from ultraviolet circularly polarized light (UVCPL) emissions from star-forming regions such as the Orion nebula.
Anyway, it’s not for everyone, but I love this stuff. Don’t worry, I’ll save my black hole thermodynamics facts for another interview.
Last but not least, what are you planning for the next few months?
It’s funny because it’s hard to think about anything past the album release as I’m writing this, but I’m pleased that my DJ tour dates are coming in thick and fast. Appearing at Tank in Sheffield this weekend is a great way to kick off the year!