Following the release of his single “I Want U” on the French label Kiosk, we’ve had a chat with the Mancunian producer Krissi B, who is soon going to shake many dance halls with his contaminated garage-spotted style (just what the doctor ordered!) now that we can welcome him back!
Chain D.L.K.: Howdy, Krissi B!
Krissi B: Hello Vito!
Chain D.L.K.: Sonic and musical creativity is exploding again in Manchester after a period of relative calm. What’s happening up there from your own perspective?
Krissi B: There’s always something going on in Manchester, Soulful Grime seems to be getting more popular on local stations like Unity Radio and so on, bass lines generally in music seem to be getting grittier, I love the dark and light combination of dreamy breakdowns and fluffy chords mixed with evil basses and hard drums. The Hacienda sound seems to be coming back, everyone’s making 808 State style house, I like that!
Chain D.L.K.: Maybe I’m wrong, but I remember your last collaborative releases to be from 2007, aren’t they?
Krissi B: “3am” with Paleface was 2006, there are a few from before then as well but the popular ones were around ’07 -’08 if we’re talking producers. Some of my favorite collabs are “Kick The Bass” with Hadean and Kanji Kinetic, that’s a wild tune that I don’t think any of us would have come up with individually. Also “U Don’t Know” with Deadbeat UK seems to be getting a lot of love on my Soundcloud at the moment too. I like not knowing what direction things will go in with collaborations, I did loads with Mikey B, LU10 and a couple of others that we never finished, maybe one day I’ll open them all and give them a release!
Chain D.L.K.: You recently launched “I Want U”… how did all these different Mancunian styles which are popping up in the clubs influence its sound?
Krissi B: Like I said before, Manchester was playing a lot of Acid House and Techno stuff, plus there’s a heavy soul influence from what we call “Northern Soul” which is basically obscure rare soul on original US labels, like Motown but a lot rarer. It’s become a global phenomenon now but it all started in the North long before I was born. Luckily I was exposed to it from a very young age so I’m influenced a lot by that. I think music around Manchester and the North West has always been faster paced and a bit harder than a lot of other places. It’s about energy and elevation, uplifting and dark all at the same time. I try to incorporate lots of different emotions into my music, it depends on what mood I’m in from day to the next as well!
Chain D.L.K.: You have a strong connection with France as well. What are the main differences between French and British clubbing and ways of living music in your opinion?
Krissi B: I love playing in France, people all seem to party hard and appreciate the music and DJs, it’s nice to be a part of that kind of atmosphere. I like seeing vinyl culture still going in France too, Kiosk records still release vinyl, Toolbox Records in Paris have loads of vinyl in stock, I could spend days there sifting through it all! I’ve always loved French House, from the early Roule stuff like Trax On Da Rocks and all that. I think that came out in 1995, there’s a song on that EP called “What To Do” that definitely jumped out at me. Roule has always been one of my favourite labels, and Crydamoure, things like Buffalo Bunch “Take It To The Streets”, Le Knight Club “Troobadoor”, Alan Braxe/Fred Falke “Intro”, Thomas Bangalter “Club Soda”, I love all that. Very clever sampling and unique mastering and stuff, it’s addictive! I like a lot of the French “Tribe” stuff as well, it’s different to anything else I’ve heard. I listen to Radio Nova a lot because they play a lot of music I really like. I think Paris is like Manchester in a way, it’s very versatile and open-minded musically. You can play unknown music and people will still pay attention instead of switching off. I’m very proud to have the French Connection!! Shouts to DJ Absurd, Flore, all the team at Kiosk Records, plus all the ravers who have come to see me perform out there. I didn’t even know I was known in France until I played there, but everyone who comes to see me seems to know most of my music, it’s a nice feeling.
Chain D.L.K.: Beyond the music, Laura Lou’s vocal interpretation is really sexy… what kind of instruction did you give her before getting on the mic?
Krissi B: Laura doesn’t really need instructing, sometimes I hear things that could be sung differently and suggest different ways of singing things and then we decide which version we like the best, a lot of the time she comes up with stuff I’d never think of though, she’s a very talented writer and singer.
Chain D.L.K.: Did you receive any request from strip clubs to play “I Want U” during lap dances?
Krissi B: Haha, not yet! Maybe there are dance routines to the song but I don’t know of any!
Chain D.L.K.: Jokes apart, I could imagine your song might quickly heat up dance halls… what’s the craziest situation you saw while “I Want U” was playing?
Krissi B: The EJ mix makes people crazy. There’s something extra special about that remix, the buildup and drop hits you fully in a club! Everywhere I’ve played it people ask for the rewind on it, from the Fox Of Pain nights in Belgium to In The Face in Brighton, I love dropping the EJ mix. The 2 step mix seems to get a big response too, but definitely the EJ remix is the one for crazy situations!
Chain D.L.K.: Yes, one of the version of the song I like most is actually the one by EJ… you already gave big shouts to EJ Simpson from Bassline 4×4… any replies?
Krissi B: EJ and I have been friends for nearly 10 years, I really like his music. He’s done a lot of big tunes over the years, and has one of the biggest names in the Bassline scene. They don’t call him ‘Da Farda’ for nothing!! If you get the chance to see him play out, get there. He’s a very good DJ as well as an exciting original sounding producer. I was really happy to get the remix back from him, the first time I heard it I was blown away by it. I know he is excited to still be releasing on vinyl too, we’re from the old skool. Vinyl will last longer than all of our lifetimes, so maybe in 500 years people will still be discovering and playing the EJ remix.
Chain D.L.K.: B2 2-step version is very nice (that organ inserts!) as well… I’d say it’s really difficult to leave the past behind in music…
Krissi B: UK Garage had me hooked since being young, it’s definitely one of my favourite styles of music, but is it the past though? People like Disclosure and Naughty Boy have done well in the charts with 2 step in the last couple of years, and I play a lot of older music off white labels and obscure vinyl that younger people might not have heard before. I think all good styles of music come round again and again with different fusions of other styles, organs and 2 step always fit with sunshine and red sunset skies, hot long nights with smooth vibes and friendly ravers, that’s the feeling I was going for when I made the 2 step version. I really like the 2nd breakdown on the 2 step version, it’s probably my favourite bit!
Chain D.L.K.: What are some of your favorite tracks out of the bass music fields?
Krissi B: Literally anything from Reggae to Soul to Jungle to Hardcore to Trance to Juke. I’m going through a Blues phase at the moment, I’ve been listening to Lightnin’ Hopkins and Bumble Bee Slim a lot recently. Also I found a Roy Ayers LP a few weeks ago that I forgot I had so that’s not come off the deck in the studio since. Reggae stuff like Glen Washington, Steel Pulse, Joe Mansano. Jazz stuff like Earl Bostic, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Joe Pass & Ray Brown… there’s some names for you to type in on YouTube! I love all sorts of random and obscure stuff, I still collect vinyl too.
Chain D.L.K.: When are you going to release a full album? Are you planning on it?
Krissi B: I am in the middle of writing an album instead of a compilation of individual songs, I’ve even done vocals for a couple myself! I’ve got songs with new singers nobody’s heard of before and songs I’ve been holding back for an album for a couple of years too so yeah, soon there will be an album release. I don’t want to rush it though, when I feel like it’s ready I’ll put it out. I want it to be a masterpiece I’m really happy with and will be happy with for years to come, so I want it to be perfect before anyone else hears it.
Chain D.L.K.: Are there any stages of your past club music life you’d like to re-live?
Krissi B: Yeah, definitely the Rave sound of 1991-93 with the Ragga vocals and piano stabs with acid drops and sub basses that make your nose tingle, the kind of stuff DJ Vibes and Red Alert and Mike Slammer were making. I think Juke is pretty close to it, the 160 Amen drums are slowly coming back but the whole vibe is deeper and more conscious than in the early 90s. I’m loving the stuff that DJ Rashad, Spinn, Earl, Traxman and Manny and the whole TekLife crew are pioneering, it’s a very exciting scene at the moment, kind of reminiscent of the Rave era but with a unique fresh feel to it as well. But yeah I’d love to go back to 1990 and relive that era again.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the next stylistic wave going to be like in your opinion?
Krissi B: Juke music from Chicago definitely excites me, it’s a very energetic scene. The style of dancing is called Footwork, kind of like breakdancing but with the emphasis on the feet. I wish I could do it, I’ve been trying! In the UK this Soulful Grime kind of style seems to be on the edge of breaking through, I think music is slowly getting good again, hopefully more musical than formula based. Stuff in the charts sounds good to me at the moment, I think the UK has a lot of talented artists trying to get out there, hopefully you’ll hear more UK exported music over the next couple of years.
Chain D.L.K.: Any forthcoming tours?
Krissi B: I love touring and playing new countries and places, if anyone wants to get in touch to book me feel free! I’m always ready to tick some new boxes and break down some new doors, hopefully I’ll be playing somewhere near you soon!
visit Krissi B on the web at: www.krissib.com