“It’s so important to be true to yourself, to create your own unique world. You don’t want to blend in — you want to stand out.”
With the electronic music scene becoming saturated with numerous artists coming out of the floodgates, carving their own channel through the landscape of the scene, it’s always celebrated when a sound that carries its own unique spin on things comes around. Coming from the creative mind of Barrett Richards, known to most as the phenomenal producer Kastle, are refreshingly new, soulful, and low-end tunes that bring something new to the round table. The overall footprint he is leaving on the club scene and electronic music alone is outstanding, to say the least, and has all the real heads chatting and spreading the word about the energy and talent coming out of Kastle and his ability to capture the life and fluidity of old soul/funk/R&B. It’s always a tremendously satisfying feeling to grab a hold of a mix, song or album that could just as easily be the soundtrack to a night out on the dancefloor or the lone-wolf walk home where headphones are the only companion.
A Hermes Trismegistus of sorts (writer & alchemist), Kastle has definitely immersed himself deep into the creative process that comes along with producing, something he’s been working and improving for the last 14 years, and has never looked back. “I am about music, creativity, science, ideas, art, philosophy, the future, etc. Anything that can further our society in a positive manner. I think music is just my personal way of communicating these feelings,” he explains. “I just try and follow my instinct all the way when writing and producing. It’s kind of like being truthful to oneself. A lot of artists might feel the need to cater to the flavour of the month or what they think people want to hear. I just simply write what I want to write and what I am feeling. It’s really that easy. [I think] people respond to the truth more.”
Two years ago, there was a shift in scenery for Kastle from the vibes of the East Coast to the buzzing city of San Francisco which has given him an enormous amount of insight and inspiration aiding in the progress of his own work, especially his new album which is set to come out in the early months of the new year and of course the numerous releases that are coming out of his label Symbols.
With many of his remixes, one example being “Alone”, he seems to prefer warmer sounds that really help emote feelings that aren’t always apparent within electronic music. This brings an almost haunting melancholy and soul to the originals that you can dance to and notice his love for the styles he grew up listening to. “It’s about parts of my tracks. A lot of my synth solo work stems from my upbringing in funk & soul. All the synth work you hear in my music is played live by me. So forward to the solo sections of tracks like ‘Stay Forever’, ‘Only You’, my Frank Ocean remix, and especially ‘You Know That I Know That You Know’. My music is a conglomerate of music styles the same as our lives are a conglomerate of our experiences since birth. I don’t really care about what genre to call myself but there’s many influences.”
With the new album, Kastle has his attention set on more then just one steady sound or mood that he wants to show listeners, “I’ve created tons of new synth patches for the album that I am working on, and it definitely varies a lot,” he explains. Alongside running his label, Symbols Recordings, he’s “finishing [the] album first thing and shortly after the release I’ll be doing a live show tour.” With his time on the road, attendees can expect an extremely varied, unique and energetic set, “…all sorts of genres and all sorts of tempos. I hope fans get a sense of dynamics, which I think is missing in a lot of music today. In both DJ sets and production. Life is not all one level and I want my music to represent that.”
Kastle is playing Lucky Bar in Victoria Jan. 30 and Fortune Sound Club in Vancouver Jan. 31.
By Jamie GoymanBC, British Columbia