Kaytranada’s beats immediately bring to mind the L.A. scene that blew up a few years ago with Flying Lotus, Free the Robots, Daedelus and the Glitch Mob. The diversity of these artists created a sound that pushed the boundaries of instrumental hip-hop at its intersection with electronic music—precisely what Kaytranada is doing now.
Though never part of the L.A. scene, the 21-year-old producer, performing at Pagoda Lounge on Oct. 18, remains connected with a production style that fuses hip-hop, house and R&B into tight, progressive beats—and through his L.A.-based label Huh What & Where. Meanwhile, he’s gaining momentum among his peers Tommy Kruise, Rami.B(izzle) and Hesk in Montreal.
This past year he released the Kaytra Todo EP on HW&W to positive reviews. Soon after, French electronic label Bromance took an interest after hearing his remix of Danny Brown’s “Lie4” and approached him about releasing the single “Free Things in Life” (his update on Janet Jackson’s ’90s hit “If” is required listening, as well). He’ll release the Hilarity Duff EP on Oct. 16 with HW&W while he works on a full-length instrumental release.
“The last six months have been great for sure,” Kaytranada says. “I feel like I haven’t even blown up yet; I’m definitely not satisfied.”
Kaytranada had plans to release a full-length instrumental album this year, but it was pushed back to 2014 to allow for more production time. He doesn’t want to release anything prematurely.
“I’m finding it more difficult because people are watching me, but the process hasn’t changed,” he says. “I’m busting my ass to make instrumental songs. If it needs vocals, I usually don’t release it, that’s why I have so few originals out. I’ve got tons of instrumentals that need vocals hidden away,” Kaytranada says. “With Hilarity Duff, there was no direction. I made that beat when I was high, thinking of a dark music video like ‘Stressed’ by Justice.”
As with most electronic music, the goal remains to get people dancing, but with Kaytranada and the artists affiliated with him in Montreal (as well as the L.A. beat scene producers), dancing remains a secondary goal to the act of manipulating sound and creating subtly complex and unique soundscapes.
“They can dance or not dance to my music,” Kaytranada says. “Songs are danceable nowadays, but a bit forced. I want to make people dance naturally.”
Kaytranada performs at Pagoda Lounge on Oct. 18. More info.