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A Conversation With: Kaelyn

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to Kaelyn, a guy with a pretty hefty Soundcloud following who recently dropped a beautiful track called ‘The Mood’, if you haven’t heard that one, check it out here – it’s getting a lot of love on Soundcloud right now, hitting over 2k likes in just over two weeks of upload.
I've got a great chat with Kaelyn to share with you all, but first I want to draw your attention to an upcoming London gig...

Next Tuesday, Yung London are hosting their second party, Yung v2, which I’m really excited about! This one is shaping up to be just as crazy, if not even crazier than the last, with incredibly talented Soundcloud heavyweight Vacant taking to the decks, alongside the likes of Kareful, Aesthetic Kid, Ducatti Boi, Break and Glacci. This is going to be a huge opportunity to hear some of the best talent on the underground London scene, and unlike the last show, this one is open to the general public and is only £5 on the door all night. Make sure you get yourselves down there, it’s definitely not one to be missed if you follow the Wavey Soundcloud scene! Details of the event can be found here. As ever, I will be uploading my review of the night on the blog after it’s happened, so if for any reason you can’t make it, be sure to check that out!



So, back to my conversation with Kaelyn! I first became familiar with the sounds of Kaelyn after seeing his remix of Awaken’s ‘Handbook’ reposted by one of the guys on the Wave scene. The track immediately caught my attention; it’s a really pretty tune with velvety soundscapes which seems to shoot for something very deep. 

I got properly talking to Kaelyn at the last Yung night in Dalston, and I decided to arrange a proper interview so I could find out more about him as a producer and the ideas behind his chilled, emotive sound. Kaelyn is the youngest producer I’ve spoken to so far from this scene, only turning 18 in October, but his production outlook is really mature and he seems to have a genuine passion for quality as well as a wonderfully creative perspective on music, and i'm certain he’s got a bright future ahead of him. It’s exciting to hear these sounds coming from a young talent, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how Kaelyn develops as an artist and becomes more involved in the experimental scene that I’ve been following with the blog. You can find a transcript of our conversation below. 

Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for my interview with Wavemob founder Klimeks, which will be dropping over the coming weeks. I also have conversations with Moonbaby and other heads on the scene in the pipeline, which will be really great for fans of the scene to catch.

I hope you enjoy reading, I had a lot of fun doing this interview. As ever, happy listening!

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First up, can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I’m from Luton, North West London. I’m 18 years old, currently at college studying a music course. I’ve been producing under this name for a year and a couple months now. Before that I was just messing around, producing beats and stuff, and then I started the ‘Kaelyn’ project and kind of stuck to it.

Did you make music with other instruments or in other genres before this?

I started off played piano when I was pretty young, like 10, just messing around with it, taught myself how to play songs but I never learnt to read or anything. Then I played the trumpet for a bit and played the drums for like a month before I got bored. I guess I haven’t got bored of producing yet, so that’s what I’m doing at the moment! (laughs)

Nice okay, so how did you get involved with the sound you’re making at the moment?

Well, a while back my friend showed me Flume, I think it was like ‘Sleepless’ or something, and on the same day someone else showed me XXYYXX, and that kind of inspired me to make songs instead of beats, like more chilled music. I guess that was the turning point that started this Kaelyn project.

Okay, and do you see the sound you are making as similar to that of other people on the Soundcloud scene, the guys making Wave and stuff like that?

Um, I don’t know really. I guess so. I mean I’ve been told it’s like Future, but I’m unsure.

You don’t see your music as having a genre, then?

People at my college always ask me this, but I don’t know, the idea of genres actually kind of sucks when you think about it. When I make a song I don’t set out for a particular genre, I just try and create whatever mood I want the song to make people feel. When I’m making my song, if I feel it should go this way or that way, that’s what I do instead of thinking ‘oh, I wanna make a trap song’ or something.

I see, that’s pretty cool. So are you not influenced by any particular electronic music?

I am definitely influenced by different types of electronic music, but then everything influences me. Pretty much any type of music, I can get some inspiration from. I love weird future music. I really like future R&B as well. I just like anything that’s well produced to be honest. I appreciate craftsmanship.

That’s a great perspective to have. So, do you see yourself becoming involved with any of the Wave guys in the future, or anyone else on the underground Soundcloud scene? Obviously you guys are all in the same kind of circle, so can we expect any colabs?

Yeah for sure, I’ll definitely be working with Kareful, that’s a sure thing. I’ve already worked with Break as well, and we’re definitely going to work again in the future. I’d really like to do a track with Vacant as well; he’s crazy good. Yeah, I really wanna collab with everyone, and do shows with them too.

Do you play out often then?

I actually did my first show a couple of weeks ago. I’ve only done one proper show so far. I’m still working on my DJing at the moment, but once I get better I’m going to start getting in on the Yung nights. I want give the crowd a good show, you know, I don’t wanna just blag it, so I need to practice a bit more first.

Yeah that’s understandable. How did your last show go?

Yeah, it was good but I played too early. I was on at 10pm and the venue was kind of weird, like people were still eating their dinners, so I couldn’t really turn up. My set started off chill and by the second half I was playing like harder trap, but it was okay because at that point they’d cleared the tables and people were starting to dance. But yeah, I wish I’d been put on later.  But it was a great first show.

You drop trap when you play live then then?

Yeah. Trap, future, whatever has energy that I can work with.

I see, sounds like your sets are very open?

Yeah. Moonbaby actually taught me how to use Traktor Pro, and when I showed her my set she was like ‘what the hell, all these bpms are crazy’. Like the bpms in my set were going from 80 to 130 or whatever, but the energy works so I just tend to go with it.

That sounds like an interesting way to build a set. Right, a lot of your music’s got a really chilled and laid back vibe. Is there anything behind that?

I guess those tracks sound chill because I was feeling chill at the time I made them. I just wanna be able to make whatever reflects my mood at the time. Like if I’m feeling chilled I wanna make chilled music, you know. 

Is the Kaelyn project geared specifically towards the chill sound?

Well I definitely like making like lush, pretty sounds, but I don’t want to be pigeon-holed to one particular thing. I’m just gunna go with the flow and see what happens. If I do make something harder that I like the sound of, I’ll probably just drop it anyway even if it doesn’t fit with the rest of my songs.

I see. Yeah the aesthetic of your Soundcloud and Bandcamp pages kind of follows that ‘lush, pretty’ vibe, particularly that dreamy-blue colour you use. Do you think this aesthetic adds something to the sound?

Well I made that colour that I mainly use for the Kaelyn project one day by accident, when I was just messing around, and it kind of stuck. I feel like it’s a pretty weird colour. When I make my music I imagine it’s from somewhere otherworldly; not earth; somewhere different, somewhere unnatural and surreal. I feel like this blue colour just works for that.


Cool man, the theme definitely adds something to the mood of the music. Okay, you use vocals in a pretty cool way, how do you find these and how do you go about incorporating them?

Yeah, vocals are pretty important for me. Basically if it’s not a remix and the vocal’s not already there, I use one from my folder. I spent, like, a year, scouring the internet for accapellas and stuff, and I put them all into a folder and built it up, and now I’ve got this big folder full of all the acapellas that I’ve found, and I just open that up randomly and if I hear a bit like a vocal run that catches my ear ill just chop it up and see what I can do with it. And if that’s sounding good I’ll maybe find some more, and maybe find some lyrics to try and like set the vibe. I like to make pads out of vocals as well, like putting massive reverbs on them. You can’t really notice them, just the atmosphere behind the song, that’s what I like.

What software do you use to produce?

I use Logic X. I started off with Reason, then I moved to FL; I tried a lot of different software but when I got to Logic it just kind of clicked, and I stuck with it.

And do you use any hardware?

Literally my set up is just my laptop and my headphones, and I have a little midi controller. I do wanna get some hardware though, because I think it’s quite cool to have stuff like synths or drum machines, but they’re expensive man, so it’s hard.

Yeah I understand. And does it take you a long time to produce each track?

Well, the song I’m working on right now I started last night and it’s pretty much finished. But um, the Awaken remix, took like 2 months. And I started the idea for The Mood the same time I started the Awaken remix. The idea behind The Mood properly stated like December, Janurary time, so like 3 months on that song. That took quite a long time.

Yeah, I must say I do get the impression that the tracks take you a while to produce from the lack of releases on your Soundcloud and Bandcamp page, compared with a lot of the other artists in the same circle.

Yeah, well I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I won’t put it out unless it blows my mind. I won’t upload it unless it’s perfect basically, or I’ll just drop it on a sub account that doesn’t really matter. But the big releases are really thought out.

Yeah they seem it. And which of your tracks are you most proud of?

Um, kind of a dumb answer, but all of them. Again, I’m super picky when it comes to my music. I’ve taken down a bunch of tracks that I don’t feel are up to scratch.

Got it, so if they’re on Soundcloud, it means you really love them.

Yeah, if I’ve finished it, then it means I have a lot of faith in the song.

That’s cool man. In terms of releasing, do you only release your tunes digitally at the moment? Do you use Bandcamp?

I haven’t used Bandcamp for like 9 months. Everything’s up for free download on Soundcloud. I put one of my songs up on Itunes for a little experiment, but that’s about it right now. Just focusing on the music.

And do you have any ideas for any sort of EP?

I was actually talking about this the other day. I think, in about a year I’m going to make an EP or an album, but yeah right now I’m just going with the flow and making songs. Once I have a couple of tracks that I feel work together, I’ll throw them together and make an EP. But that will be in the future I imagine.

Yeah man, well I look forward to hearing whatever it is you come up with when you eventually do! Right, who are your favourite artists and who are you listening to at the moment? Give the readers some listening recommendations!

Yeah for sure! Um, Break, Vacant, Brothel, Kareful,Mura Masa,Whispa, Myst and Myth, they’re all killing it. Rusty Hook is a really dope producer from France. Um EKALI, he’s been my favourite for like a year now. And you can’t go wrong with Flume or XXYYXX.

Nice, they’re all really sick artists, thanks for that. Okay, do you see you see this scene as internet music? A lot of it seems to be based on Soundcloud, and Bandcamp too.

Yeah, sure.  Soundcloud is the heart of everything right now. I think it’s pretty cool that the scene exists so strongly online, because someone will put a sound up and it could inspire me and potentially change how I think about music, I guess in that way it is internet music. Everyone’s based all around the world, althouh there are a lot of people in London at the moment.

Yeah, I get the vibe that in London the sound is starting to take roots physically for the first time really, with the Yung events gaining popularity and stuff. I guess it’s a good thing you live there!

For sure!

Do you think your music is suitable for the club?

Yeah for sure, some songs are. I think the only song I’d drop in a club right now is my Awaken remix. Everything else would be a bit weird if I dropped it in a club. But I’m definitely going to start making some more clubby stuff this summer. The song I’m working on at the moment actually isn’t chill at all, it’s totally club material.

I see, that’s cool to hear. I’ve heard people say that this movement isn’t that suitable for the club, but I disagree.

I disagree too, I mean a lot of the stuff I put out at the moment is on the chilled side. But a lot of my friends stuff; Kareful’s stuff for example, goes really hard in a club, even though it is chilled too.

You have loads of followers! When did you start to gain them?

It’s been a sort of snowball effect, like steady progression and then recently I’ve started to have more attention. I finally hit 10k the other day, which was really cool!

Yeah I saw! That’s a lot of people man!

Yeah I try not to think about it actually, freaks me out a little bit, but it’s the best feeling seeing people show support.

Yeah, it shows what you’re doing is being appreciated!

Definitely.

Okay man, it’s been great talking to you. Is there anything else you want to add?

Um, just thanks to everyone for the support, and thanks for doing this interview!


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