Kastle on Making Music for Aliens

By Celina Huynh, January 9, 2016

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The Yetis are at it again! This time, they're flying in LA-based DJ and producer Kastle to expand your ears and mind with riffs that bounce and bend within the electronic music genre. He is currently on a mini tour in Asia, making his final stop in Shanghai. His futuristic sounds match the modern, slightly dystopian metropolis our offices call home, so we expect nothing nothing short of a galactically wild time. We caught up with him right before his debut tonight at Arkham featuring SSOSO, Yeti B, and Yung Sol. See event listing here.

How did you first get into music?
I fell in love with music when I was five years old when I heard  Herbie Hancock and Zapp & Roger. These were the guys pushing the boundaries of electronic music in a pop music format. I grew up very interested in computers and with early access to the internet in the 90s I started writing my own electronic music by age 12.

    

How would you describe your sound? What genre would you classify it as?
I think the moment you define something you run the risk of becoming a bit stagnant so I prefer to leave things more open and not label so much. I’ve just always wanted to push things forward and experiment with new sounds. If I really had to give it a label, I guess I would call it experimental club music.

What inspires your music in terms of art, places, people, etc.?
I am largely inspired by literature and my own life studies/experiences. 

Your instagram bio is “Symbols. Bassmaker. Imagineer. Philosophy. Reality Hacker. Coffee Enthusiast. Sci-Fi.” Could you elaborate on the what you mean by “reality hacker?”
To me it is about subverting the status quo. It’s asking a fundamental question, “What is reality?”. We all operate within our own reality tunnels, and when you realize it’s all a big chess game you can begin to play the game rather than get played. It’s about looking at things more relatively rather from the position of your own ego. That’s why I love to travel and experience as many cultures and meet as many people as possible. 

Right now, you’re on tour in Asia. Is this your first time to this part of the world? If so, what do
you think?

It is my first time and I love it! So far I’ve spent some time in Tokyo and Singapore and have had some incredible food. It’s been very easy getting around.

Have you been to Shanghai before? If not, what do you expect? 
This will also be my first time and to be honest I have no idea what to expect!

Do you believe in aliens?
That’s a tough question, because I have different kinds of theories about it. I’ll try and keep this short. Lately I’ve looked at the idea of aliens as more of a psychological archetype that us humans project into the world (much like we have done with angels, demons and ghosts). It may represent culturally repressed feelings about our future. Have you ever thought about why the alien forms we’ve created aren’t really that different than human forms? I recently tweeted “be the alien you wish to see in the world”, I think a couple weeks ago, because I was thinking on this very idea. We are the aliens of the future, we just need to get over our fears and make the leap to an intergalactic society. We need to break down barriers of religious dogma to let our society and biology mutate with the internet/cyberspace and new technologies such as nanotech. Humans have so much more potential but it is always bottlenecked by politics and humans who are completely terrified of change.

   

What is your idea of the future? Like do you envision hover cars and robots? Or something more post-apocalyptic?
Hover cars and most of our common ideas of robots from movie narratives (i.e. Terminator) are severely outdated. We can do a lot better and I am optimistic that we will. I’d say autonomous car services are coming and eventually owning a car will be like having a horse for a pet. Most things will be automated which will make things much more efficient. We’re probably going to go through a very awkward period of virtual and augmented reality while corporations race for control in that realm. Then people will truly understand how cyberspace has merged with our human biologies, which has already happened. You might as well call us cyborgs with the amount of time spent on your iPhone which greatly enhances your cognitive abilities. I’d really love to see a more collaborative society and have some ideas but kind of don’t want to give them away just yet because I am currently working on a story.

Who are your favorite artists right now? Who’s currently on repeat on your playlists?
I’d recommend checking my new Spotify playlist that I’m updating monthly with my favorite new music - it features some new Symbols releases (my label) from WWWINGS, y y y, J(ay).A.D and some exciting new sounds from Arca, Oneohtrix Point Never, Kid Smpl and Gaika. Just to name a few… and be sure to check all the music on www.smbls.net

> Jan 9, 10pm-late, RMB80 (RMB70 with WeChat scan). Arkham, see event listing.

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