Shift K3y Dishes New Album Details & Feeling Out A Crowd

July 27, 2015 -

Derek Kademian

Stepping onto a scorching hot black top during mid-summer Brooklyn isn't the ideal place to spend your time, but when you're promised The Greatest Day Ever, how can you say no? The Brunch Bounce collective graciously spun a tale for us last week, detailing how they created the idea for The Greatest Day Ever, which was inarguably one of the best parties of the summer. One of the highlights of the day was getting the chance to see the UK's rising star Shift K3y as he dipped between genres, making sure the vibe of the party wasn't lost.

Primarily rooted in a UK house/garage genres, Shift K3y also allows himself the room for growth by holding onto his main influences of r&b and hip-hop. Being a DJ is easy, but being a DJ who can properly feel out a crowd and adapting to your surroundings is an entirely different process. At first glance, the fans of The Greatest Day Ever is definitely a more hip hop oriented crowd than anything else, so when Shift K3y donned the decks, there was a few faces of confusion in the audience, but about 5 minutes into it, their attitudes changed as he...shifted between genres, making sure they never knew what was next on his queue.

I was given the opportunity to talk with Shift K3y right after his set, where he spoke to me about the differences between crowds in the US vs UK, details about his postponed album and much more!

Check out the full photo album from The Greatest Day Ever!

Derek DB: How was today's crowd?

Shift K3Y: It was not my usual crowd, but still really fun. I'm not used to playing such a hip hop focused crowd in the US...in the UK my sets are usually I play like house, garage bass and then I go into trap into (DJ) Mustard, more hip hop and r&b stuff. This isn't too far from what I'm used to, but it's definitely more of a shift.

Derek DB: Did you find it easy to adapt?

Shift K3Y: Yeah, I mean also I don't want to step on anybody's shoes like Craze, too much. I wanted to stay true to what I play, you know? but I had to throw in the Bugatti (Ace Hood) thing and a couple more hip hop tracks just to let people know that I do care about that as well.

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Derek DB: So you were saying you find a difference between the UK and US, is it a good or bad difference?

Shift K3Y: I think the main thing in US is that I can have such varied responses like the crowds are so…they want a specific thing, they happen to variate within that bracket. But in the UK I can play the exact same set 3 nights in a row at 3 completely different clubs and I'll get the same response, like 80% the same response. But if I play 3 of the same sets here and 3 venues it would be so different with the responses. Sometimes I'll get booked for more hip hop focused shows like this and I think that's because the music that I play is such a mix of hip hop, r&b and dance music.

Derek DB: In that same vein, you're stuff is very different, I noticed there really isn't a blanket term or genre to describe it, do you have an idea of what you would call your style of music?

Shift K3Y: For me it all falls into the bracket of r&b dance music, if you look at my originals there's always an r&b and hip hop influence as well as the national tempo of where I live, which is house. So for me it's a very natural thing to impart my influences to the sound that myself and everyone is into.

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Derek DB: Seeing that you were an instrumentalist first, do you think that gives you an advantage over other producers or how has that influenced you?

Shift K3Y: I think it's always nice to have the freedom to go around the song rather than being like I've got this loop pack and this a cappella and I've got to make it work. When you can play an instrument and you understand a bit about theories you can say, "screw that a cappella, let's write something" you know a new melody or a cappella or lyric. A lot of the time I end up doing that because it's just how a lot of my songs get born, it's different every time.

Derek DB: In May you were talking about a new album, where does that stand?

Shift K3Y: Originally we were going to put it out in the summer, but I kinda felt that I wanted to unify everything on the album a bit because, not because it was disconnected, but I wanted to connect the people to my sound a bit more, some more club tracks, r&b tracks and let them know that is my sound before i put out an album and commit that as myself. that's why I've kinda held back on the album, I still plan on releasing it at the beginning of next year. Obviously I have, "Misbehave," which is out now, and a few other club tracks.

Derek DB: Do you think your styles changed and that's what you're waiting for?

Shift K3Y: I don't think people know what my style is and like what you said, my style is so varied from what people know me from. Two years ago it was trap, now it's house and garage, so that's why I'm trying to let people know that I'm still doing all of the bases so it's not like I just moved my sound, you know? So the whole r&b and hip hop thing is much more focused for the dance floor, so that you'll be used to both sounds and the thing that connects it is my voice and my production.

Derek DB: Who are the main people who influence you in regards to music, movies people, anything?

Shift K3Y: For lyrics, movies and TV are my biggest inspiration. There are so many lines in there that have such deep meanings, you can take one line of film and people will literally do that, sample and make it the drop. There's one track "Gone Missing" (feat Chaka Kahn), it's basically a program where loads of people just disappear all of sudden for no reason, like millions of people. The song that I was writing was sort of based on that concept and that relationship. Then there's this track called, "Not Into It," which is a Cassie sample, I'm always taking from hip hop and r&b. Then in the dance world i would say Chris Lake, Chris Lorenzo, Basement Jaxx.

Derek DB: Between Jankel and Shift K3Y you've been in this game for a while, what piece of advice would you give someone who's trying to make a name for themselves?

Shift K3Y: Hard work in the right direction and don't annoy too many people, but at the same time, push. Everything is about balance and it will feel right. There will be times where you're doing too much of one thing and that's when you've kinda got to read it yourself and go, "no," and pull back depending on what the scenario is. I've seen so many people work hard in the wrong direction, that's why you have to work hard towards where your aiming. Don't be afraid to use stepping stones, to do one thing that will lead you to something else. That's the entire music industry, making the right moves. I think a lot of people will say, "oh there's a residency at Ministry of Sound, I'll do that." Rather than thinking about what that'll do for them afterwards, will people just think of me as that thing forever?

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Derek DB: Do you have any recent collaborations we can expect soon?

Shift K3Y: Le Youth, James Fauntleroy, Robin Thicke is on the album, Chaka Kahn and Stormzy, who's the #1 up and coming rapper in the UK right now.

Derek DB: Any set you're sticking around for today?

Shift K3Y: I'm definitely going to try to catch Travis, hopefully he won't like, throw me off the stage haha I just won't go near the stage. I'm probably the biggest fan of his than everyone else who's playing. I really like, "Mamacita, Drunk," I really like his writing and the beats are always so simple.

Check out the full album of photos from The Greatest Day Ever!

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