This week, I got a chance to sit down with Philadelphia local DJ and mashup queen, Kay Tee. With a passion for edits of high energy electro and glitch-house, this young talent has a knack for finding the sweet spot between multiple tracks and bringing them together. What I most respect about her blending methods is that the original elements of the songs do not lose their clarity, but overlay with each other in perfect harmony. Think 3LAU or Kap Slap, then add a twist. Here are a few words we shared after her return from Monster Jam in Atlanta.
What got you into DJing?
While managing a bar back in 2011, I found myself constantly attached to the DJ booth - asking questions, making recommendations, and trying to learn everything I could about the art of DJing. Growing up in small-town Pennsylvania, my taste in music ranged from Bruce Springsteen, to Nicki Minaj, all the way to Slipknot... I was always the person people came to for new music, and I loved it. However, I always thought that DJing was going to be a hobby for me – something that I would never be able to pursue professionally. Not because I didn’t want to DJ 24/7 (because I do), but because in my hometown the only options were to DJ at a bar once or twice a week, or DJ for weddings… and that was about it.
But in the summer of 2012, everything changed. While attending Lehigh University, my new summer roommate introduced me to the wonderful world of EDM… I had no idea that anything like that even existed before, and I became absolutely obsessed with every single aspect of it. I felt like I finally found what I was looking for all along and didn't even know it. It was my calling, my passion, and became my life. A few months later, I moved to Philadelphia to be closer to the music and scene that I loved... and I never looked back!
From your tracks, it’s easy to see that you’re quite talented at the mashup game. What’s your process?
I always find myself loving certain parts of songs (like the drop, or the vocals, etc..) and end up jumping to those certain parts and playing them over and over again… When I make a mashup, I usually start by choosing a track that I really like, then pick out the parts that I’m not so crazy about…then I try to think of other similar songs that I can replace those sections with. Then comes the fun part: Adding the little unexpected details that make people think: “OMG… That was Awesome!”
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You just got back from Monster Jam in Florida. What are your thoughts on commercial DJing versus DJing at clubs/shows?
It’s challenging, especially at events like Monster Jam.... it’s a very diverse crowd, and it’s hard to read their reaction to the music sometimes... They didn’t go there to listen to the music, I’m just one part of all the entertainment that comes with their ticket… and I try to make sure that everyone is happy at the end of the day… However, as a club DJ, I always try to slip as much EDM at these events as possible, usually through mashups and remixes… I don’t want to play the Billboard Top 100 that you hear on the radio every day. I try to play stuff that is different, yet familiar enough that they still enjoy it…
Any originals coming up?
Yep! I have several originals I’ve been working on for…. Let’s just say, a while haha… I’m extremely critical of myself and my work… You only get to have one “first release”, and I want to make the most of it… I put my heart and soul into my music, and I just want people to be able to see that…
What’s in store for you in 2014?
Good question haha…. I’m just really focused on releasing my first original track for now… That’s a big deal for me… Once I get that one out of the way, I have a bunch of other projects just waiting to be finished…
Any other talents/hobbies you wanna share?
I recently graduated from Lehigh University with my Master’s Degree in Healthcare Systems Engineering. If I’m not working on something music-related, I like to snowboard… spend time with family… do random crafty projects… go to clubs…. Pretty much anything that can hold my attention for more than 10 minutes!
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After hearing the quality of her edits, I've got to say I'm really interested to check out Kay Tee's original productions. Personally, I feel that almost everyone in this industry gets their start by learning about editing and mashups, and then finds their style and method from that. I'll be sure to share it for you guys. 'Til next time!