We speak with tech house tastemakers Black & Watky to celebrate their latest remix on Twisted Fusion! We find out more about the duo’s dynamic, what inspired their musical career, and more…
When did you guys first meet and what made you want two work together?
Tom:- Collectively I had heard the name Khyle Black thrown around in my friendship circles but we actually didn’t meet till around early 2015.
Khyle had been DJing at a mutual friends Birthday Party and I decided to have an afters back at my apartment with everyone. It ended up Me & Khyle playing b2b literally through till the next day.
Not long after I was speaking to him on Facebook, talking all things music, DJing and life in general.
At the time we both held the same residency for a brand in Hull and Khyle sent me some music across from an Artist called Latmun who played at Stealth in Nottingham.
Sharing our same passion for music and putting on a show, we decided to book him for Funktion in Hull in January of 2016 under the name ILLICIT Events
We’ve never looked back…
What are you both like as characters, the same or different? Opposites attract or two peas in a pod?
Tom:- Well I’ll speak for myself here but to be honest…
Our differences are what make us unique in regard to personalities, Khyle is a practical joker of our group and I can sometimes come across as ‘too serious’ or ‘old’….
From a professional perspective we don’t take ourselves too seriously but I’m a control freak at the best of times and complete perfectionist.
With music, sometimes Khyle will be more relaxed. I’m very particular when it comes to the mixdown process so it takes a lot for me to be happy with a track.
Where and when did you first get into dance music? What parties and labels?
Khyle:- I first got into dance music at around the age of 15, a heavy influence which opened my ears to this scene was my brother who is 7 years older than myself. He was always going to house and techno raves and I used to hear him listening to music on his speakers in his room.
He used to listen to the more minimal/tech house vibes back in the day, the Cocoon and Moon Harbour kind of sound.
The first artist I really listened to and loved at that time was Dubfire after hearing 2 tracks ‘Radio Slave’ and ‘Emissions’. This opened me up into listening to more of this genre of music where I discovered labels such as Hot Creations etc and then lead me into going to my first rave in Hull when I had just turned 17. This is where I saw Jamie Jones, Joey Negro & wAFF, the rest is history from there really…
Who does what in the studio? Do you have your own skills or can you both do everything?
Tom:- The studio is pretty simple if I’m honest.
The choice of DAW is Abelton (still using Version 9) utilising a Novation Impulse 61 Keyboard. A Roland TR-8 Drum Machine & TB-3 Bassline Synthesiser which was ever present in our track Back That @ss which is out this month on 303Lovers as part of our Shift Change EP.
We both are self taught DJ/Producers but we are constantly evolving as Artists from a sound element. Adapting our studio techniques to try and create that signature sound of which we are slowly creeping into the more people listen to our tunes.
You are residents at PRISM in Leeds. What’s your role there, what does such a gig teach you, how does it differ to a headline slot?
Tom:- We’ve been residents now for little over 2 years and have been fortunate to have heavy support from the guys down at MiNT. Stephen Burns/ Michael Mcmahon have helped us massively by having us support Artists like Patrick Topping & Hot Since 82. It’s always a great opportunity to send tunes over also.
And when you DJ, how does it work? Back to back one each or half hour each or?
Khyle:- When we play we generally stick to a 2 track each system. We like to mix it up sometimes maybe 1 track, but we believe 2 tracks each keeps us both busy and really gets us vibing off each other.
This also helps us showcase both of our skills but at the same time giving off that togetherness in our sets that really gets the crowds going.
Tell us about your new remix on Twisted Fusion – how did you approach it, where did you start, do you have any rules for remixing?
Khyle:- When we first got offered to remix one of Manuel De La Mare’s tracks on this EP we were really taken back at the quality of his track, our initial thoughts when we listened in the studio and turned to each other was ‘Sh**, these are mint, how do we top that!’ haha.
We went through the track and really wanted to put our twist on it so people knew it was our sound with our familiar percussion sounds similar to our tracks ‘Columbus’, ‘Shift Change’ and ‘Back That @ss’
I hope we’ve done the original justice, the feedback from several artists on it already has been amazing so fingers crossed on its release.
What else you got moving up/are you working on?
Khyle:- We have a lot of projects coming up at the moment, Our label ILLICIT Music kickstarts at the end of October which we are really looking forward to. We are really happy with the artists and sound that we are going for here as it’s very different to the general UK Tech House, we are looking to try and make something unique with our label and can’t wait to see what it brings.
DJ wise we’ve just started a new residency 2 to 3 times a month for Danza Events in Sheffield. Some of the line ups they are bringing are insane and the club where they host it ‘Tank’ looks mental!
In relation to releases we have quite a few coming up, we have an EP on 303Lovers coming out in the next few months with remixes from Pirate Copy and Jey Kurmis, a release in October for Under No Illusion and then finally to end the year an EP on Leftwing and Kody’s label Lost, so yeah, very busy haha just need to keep plugging away in the studio and carry on this momentum into the new year!
Black & Watky’s ‘Make Me Feel’ remix is out now on Twisted Fusion! Grab it here – https://www.beatport.com/track/make-me-feel-black-and-watky-remix/10933800
Artist Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blackandwatky/