The very founder of the Groove movement, Kriss Knight aka Kryder, has always been a figure we looked up to. From the early releases on Axtone and Size, this guy had a specific goal in mind: to “Bring the groove back into the big room“. Eventually, we managed to reach him and have a talk, discussing his career so far, and most important, what’s next. This is how he answered.
When did you first started DJing and producing?
I actually started DJing when I was 12: I convinced my parents to buy me a set of Technics turntables and some vinyl’s to practice on. Then I got into music production at the age of 15, before going to college when I was 16, where I got a diploma in Sound Engineering. Initially, it was just a hobby – I used to stay in my bedroom for hours, playing records – and I accidentally fell into music production and DJing as a career, so it just felt really natural.
Which artists influenced you as a youngster?
I really looked up to Carl Cox in the early 90’s… I also got a Drum n Bass and Hardcore hiatus, between ‘92 and ‘94. House Music wise, I loved what our radios were doing at the time, so I used to follow Pete Tong and Judge Jules; I also was a fan of Erick Morillo, Roger Sanchez, then Axwell and Steve Angello in their early days.
You just launched your third label, Kryteria Records, under Spinnin’ Records. Why did you decided to found another label, despite already having Cartel?
I kinda wanted to streamline my business: running a couple of labels is quite a huge effort, so when I signed with a new management they suggested concentrating on a single project. We already had a good relationship with Spinnin’, and we also had a ton of artists already signed to Sosumi, so I decided to focus on a label baptized under my radioshow’s name. We put Sosumi on ice when we reached the 100th release, while Cartel – which was a project between me and Tom Staar – comes to an end now. Regarding Kryteria, we’re planning to release a mixtape of all the tracks I’ve signed in these months, including a physical version of it.
Talking about Sosumi, your goal in 2014 was to “Bring the Groove back into the big room”. At 2018, do you think you managed in doing this, both with your music and with Sosumi?
Definitely! I think we set out to achieve a goal and I think we absolutely smashed it. We were able to get global support by top DJs for up and coming producers by releasing music for free; I think we managed to achieve something really special.
Let’s talk about your relationship with Tom Staar: you’ve been friends for years, you often help each other in the studio, you often play together…
Tom and I have been friends for over 15 years now, and we just kinda connect together musically, but first of all, we’re friends. When playing or making music with him, it doesn’t feel like work: we always have a good time and enjoy each other. For example, last week we played a couple of gigs in Croatia and Montenegro, and it was a laugh a minute, we really had a great time. I’ve got a lot of respect for Tom.
During your set at Tomorrowland you premiered your remix of “S.T.A.Y.” from Hans Zimmer, which immediately caught the love of the fans. Are you planning to release it properly?
Yeah, fingers crossed! I love “Interstellar” and I made this track just for my sets, but it got such a great response that I instantly got hit up by my management and the guys surrounding me saying that “this is something we need to focus on a release”. Either way, I’m already happy with the response.
Talking about this remix, it has the new progressive house sound that is emerging in these months. A lot of DJs and producers are bringing back Progressive House in a new way: what do you think about it?
Now dance music needs some standout melodies, some emotions. I mean, it’s full of Tech House bangers out there. It’s kinda become EDM-ed in the last two years, so we started asking ourselves “How wacky is this next Tech House drop?”. Personally, I felt like I was missing some emotions in my own sets, and this brought me to remix “STAY”. I’m all for all sort of melodic tracks coming out again, there are plenty of great Melodic Techno or House records.