The latest in Dummy’s mix series comes from Matthew Watt, a Southsea-based producer perhaps best known as Killawatt. First coming onto the radar with his debut release on N-Type’s Wheel & Deal label in 2011, Watt has been prolific since, putting out over 10 records on labels like Bristol’s dubstep-oriented Black Box, Kryptic Mind’s Osiris Music UK and London’s Inverted Audio, the first release on which was Watt’s ‘Interplay’ EP last year.
To mark the release of his latest ‘Press On / Tantra’ 12”, Watt has put together an hour-long recording as the 158th instalment of Dummy artist mix. Favouring the sound of dark, stomach-churning dubstep and techno, he highlights 11 of his own productions, blended with some other cuts by Cristian Vogel, Truss, Tessela, Icicle, Double Helix and Deadbeat. Read our interview with him below.
Hi Matthew. Your music ploughs a pretty dark furrow. Is everything alright or are you channelling some inner angst?
Haha. Yeah you’re right it is pretty dark, most of my music always has been to be honest. I make the occasional feel good dub tune and some chilled ambient but I’d say 90% of my stuff is very dark.
There’s always plenty of inner angst inside, mostly about the music scene and annoying people but I’m not sure that has too much of a bearing on the aesthetic direction on my music. I think I’m just better at making it to be frank. It suits my production style better as well.
You seem to work between the lines of dubstep’s early incarnations and the boom of Berlin techno. Where do you see yourself sitting, and how do you think dubstep’s evolved over the years?
That’s pretty much bang on really. Everything I’m making at the moment is very highly influenced by that Berlin techno sound. It’s a sound I’m very into, and it’s a sound I’m keen to venture further into, whether that’s at 140bpm, 126bpm or 90bpm. The progressions, phasing in and out of elements and concentration on the groove is what I love most about techno and I think my music reflects that.
Another reason for this crossover sound is down to the attitude of the techno scene, as I see it. Genuine creativity and thinking outside of the box seems to receive much more praise and acceptance than it does in dubstep or drum & bass in my opinion. When I sit down at decide to write a ‘dubstep’ tune at 140bpm, I immediately feel this overwhelming and imposing creative restriction for whatever reason, but when I sit
down and make a tune at 120 or 130bpm then I feel like I can do whatever I want and people will like it.
This creative freedom and liberal expression of experimentation is something that I am trying to incorporate into my music at 140bpm now. I love the tempo. It combines the perfect amount of energy and space and I’m determined to make something work. Hearing everyone saying 140’s ‘dead’ is so irritating and illogical to me so my mission this year is try and push it as far as I can. There’s so much more out there but a lot of people are just getting lazy.
Your recent release schedule has been almost inhuman. Where do you get the inspiration to make so much music?
Yeah the first six months of last year were overly hectic in all honesty. I was writing so much music and releasing it left, right and centre. I’ve slowed it down a lot since last summer. There was only one release in the last 5 months of 2012. It wasn’t in my best interests to keep up this schedule so I took a deep breath in, thought for a month or so, and came out the other side with a clear direction in my head. This direction was the techno based aesthetic I spoke about before, and I was lucky as Si (Kryptic Minds) had reached this conclusion at pretty much the same time as me so we’ve been working together quite closely over the last few months on their Osiris Music UL label trying to forge out new idea’s and putting releases together.
I still write a lot of music, but I’m much more selective on what I play out and release. I think most of the inspiration comes from talking to people like Si, Ipman or from learning new techniques and about new technologies. I’m in the process of building a brand new setup to begin working on an album and a properly live set more towards the end of this year, and I can’t wait!!
What were you trying to do with the mix, and what sort of feelings do you want it to evoke in its listeners?
I really enjoyed collating this mix. It’s mostly just tunes I’m really into at the moment, with a lot of new stuff from me in there as well. I also spent a long, long time trawling through Hardwax looking for obscure, under the radar tunes that a lot of people who listen to my stuff, probably wont have heard before. There’s such a saturation of samey, boring mixes nowadays so I wanted to try and make it genuinely interesting for the listeners. If it makes their ears prick up then I’ve done my job.
You’re from Southsea. Is there much of a scene there, and how did you get into this music in the first place?
Yeah I moved in with my girlfriend down here about a year ago now. There’s not a massive scene down here, a few small nights and a couple of bigger ones. RAM and Hospital records used to put events on at the pier down here but that’s closed now due to structural issues, which is a bit of a shame. There is a chance I’ll be promoting my own night down here soon alongside Ipman, just need to find the right venue and just be a bit more organised first.
I can’t tell you when I first got into music really, it probably happened over a few years. I first got into electronic music when I was about 15, so around 2005. I started listening to jungle, old skool hardcore and acid house, then started playing it at various nights and the occasional free party a few years later.
Who and what are piquing your interest at the moment?
I’m really into the stuff coming out of the Stroboscopic Artefacts and Liberation Technologies labels at the moment. Guys like Kangding Ray, Dadub, Sev Dah, Bandshell. I’m always on the lookout for new Cristian Vogel stuff and I’m very excited about the forthcoming Bonobo album, and to my surprise, the forthcoming James Blake album. Never been massively into Blake but heard his new tune on the radio recently and really enjoyed it! Oh and DJ Boss. Don’t know where he / she is from or anything about them at all but some of that stuff is crazy!
What’s coming up for 2013?
I already have quite a bit planned for this year. OSMUK026 is out March 4th, then I have a release with Kryptic Minds scheduled for a couple of months later, then a solo EP out around May / June time I think. There’s the odd remix and collaborative track coming out fairly sporadically and probably another dubby release in the summer as well. It’s shaping up to be a fairly busy year though and I’m pretty excited about it!
Killawatt – Two Curious Gypsy’s
Oceania – You Live In Me
Killawatt – Lead-Like Presence
Ben Gibson – Same Symptoms Same Combat
Cristian Vogel – Enter the Tub
Truss – Osbasten (Tessela Remix)
Peek – Devils Slide
Orphan101 – Tribtek pt. 2
Icicle – Need A Job (VIP)
Killawatt – Unit51
Gantz – You Wont Mind (Thelem Remix)
Killawatt – Static Tension
Killawatt & Ipman – Sur Place
Killawatt – Shadowboxing
Killawatt – Press On
Killawatt – Slow Beginnings
Killawatt & Matt-U – The Strangers
Killawatt – Tantra
Kilawatt & Ipman – Darkplace
Ipman – Sensory Deprivation
Double Helix – LDN
Deadbeat – Lazy Jane
Commodo – Hyperreal
Geode – Phi