KIll Frenzy Speaks About Staying Minimal On New 'Taylr Swft' Album
On November 3rd, Kill Frenzy will be dropping his debut album Taylr Swft, a 10-track album which highlights the young Belgian’s minimal approach to making booty-shaking beats. With a history of charismatic and seductive releases such as “Booty Clap” and “Naked Piano,” Sébastien Vanschoonbeek is notorious for blending a handful of genres such as techno, deep house, tech house, ghetto house, and juke into his own, erotic style of club-made tracks.
EDM.com hopped on a call with Sébastien as he was relaxing in his “home away from home” in LA, and we spoke to him about his upcoming album, his history with the infamous dirtybird label, and what he feels is the most important part about making music.
Our conversation began on the topic of his early days, when Sébastien was just a rebel-hearted teenager with a knack for dirty techno beats.
“There was just so much techno going around at the time, I remember attending this festival I Love Techno and being totally blown away the artists there, especially Dave Clarke’s set. It was at that time that I knew I wanted to emulate the sounds I had heard, and really started to pursue a career in djing and making music.”
After that festival, Sebastien started skipping school and learning how to dj from a friend, with music on his mind 24/7. Through his adolescent musical explorations, he came across ghetto house and juke, made famous by djs such as DJ Godfather, DJ Deeon, Dj Rashad and Dj Spinn. After a few years of honing his craft and releasing a couple singles, Sébastien saw it was time to take the next step in his career, and in 2012 he got his first major break with the release of the titillating single “Booty Clap” on dirtybird Records.
“I had sent in a bunch of demos in before, but I don’t think [Claude VonStroke] liked them at first (laughs aloud). But the thing about Claude is that he has an incredible vision for the label, and he knows what he wants the label to sound like, so he wasn’t going to take any random track from someone like me. It pushed me to work harder and harder, because he knew that I needed to release the best track to my abilities, and it’s driven me to be a better producer ever since.”
In the last 2 years, Kill Frenzy has released over 3 EPs, 10 singles, and a debut album on the illustrious dirtybird label. A quick stroll through his discography eludes to the fact that he likes to keep things plain and simple, implementing sub-thumping basslines, intricate drum patterns, and sexy vocal cuts into each of his productions without overdoing it.
“It seems like every year I make my songs simpler and simpler. See for me, the most simple songs are the hardest to do, because you can’t hide any mistakes or awkward grooves in the track. In the early days when I was making music, I was really scared of keeping it 'simple.' I always did something to build it up more and more, but since then I’ve realized that you can basically make any track out of one simple thing. It has to evolve of course, but theres no need to add crazy stuff. It is what it is, and if it’s not good, it’s not good.”
On Taylr Swft, the minimal approach is noticeably precedent on every single track. Popular singles like “All Night Long” and “No Panties On” really push Sébastien’s sultriness behind his productions, and his environment had a good deal to do with it.
“For ‘All Night Long,’ I was working in LA on the album, and I just woke up with the vocals in my head and recorded them instantly. I stayed in bed for a few hours making the beat and getting the melody going, but before I knew it I had the skeleton for the track and I hadn’t even gotten out of bed. It was exactly what I wanted to do, and the exact place for it to be done.”
From LA to London to Bondi Beach in Australia, Kill Frenzy says that he was not entirely influenced by his surroundings for each track, but both his location and musical background played off each other to create his original sound.
When speaking about his tracks “Kontrol," “DJ Rashad was definitely an inspiration, because despite the tracks frenetic sounds, it was actually quite simple in composition. When I made the track, I incorporated the acid 303 kicks, some vocals, claps, toms, and that was it. But, it still sounds like a lot, and that’s cool to me." With "Bondi," it was a a lot simpler. "Christian Martin and I worked on the track while staying in Bondi Beach in Australia, so that’s how we came up with the track title and some of its elements.”
Location has certainly played a role in his live performances, as this year he played throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe to crowds of thousands or an intimate few hundred. No matter the venue, whether it was an outdoor festival setting or intimate nightclub, Sébastien explains to us that each performance behind the decks reminds him exactly why he seeks djing as a career.
“Just recently, the Marquee in NYC and Bleu in Detroit have been my favorite performances. I feel like everytime I play one of those gigs, it just feels so invigorating. When the people in the crowd are feeling my set, I’m in Heaven. That’s truly all I want. My mind totally clears out, and I feel like I am in a meditative state. But, when people aren’t experiencing the same vibes, I get stuck in my head and just play what I want to play. Sometimes you can’t get them all, but I’m not playing for myself, and I’m not compromising myself either, because it’s all about finding a mutual of connection with the crowd. It’s like playing tennis with the people in the audience, bouncing ideas and grooves back and forth until you find the right rhythm.”
As 2014 comes to an end, Kill Frenzy prepares to perform one last festival performance at HARD Day of the Dead for the famed dirtybird stage, and then will be heading back into the studio to continue developing his sound and pushing more boundaries. Taylr Swft is set to release on dirtybird Records on November 3rd, so look out for Kill Frenzy's amazing debut album!