Up there in Manchester Krystal Klear has come through as a shining light. After moving to the north-west region from his native Ireland a few years ago, he has quickly established himself as a purveyor of top quality dance music, whether it be disco-leaning cuts, to straight up house bangers. He’s been working closely with the wonderful Yasmin over the last couple of years and the fruits of the labour is out right now on Rinse… the single, called ‘One Night Only’, is a great funky little number that channels the eighties in a big way. We chatted with him about Manchester and his link up with Yasmin…
How’s 2015 going so far?
It’s probably the most productive start to a year that I have ever had, to be honest. I’ve been in the studio all of January.
Have you started out 2015 with a firm plan about what you want to achieve? If so, what are you key targets?
Yeah, I feel like I have got off to a good start. I’ve been making a lot of music, which is something I haven’t done in some time, as I’ve been gigging a lot. It’s been nice to take some time off and get some tracks done. That’s what I kind of want to achieve this year, just releasing more music on my own terms
Tell us about the new single on Rinse…
Yasmin and myself were working extensively together about two years ago. We were constantly meeting up and writing demos, from house to r’n’b, slow jams to ballads, even some singer songwriter stuff. But with the most recent track, Yasmin was up staying with us in the studio and she was having a really bad day, and went back to her apartment, locked herself in her room and came back about two hours later, saying, ‘I’ve got this hook for this track, get to the studio quickly’. We had a couple of beers and it was done.
How’s everything in Manchester, music-wise, at the moment?
Manchester’s pretty prosperous with music at the minute, it seems like the north of the UK has had an increasing boom in music over the last five years. People are taking a huge interest in the likes of Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, as well as other places like Sheffield and Nottingham. Nightlife has had a massive spurt, so it’s kind of propelled a lot of younger people and crews to get together to make more music and put on more club nights. For me, living in Manchester, we’re pretty spoilt for choice. There’s very rarely a weekend that passes that there’s not something worth checking out.
In terms of the scene, there’s no such thing as rivalry, everyone’s really supportive of what everyone’s doing. For myself, I’m not really into bashment or grime, but I still mix with those guys that are doing that thing over here. It’s a communal vibe and everyone’s out for the same goal, so everyone’s very supportive of each other.
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How has the city’s club scene changed over the last few years?
When I first moved to Manchester, everyone seemed to be into dubstep, maybe a bit of jungle and garage at a push, and the only thing I could sort of relate to was garage – even though I wasn’t that hip to garage music, as it wasn’t a part of my aesthetic growing up, but from listening to disco and house, garage is obviously a derivative of that.
Obviously everyone is listening to house now, which is a good and a bad thing. Good, because it gives solid promoters that chance to bring over the likes of Glenn Underground or Ron Trent to Manchester, knowing that they’d be able to fill the club out, whereas there may have been time when that wasn’t doable due to the lack of popularity around the scene. The bad thing though, is that it’s become over-saturated, so there’s a lot of shit club nights going on.
The city itself has seen a fair amount of changes, how do you feel about Manchester’s development over the last decade or so?
I’ve only been living here fro around six years, so I’m probably not qualified enough to give an opinion compared to an old-school Mancunian, but like I said, unity is definitely a word that describes the scene in Manchester. For the past five years it seems more people are coming together to try and achieve individual goals, be it setting up club nights, setting up labels, or in bands, I think before hand, maybe six to seven years ago people may have thought the idea of going out and making tunes and being successful off the back of it was little far fetched, and I think they realise now that you’ve just got to put yourself out there.
How has the local scene inspired you as a musician?
It’s taught me tons of things, number one, it’s taught me to know what I’m talking about, as I learned very early on, Mancunians aren’t arrogant but are very knowledgeable on what they like. I came over here a bit wet behind the ears, thinking I knew a lot about what I knew, but you learn very quickly you don’t. I think that’s been a big thing, being easy to learn in an environment and not feeling stupid for wanting to know certain things.
Also, the people I hang with are very influential on what I do (not necessarily influencing the sound of the music I make), it’s very – without sounding like a wank – inspiring. It gets me motivated to write a tune. There’s been many times when I’ve gone for a coffee with either Lone, Illum Sphere or Jon K and we’ll be having a brew and I’ll just need to get back to the studio as the conversation has really changed my perspective. I could be having a shit day and it’ll put me in a good mood.
Any local artists who you looked to when you were younger?
Being from Ireland, there wasn’t really anyone from the mainstream scene, but there were a lot of people who influenced me and who I looked up to, wanting to follow in their steps.
Be our tour guide briefly… if we were coming up to Manchester for a day or so, which spots would you recommend for:
Food: Soup Kitchen.
Drinks: Soup Kitchen.
Raving: I’d be mad not to say the night I help run called Hoya:Hoya. Apart from that: Warehouse Project, Sankeys, Basement at Soup Kitchen.
A place to lay your head: Hopefully beside a beautiful girl.
Where do you like to hang out/DJ when you’re in London?
There’s nowhere in particular, but I guess Market Café, in terms of hanging out. A lot of people I know around London seem to enjoy it there. Again, for DJing, nowhere in particular, but probably room 2 at fabric.
We hear you’re working with Bodyjack on some stuff, can you tell us about that collaboration?
Bodyjack is releasing a remix for me, we’ve spoken about doing a couple of things together, which we probably will. I’m currently moving out of Manchester so we won’t have that much time to work on a collaboration, but there will be something in the pipeline. I really enjoy some of the 12”s he’s released, I’m a soft touch for records of pure club fodder. You give me four tracks of pure hard drums, I’ll probably buy double of it every time, I’m an absolute sucker for that. So I think it would be cool to collaborate on something in the future.
‘One Night Only’ by Krystal Klear (featuring Yasmin) is out now, pick it up here.