King of the Beats: A Q&A with Kilter

Australian electronic music continues to go from strength to strength, with many artists constantly raising the bar higher and higher in the calibre of their music and live shows. However, with more and more artists jumping on the bandwagon, the scene can become a little oversaturated, and it takes something special to stand out from the rest.

This brings me to Kilter, or Ned East. His tropical, upbeat, pumping tracks have made their way into more than a few pairs of ears, and 2014 saw him have his biggest year yet. His Shades EP was a huge success, and saw the Sydneysider conquer 28 dates, as well as hitting the road with RUFUS, The Kite String Tangle and Art Vs Science. He ALSO played at Listen Out, Field Day, Southbound and Big Day Out!

2015 is proving no different, as Kilter brings his percussion-laden live beats to Mountain Sounds alongside Alison Wonderland, Touch Sensitive and DZ Deathrays this March in Kariong, Central Coast, NSW! The camping festival has already sold out of Early Bird tickets, so better jump on dat shit quiiiiick!

We got to ask Ned a few questions ahead of his set, to find out a little bit more about the beatmaker.

Hey Ned, thanks for answering these questions for us! First of all congratulations on such a huge year – can you tell us some of the highlights of 2014?
Thank you! Up until half way through 2014 I hadn’t really released much original music, just a couple of remixes. So a massive highlight was putting out the Shades EP and seeing how amazingly listeners and crowds reacted to my own material.

For those who are unfamiliar with you, can you tell us a bit about your live set up?
Pretty much lots of stuff to hit and gadgets to fiddle with! I come from a performing background having played drums and piano for most of my life so I wanted to incorporate as many “real” instrumentals as I could. While I’m always adding gear my current set up is a Roland 404sx sampler, Roland SPD-s Drum Pad, Microkorg and a set of roto toms and cymbals.

Tell me about Listen Out, there was a buggy shipping Tkay Maidza to make your set in time to play They Say right?
Listen Out was awesome. It was the first time I had done a full festival tour rather than just playing the Sydney stop or something. It was great to hang out with heaps of international artists who I really love as well as the loose times that always come about while on the road with my Aussie mates.
Tkay is the best, she would run straight from her stage as soon as she finished to perform They Say as the finale for my show. I was ready to try sing it myself if she got lost on the way 😉

How did you find the tour you did this year, with so many dates? Any touring tips you can fill us in on how to survive the gruelling schedule?
In between my own tours and touring as support for Rufus, The Kite String Tangle and Art vs Science as well as the festivals, I think i spent more time on the road than in my own bed. My tip is sleep wherever you can- I’ve gotten great at sleeping on flights. It was great through, tour times are definitely one of the best things about writing music.

You played so many different places – how does it compare playing say a Sydney club show, then a regional club show, then Splendour? Do you shake things up for each?
Definitely. Certain things work much better in some environments than others. For example in an intimate Sydney show like the Oxford Art Factory gigs you can afford to take your time and have lulls in the intensity of the set while at a big festival like Splendour it’s great to keep the crowd moving and excited.

You’ve never really been a “DJ”, and have showed off your musical talents – how did you get into your style of electronic music without that DJ aspect that so many others have?
I don’t really think the way you perform your music has a massive effect on what you listen to. For example I love the same sort of music that my friends who might not have had the same musical upbringing as myself. However I feel like when I am writing new tunes I often think of what might work well for the live show and this changes the way I write.

You’ve collaborated with quite a variety of people, but I think the most interesting collaboration is with Citizen Kay – it’s definitely my favourite on your EP – how did that come about?
The instrumental for Alive Again was actually one of the first tracks I wrote for the EP. Originally it had a little vocal sample from an old soul track but I decided to take this out and find a feature artist. I struggled a little to find someone who would suit the track as I definitely wanted it to be a rap track. Around the same time Citizen Kay was getting radio spins on a few things and he jumped to my attention. He is a legend I’ve been lucky enough to have him perform live with me a few times now!

You seem to have quite a strong hip hop influence in your music – is that something you’ve always been a fan of?
I started off listening to hip hop- producers like J Dilla, Q Tip and DJ Premiere. You might be able to dig up some old tunes of mine (circa 2012) that are pretty much sample based hiphop. I still listen to it a fair bit but am very much a dance man now!

Do you think people take to your music differently compared to DJs due to your live

Sometimes it’s hard when I have to drag a massive live rig around the country and the show might not go as well as I hoped with the crowd not really understanding what I am doing and then a DJ comes on after me and plays a set full of bangers made by other people. Generally though, a more educated crowd will really appreciate the live show.

You were on a panel for EMC as well as performing, how was that experience? What did you discuss there?
That was a pretty cool experience chatting with people like Laidback Luke, Nina Las Vegas and What So Not. The panel was about success which was something I didn’t really feel as qualified in next to these huge international artists. It actually ended up working really well as smaller artists like myself and Basenji were able to talk about the success we have found on a much smaller scale which could have been a lot more relevant and useful to the aspiring artists in the audience.

What can we expect still to come from you?

2015 I am cutting back on the shows and really focusing on writing both for myself and other people. I already have some pretty juicy tracks in the works that I will hopefully be able to show everybody soon. There will definitely still be gigs though, keep an eye out!

Alison Wonderland
Acaddemy // AViVAA // Carmada // Coda // Colour Cage // Daniel Lee Kendall // D.D Dumbo // Dr Kong & the Stem Cells // DZ Deathrays // East // East of Here // The Griswolds // Harper // Hatch // Lemond // Little Earthquake // The Jungle Giants // Kilter // The Kite String Tangle // Luke Million // Northeast Party House // Nova & The Experience // Odd Mob // Owen Rabbit // Pepa Knight // PH Fat // Ratlife DJ’s // Rookie // SAFIA // Stephane 1993 // Sydney Social DJ’s // Tkay Maidza // Touch Sensitive // Tropical Zombie // Via Alchemy // White Walkers // Zavier
Mountain Sounds Festival 
Saturday, February 21st 2015
Mount Penang Parklands, Kariong, NSW
Early-bird tickets SOLD OUT.
First Release NOW ON SALE  $89 + BF and available here.
Final Release tickets will be on sale soon $99 + BF