For the past eight years, Keith P has been best known for his goth and dark wave nights, but before that stint in the dark realm, Keith was one of the most cutting edge bass DJs in the city. He used to be a regular at Dub Assembly, where he was known for his technical ability behind the decks and encyclopedic knowledge of UK bass culture stretching from UK garage to dubstep, grime, the sounds of FWD and house music. His vinyl collection is chock full of enough hard-to-find vinyl to make even the most diehard Discogs shopper jealous.
After his lengthy break from club music, Keith P is not only back but also producing tracks. Three of his tunes are in this week's mixtape, which sounds like a college course primer on UK grime. For the accompanying Q&A, Keith explains his journey from UK bass junky to gothic overlord and back.
How did you get started DJing? How long have you been at it?
I started in ‘99 after I’d spent the majority of my high school years attending local raves. Before that I’d been exposed to rave culture while growing up in the Tri-State. Those were the days of Frankie Knuckles and early Jungle. My first residency was at a night called “Funkdays,” which as far as I’m concerned was the first UK garage night in the States. That would put me on 16 years running as a gigging DJ and producer.
Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
The whole mix is grime, from old to new. I moved between emotional states but it’s predominately aggressive, as is the nature of grime music. I’ve recorded FX while live in the mix, as is usual for grime DJs that are broadcasting over pirate radio.
Where do you dig for tracks for your sets?
Some are from my vinyl collection, some are bought from places like Juno and Boomkat, others are from the producers themselves. This mix features four of my own songs. One I’d written in 2004, while other material will feature on a forthcoming grime compilation by Brunswick Sound.
After spending many years in the bass scene, you took a pretty lengthy break to pursue other very different music styles. What brought you back to club music?
I’d spent maybe eight years promoting post punk, goth, industrial and noise. While that music remains close to my heart, I also feel that spirit is being carried out in a wider cultural breadth. The sentiments of punk or goth are mirrored in different spheres, or more specifically in areas of the world where people are struggling economically or with social issues. As far as I’m concerned, discontent breeds honest music and I feel that to be the same in East London or Dallas. More to the point, electronic music is on an upswing and going through a sort of renaissance. Conversely I’m finding the status quo of “goth” refuses to move beyond its 100-song catalog. As a musician, this sort of resistance to change is anathema to the very person I am.
How did you get involved with club music in the beginning?
I started with a pair of 1200s and a fledgling vinyl collection that was being supplied by Core Records and Oaklawn Records. Couple that with a few renegade gigs and a power generator and I had my start.
What DJs and producers have had a significant impact on you as an artist?
Trent Reznor, Wiley, Ben Deitz (RIP), BWWWOYS, Alias, cEvin Key.
What other genres of music do you enjoy outside of dance music?
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Classical, noise, ambient, black metal and really filthy rap.
What is your most memorable music experience of the past year?
Lars Ward, Audrey Lee and 4-D organized a Dallas date for Murlo’s tour. It was the first time in years I’d pulled my grime white labels. I hadn’t felt energy like that in God knows how long. That experience single-handedly brought me back into writing and playing grime again. Granted, my influences are going to remain varied, but it was a sort of coming home for me. My last grime set may very well have been with Wiley in New York in 2008.
2. IglewXSkepta-Bad Myth(Oneman Edit)
3. Future Brown-World’s Mine feat. Prince Rapid, Dirty Danger, and Roachee
5. WEN feat RikoDan-Play Your Corner(Kahn & Neek Rmx)
6. Skepta-That’s Not Me (feat. JME)
7. Keith P-Instant Messenger
8. Wiley-Private Caller 3
9. Cakes Da Killa-Truth Tella
10. T-Star-Biryani(Dr. Venom Rmx)
12. JT The Good-Eski Moment
13. Wiley/Zomby-Step 2001
14. Dizzee Rascal-Mashup
15. Keith P-Pulse Bounce
16. Big$hot-Stomp My Pussy
17. JME-Pulse 8 Royal T-Shotta(feat P Money)
18. Bulma-Player One
19. Keith P-E3 Collosi
21. Keith P-BBiGurll