Katalyst has been a staple in the local drum and bass scene since the late '90s. Originally a death metal and punk drummer, his migration to the high-tempo breaks of drum and bass was a logical artistic progression. For the second installment of our new DC9 at Night mixtape series, Katalyst provided us with an outstanding mix of cutting edge drum and a very in-depth Q&A session. You can see him opening for the legendary Doc Scott at It'll Do Club this coming Friday.
DC9 at Night: How did you get started DJing?
Katalyst: I started DJ'ing after attending parties and clubs for years. I was drumming in death metal and punk bands but enjoyed electronic music after Rick Simpson brought in Prodigy Experience and the early Dust Bros (Chemical Bros.) stuff into our high school electronic music course. Rick and Robert Ethetton a.k.a. DJ D-Vine had been the foundation to introduce me to and take me to my first ever events. I really loved hearing that early hardcore breakbeat sound and the DJs who were spinning it but it was few and far between. Rob Vaughn was one of the first people I saw to do a jungle set at an outdoor Zedan party and knew from that point that was music that made me want to DJ.
When did you first perform?
D-Vine showed me some of the basics of mixing and then about a year later, I decided to take the plunge becoming Space Ace and doing the first 32 degree party besides playing just about every house, sorority, frat party in Denton we could jam at. At the first 32 party at Dred N Irie, I scared everyone there playing some intense stuff and cleared the floor playing "Shadowboxing" before Squirt murdered it [by] dropping the Fugees' "Ready or Not" bootleg. After that show, I felt I was onto something because I didn't play anything everyone else did but needed a new name. A few days later I was helping my mom grade her science class papers, had that "aha" moment when the word came across, Katalyst was born and the rest is history.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
I really wanted to push a different vibe of drum and bass. I plan on doing another mix to continue what was started here since I realized my time constraints would be the biggest hurdle. I wanted to mix some classic tunes, new stuff, and unreleased gems I held onto and make it palatable to others. I also wanted to make the mix dynamic in the selection and energy, not just a collection of primetime heavy tunes... I try to just knock out mixes in one take and don't keep going back when a mistake is made. I think of them like gigs. A snapshot of that time and moment. A lot of my best gigs and mixes have moments where I just try something on the fly that works and also once the energy is going my mind is clear on where I want to go musically.
Who are some of your favorite DJs or producers?
I got to give respect and shouts to friends doing it big and continuing to do it big. Redeye, Demarkus Lewis, Maceo Plex a.k.a. Maetrik a.k.a. Mariel Ito, Anthony "Mayhem" Rotella, A1, Darren Dbridge, Teebee, Mala, Kai, Martyn, Skynet and Fanu are a few that come to mind.
Which do you prefer: DJing or producing?
I love DJing very much and especially playing when the energy is bursting from the crowd to you. I started producing the same time as DJing but the DJing took off so fast for me I stopped producing to tour. The last few years I put together a new studio set up so it is taking precedence now and I am rarely gigging out. I still play out and about in the U.S. but not much at home like before.
How many releases do you have out there?
I have not officially released anything but the plan is to change all that in 2015. I am finally at a place where I feel I want to be production wise. I have a ton of dubs, bootlegs, and bits I play out but never released officially.
Do you still buy vinyl? If so do you have a favorite record store?
I will always buy vinyl! I will always love vinyl. I was probably one of the last kids on earth to crossover into buying tapes and CDs from vinyl. Core will always be my favorite record store since Booth, Reggie (RIP) and Lance gave me a chance to spread my musical wings and help numerous djs get their fix. We set the stage of success to keep that store open and through several other owners long after it was sold by Reggie and Lance. Redeye Records and Surus are favorites to buy vinyl from since you can get the digital download immediately. Metalheadz, Exit, Soul:R, and many of my favorite labels have their own online stores or run through sites like Bandcamp.
Out of your catalogue of tracks do you have a particular favorite?
Two Actually. "Stormshadow-Katalyst & Dead Channel," my first proper tune. My roommate was doing hardcore tunes and is a killer producer. He was the one to introduce me to production teaching me FT2 and letting me make all kinds of racket in learning how to chop beats and use samples. Once I was pretty good we started playing around with some drum and bass breaks and then got serious on a break we did. We did it in 4 hours on Fasttracker II and I still love listening to it. [And] "Ajax-Katalyst & Turtle-Busytown Recordings." [It was ] never released since Busytown folded shortly after completing this tune... The beats and sounds were played live and using some basic stuff but the vibes and energy were killer. I played it out that weekend at one our first Zedan parties at the Ridglea Theater. One of the best feelings in the world.
Besides your own residencies what DJ nights do you like to frequent?
Two Tone has been great on Thursday nights. I try to make it to Frenzi in Houston as well when I can. I will check out Saturday nights at It'll Do with Redeye since its right up the street from where I live and Demarkus' Grin Nights gigs. I love my homeboy Leo J's Too Fresh events as well. One of the hardest working cats in the Texas music scene pushing fantastic nights such as Fresh 45s. I am very excited to check out Decks in the Park! My work schedule hasn't allowed me to check it out so far but the stars have aligned and I am looking forward to being at the park and hearing great music at this next one coming up.
What gigs do you have in the near future?
August 8 I will be opening for Doc Scott along with Mythic, Noso, and MC Astro at It'll Do. I have been waiting to get Doc Scott here for years and finally Mythic and I got a date sorted out. Another milestone for this show is that it is the first drum and bass show happening at It'll Do. Shouts to Brooke and Scottie for allowing us to step into a great venue and host this show.
1. Intro-The Upbeats 2. Derrick May-Sounds Of Life (John Tejada Rmx)-Unreleased 3. Nu:Tone Ft. Commix-Take Me Back-Hospital 4. Vicious Circle-Havana-Digital Soundboy 5. Calibre-Dema Beats-Signature 6. Blue Mar Ten-Break It All Apart-Blu Mar Ten 7. Mayhem, Logam-Classic-Santoku 8. Seba-Physickl-Secret Operations 9. Instra:Mental-Thugtronika-Exit 10. Technical Itch-Defined-Technical Itch 11. Future Forces, Dj Kane-Morpheus-Renegade Hardware 12. Rockwell-Detroit-Shogun Audio 13. System-Near Miss-Digital Soundboy 14. Mayhem, Cern-Untitled Dub 15. Nasty Habits-Shadowboxing (Om Unit Rmx)-31 Records 16. Mako-What A Little Moonlight Can Do-Warm Communications 17. Teebee-Human Reptile (Remastered)-Subtitles 18. Lenzman-Lazy Dub-Metalheadz 19. Photek-Margin '98 (Doc Scott Rmx)-Science 20. Survival-Ascendancy-Exit