K Stylz aka Kamar Graham is the newest member of The Blast family. Although he’s been DJing for nigh on 15 years, shutting down raves in London and Birmingham, as well as making a name on the international club scenes in ‘Napa and Marbella, he’s now focusing all his energy on his hometown of Bristol.
At only 27 years old, Kamar has achieved a lot in his DJ career – starting out very, very young. Although as the nephew of Bristol house and garage veteran DJ Deli-G, you could say that music runs in his family. In that time, he’s been able to master several genres, settling now somewhere between house, garage and deep tech.
as the nephew of Bristol house and garage veteran DJ Deli-G, you could say that music runs in his family
‘When I first started DJing I was playing hip hop and R&B, then when I met Blazey (Bodynod) I started doing garage and grime. Around 2006, I started doing UK funky, but with a deep tech and deep house sort of feel.
‘Although because of my uncle, I’ve always been around and loved house and garage. Over the past year and a half, I started merging garage, tech, bass and house within my sets.’
It was also around that time that Kamar first turned his hand to producing, with original mixes starting to appear on his Soundcloud and, more recently, in his live sets.
‘About a year and a half ago, I decided that I need to start producing. I’ve been in studios before, but there’s only so much you can learn from sitting there looking at them doing all the mad stuff!
‘I was on Facebook and I saw an ad for dBs music school. I was working full time at that point, but I decided then that if they did an evening course, I would do it. Luckily, they did, and that’s where I learnt most of my production skills.
‘From there I joined their uni course and I’m now in my first year at dBs doing music production and sound engineering.
‘So I’ve not been producing for that long, but recently I’ve actually been able to start finishing tunes, mastering them, mixing them and getting them out there – and I’ve been getting a good reaction from the tracks I’ve been putting out.
I don’t sing and I don’t rap, but I’ve always said if I start making my own tunes then I’ll vocal them myself
‘I literally just finished up a track today, which is a remix of the Cleptomaniacs tune All I Do, but because it’s a bootleg I can’t officially release it. If I get clearance on it I’ll release it, but if not I’ve got lots of other stuff lined up, which are fully my own vocals and everything. I don’t sing and I don’t rap, but I’ve always said if I start making my own tunes then I’ll vocal them myself.’
It’s pretty clear that he’s not just playing around with producing, and after 15 years DJing, we’re about to witness his transmogrification into fully-fledged tune-maker. For a DJ with such varied taste in music – and one who isn’t interested in pigeon holing himself – we’re really excited to see what he comes out with.
‘By October, hopefully I can get an EP ready to actually put out as an official first release. At the moment, as a fresh producer – and I listen to a lot of different music: hip hop, garage, grime, house, techno, reggae, bashment – I don’t want to pigeon hole myself, but I have noticed that a lot of the stuff I’m making is garage and house influenced.
At the moment, as a fresh producer… I don’t want to pigeon hole myself
‘I think the main influences are from the era of 2012-2014, when I was listening to the deep house scene. Not the more fluffy stuff that you’d get at Defected raves – which I’d still listen to – but from when I used to go up to raves in Birmingham like Pandora, where they played the darker, deeper, bass stuff.
‘Some of it crosses over into bassline / garage – it’s still got all the vocals and melodies and fluffier stuff, because I like something I can sing along to, but also stuff that I can skank to.
I like something I can sing along to, but also stuff that I can skank to
‘So that’s what I’m trying to make – whether it’s garage, house or whatever, hopefully it’s something that I can play in the club. I’ve got a vision of the stuff that I want to make, but genre-wise I’m not pigeon holing myself.’
Although K-Stylz has been a major presence on the national and international scene for a long time, he’s flown relatively under the radar in Bristol until now.
Locally, you can expect to see him at West Fest in October, South West Dance Festival in July with Garage Nation, and of course, this year’s Sequences Festival with The Blast
‘I’m glad at the moment that I’m focusing more on Bristol,’ he says. ‘When they (The Blast) asked me to be part of it, it made me feel like I’d finally been accepted into the Bristol music scene.
The music family in Bristol is really close. Everyone’s got their little section and it can be quite cliquey at times, but being a part of The Blast means that the underground scene has finally accepted me
‘The music family in Bristol is really close. Everyone’s got their little section and it can be quite cliquey at times, but being a part of The Blast means that the underground scene has finally accepted me – because they’ve always known about me, they’ve always made me aware that they know I’m there, but for them to officially ask me to be part of The Blast means a lot.’
At Sequences, K-Stylz will play Motion’s Front Yard on a stage lineup working its way up to Chase and Status, including Sam Binga b2b Chimpo and Trigga, Elijah and Skilliam, Kojo Funds and Flava D.
‘I’ve been thinking about what kind of set I’m going to do at Sequences, because when I played the EZ event in December, I got there late and they were doing the whole back to back set and everyone was battering all the tunes, and I thought, what am I going to go in with?
‘I decided to just feed off what everyone else was playing and mix it up with the UK trap sort of stuff and grime, and see if I could mix in the new deep tech sound, because it all works around the 125-130bpm, and it went off – I was actually shocked at the reaction I got from the crowd.
People know that they’re getting a 4/4 sort of sound from me, regardless of whether it’s trap, grime, tech, house or whatever
‘So I’ve been working on that since then, building on it, and now people know that they’re getting a 4/4 sort of sound from me, regardless of whether it’s trap, grime, tech, house or whatever. But the crowd like it, so I’m building a set around that and hopefully it works. The rest of the people on the lineup are all from one of the genres in some sort of way, so it should work!
‘It’s about bringing the vibe, because I like the party vibe – I’m not going to lie, I’m a proper raver.
‘And I’ve got to say, hold tight my guys – Blazey, Fire Man Sam, K-Krush and The Blast – and shout out to the Bristol scene, because if it wasn’t for them and the ravers and all the supporters, I wouldn’t be here.’
Photography: Dominika Scheibinger
Shoot location: Old Butchers & Bedminster Skate Park