Known for his dark and bass-heavy sound, producer and DJ Kastle has been developing his original style ever since he taught himself guitar and piano at the age of twelve. Armed with a degree in audio engineering and an aptitude for using R&B influences and samples, his tunes are suitable for happy hours and afterhours alike. His remix work includes dancefloor-friendly spins on tracks like Cassie's "Me & U" and Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home," with the latter reaching almost half a million collective views on YouTube. We caught up with Kastle, and got him to talk about his upcoming album and what he misses about San Francisco. He plays at Vessel tomorrow night.
You've played many festivals this year, which has been the most memorable?
I think Coachella always stands out to me. It's such a great gathering of people. And knowing that people were coming back to see me a second year in a row was a crazy feeling.
We've heard you're working on a new album. How has your sound grown from your debut album last year?
Yes, I am very excited about this album. It is definitely an evolution of my sound. After the last album I spent a lot of time remixing so it's been very nice to dive a little deeper and back to writing originals. So far the album is sounding very.... dark and blissful. I am exploring some new emotions. Still soulful, but perhaps with a bit more edge.
Any collaborations we can look forward to on the new album?
Lots of exciting collaborations are planned. Don't want to give anything away just yet.
When releasing an album from your own label, Symbols, is there more pressure or less?
I prefer to write with no pressure at all. I'm writing this album for the sake of expression, not to meet a deadline or some sort of imaginary quota.
The Symbols Facebook page is often full of inspiring quotes from famous authors. What's a quote that has been meaningful to you in terms of your music career?
I have followed Emerson's "A man is what he thinks about all day long" advice for a very long time, not only in my music career but in everyday life. It has been written at the top of my white board for... several years now and I read it as a daily reminder. It's important that we wake up with a fresh and positive mind, determine our goals, and then get to work.
Where's your favorite place to discover new artists?
Soundcloud, Rdio, Tumblr, and the occasional trading with friends. Always have my ear open when I'm traveling, especially overseas, for fresh sounds.
Any artists that you are looking forward to featuring?
Our Parables Vol. 2 compilation is coming out early June to mark our two-year anniversary, and it is full of new and exciting artists. Red Milk, Jonah Baseball, Arapaima, Spitze, SeventhWonder, Kline, and Fei-Fei just to name a few.
Also, any chance of your Coffee Shop At the End of Universe Vol. 5 coming out soon?
Yes, it's coming soon! Hang tight.
Do you change up your sound from big stages to smaller stages, which you will be playing at this Friday?
Slightly, but not a whole lot. It really depends on the crowd; I play every show by ear and by the vibe. At most festivals even what I would consider a "banger" is completely different to the usual standard, but I am happy to stand out.
You've been traveling all around the nation and now reside is Los Angeles, but when you come back to S.F. (where you were based for a long time), what's your ritual?
Always nice to come back to San Francisco! Unfortunately I am in and out this trip, but I'll definitely hit up one of my favorite food spots. Last time I went to Farmer Brown. Might have to get to the Mission... big fan of places like Andalu, Garcon, and Beretta. I always leave SF with at least 2-3 pounds of coffee from Philz and Four Barrel.