KPT: Dubstep just hurts my head after a certain amount of time

KPT: Dubstep just hurts my head after a certain amount of time
Clarence Reed

Throwing a David Lynch-themed dance party, but have no idea what to play? Wonder no more, massive Twin Peaks fan KPT, pronounced "kept," crafts the perfect tracks for the occasion. KPT is a genre-bending dark electronica producer based in Minneapolis. His music, at once sparse and complex, has a distinct element of unpredictability. It's professional, polished, fresh, and just the right amount of weird.

KPT works his magic live at Honey tonight at his event EDM IT THEN. Billed as an evening of intimate, innovative electronica, it showcases artists from a range of worlds within EDM and features Phenetik, Trouble Lights and Elevated States. Whatever your flavor you'd be hard-pressed to find a better spot for electronica on a Tuesday night.

Ahead of the show, Gimme Noise caught up with KPT to talk the local EDM scene, getting love from Linkin Park, and why dubstep makes his head hurt. Plus, check out the exclusive premiere of his newest track, "Fine," below.

See also:
Four reasons Lollapalooza needs EDM
EDM showcase Electrovember to nurture local dance music's next generation

Gimme Noise: You started making music as KPT in 2012. Did you have any other projects before that? How did you get into making your style of electronic music specifically?

KPT: I started making music probably a little more than 15 years ago. I've always been into electronica and hip-hop, and my prior projects were a little more experimental. And I just didn't think they were getting the attention they deserved. And after some time planning and rethinking things I decided to go for more of a dance vibe, less experimental, still dark but a little more accessible I think than the stuff I had done prior, which is why I think I decided to start fresh with KPT last year.

Has it been at all weird to have extra publicity come via Linkin Park tweeting your tracks out as part of The Grammys' amplifier promotion? Is that something you expected to happen at all?

KPT: Dubstep just hurts my head after a certain amount of time

(laughs) No, that was a huge surprise. I've always kind of been a fan of Linkin Park. I didn't quite enjoy their earlier stuff so much, but I like Mike Shinoda's project Fort Minor -- I don't know if you've heard them at all.

I have a couple times, but I think my impression of Linkin Park is similar to a lot of people's, in that I only know their earlier stuff from when I was in, like, ninth grade and I have that sort of association with them. I really don't know what they've been doing since.

Exactly. It was definitely a surprise, but a good surprise. I was floored for, like, two days; it was really cool. I gained a few more fans online via that exposure but I don't expect it to go any further unfortunately. You never know. The goal of the contest, if you want to call it that, was to get as many people to tweet out your link as possible [before the bands made their picks]. I don't think I had anybody tweet out my link (laughs). So it was kind of neat to not have had that back-up support but still have someone that's respected in the industry say "Listen, I think this is good." It was neat that he actually seemed to go through and listen to the submissions, and that just shows [that he picked] what he liked, rather than what got the most tweets or likes.

You say that all of your tracks are done live first. How do you set up what you're doing live and how do you translate that into recorded tracks?

Well I write for each set individually as much as possible. There's been one instance so far when I had to double-up and play a set I've already played. But if I've got time, like a week at least, I'll go ahead and write a unique half-an-hour set for each event.

Is your set at EDM IT THEN going to be original?

Yeah, this is going to be an original set. What I basically do is record and write with a mix of both hardware and software. I'll lay some backing tracks out in Ableton, experiment with different sounds, and then add on top of that with the drums and the synths and the controllers. I'll rehearse a few times and then it's performed live essentially for the first time.

What I do after that then, or what I have done so far, is take elements from the live set after the fact -- I'll either record it live so I can have something to listen to after, or I'll perform it and record it in studio afterwards -- and use those as official tracks.


So are a lot of your official tracks actually in-studio performances? Because that strikes me as unusual for electronica.

Yeah, I imagine it is. I'll listen to the live shows after the fact and say "Ok, this section is going to be the next official track." Or I'll have an idea while I'm writing it, but until it's actually recorded and I listen to it after the fact I'm never 100 percent sure. Then I'll go ahead and exploit that, basically, out of the live set and edit it ever so slightly here and there -- intros and outros. I think that adds a lot to the overall dance production vibe of my official tracks. They come off a little more sincere maybe than your average trance or electro track.

How do you feel about dubstep? And when I say dubstep I mean very mainstream, "bro-step" dubstep that's popular right now. It has gotten more people into EDM, but it's also, you know, "off" sometimes.

To sum it up I had the chance to go see Glitch Mob a while back at First Avenue. I'm not too familiar with them, but I'd heard a couple tracks and though I'd liked them. They were late going on and the DJ prior played nothing but dubstep. I had to leave, before Glitch Mob even came on (laughs). It was bad; I just couldn't take it any more. It was so repetitive; it just hurt my head after a certain amount of time. To be honest, what I've heard I don't like. I know a lot of people love it and a lot of people just praise Skrillex and everyone else that's doing it, but I just can't get into it.

That's totally fair and understandable. Where do you see the particular community in the Twin Cities moving?

I would hope that things will grow, especially scene-related things. I've been involved in the music industry and Minneapolis scene for over ten years now promoting other artists and setting up shows. Especially lately, in the electronica scene, I've seen a whole lot of cliquey-ness. I don't think it's necessarily intentional, but I really hope people can branch out more and include other sub-genres in different shows and grow as an underground community.

How did you bring together EDM IT THEN? Are you artists who work together often, or did it just kind of happen?

We were offered the night by Honey, basically. I had worked with Phenetik in the past, who's opening. He's a really down to earth guy and a great, great producer. I think I actually approached Trouble Lights, from Iowa, first. I actually met them a few years back down in Fairfield, Iowa, at David Lynch weekend. I approached them to bring it up here for their debut and they agreed. Phenetik was down, and he suggested Elevated State. I listened to them; I dug and put them on.

Basically it was kind of set up to be diverse, hand-selected original electronica. I didn't want a specific sub-genre show; I didn't want a specific theme. Just overall encompassing quality EDM.

Check out EDM IT THEN at Honey on March 12. 9:00 p.m. / $5 / 21+
Check out KPT here.

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