My 5 Favorite Things: Kissy Sell Out
British DJ/producer/remixer/graphic designer/San City High Record label head Kissy Sell Out is known the world over thanks to his hugely popular show on BBC Radio 1. "From the moment I first saw some of those '80s teen flicks about high school rock bands and far-out fantasy adventures as a child I knew that all I wanted to do for the rest of my life was make music and design record covers," he says. Known for pumping the freshest electro tunes on the Beeb and clubs all over the world, he also has three fantastic releases under his belt, Youth, Introducing Kissy Sell Out and Wild Romance, under his belt and performs live with his band. We asked Kissy about five of his favorite things, and he was more than happy to comply.
1. Reading About The Universe. This is a relatively new thing that's taken over my life, but ever since I saw the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image I have been obsessed with everything to do with the universe. The image zooms in on a needle-point section of the sky and reveals a space, not full of twinkling stars, but vast galaxies inconceivably far away from our own Milky Way. Every week I find out something new and profound about the universe from reading books or going online and I love that. Like the fact that 1 meter is defined as the length of the path traveled by light in 1⁄299,792,458 of a second, or that space is expanding at a rate faster than the speed of light meaning there is light coming from far off filaments of galaxy super clusters that will never reach us.....and yet scientists still can't explain simple human phenomena such as the purpose of crying when we hurt ourselves or feel happy, or why yawning is infectious?!
2. Noise isolating headphones. ...and sounds of the ocean, calming thunderstorm, tropical rivers, whatever floats your boat really! This is one of the few things I've found that makes frequent traveling bearable. It also means my ears exist in oddly extreme environments of either banging dance music super ambient soundscapes. While flights get delayed, luggage gets lost, symphonies of babies scream in packed spaces with no air-conditioning, the opportunity to disappear off into another world never gets old. My favorite is listening to an extended version of "In Trutina (Carmina Burana)" by Chris Coco & Sacha Puttnam (look it up on iTunes) which I mixed with sounds of waves crashing.
3. The San City High demo mail bag. As an originally quite timid person (certainly at the start of my career), something I used to struggle with when going on stage, was justifying to myself that I was worthy of performing to big crowds of music loving people. I used to over-think this a lot, probably because I too am such a massive music fan myself. Oddly it's this insecurity I've had which has powered my obsession for discovering new music in an entirely positive way. If you'd told me how many demos and free records I get sent to my studio these days when I was at school, I would've fainted from a mixture of excitement and disbelief! Listening to everything that gets sent to the mail box at my San City High record label studio has, therefore, become one of my favorite things to do. I'm obsessed with tracks by Botnek, ETC!ETC!, Paul David and Pleasurekraft at the moment.
4. Pioneer CDJ 2000 Decks. Finally! The time to switch over has happened! Although I have a purist streak in my blood, I'll always take the fun options in life over extreme geekery. So with that in mind, while it's very important to me to keep a strong element of old school U.K. jungle/speed garage in my DJ style — rewinds, double-dropping basslines, etc. — the complexity of my four-deck mixing has moved with technology. It could never work with vinyl, and even CDs are starting to give me the blues. The Pioneer CDJ decks have been a huge thing in my performance style. I was initially very suspicious about the CDJ-2000 as even now the response times are a bit slow for my liking. I will never go near a laptop when it comes to live DJing simply because I think it has a negative effect on the physical interaction with an audience in front of you, so the fact that Pioneers current Rekordbox software/firmware which utilizes USB/SD card drives in a more reliable way than CDs has been a revelation to me and my live shows.
5. Bacardi Breezers, Watermelon Flavor! This has become something of an urban myth in dance music, but now, at this moment, let it be known that this is indeed my favorite drink in the whole world. I'm not sure if you get these drinks in the U.S., but over here it's a very sweet tasting, female targeted, alcoholic watermelon flavored soda drink....and it tastes like unicorn's tears riding the edges of rainbows! As with most things in my life there are several funny stories related to this drink but my favorite was when I headlined a festival tent for Bacardi, who, upon hearing about my passion, were so embarrassed that no Breezers were in stock for the day of the show, that they insisted on giving me two huge crates of the stuff at the following Bacardi events. I ended up with more bottles than I could fit in my cupboards at home and had to line the corridors of my recording studio with them...they're gone now though!