On The Radar: Kyle King
by Annette Lucero

On this week’s edition of #OnTheRadar, we’d like to welcome Kyle King! One of our veteran locals, Kyle has hit his fair share of milestones. Creating his own space in our scene, working with Slam Academy and even opening up his very own studio are just a few of Kyle’s accomplishments. Read on below to get to know this featured local!

SIM: You’ve mentioned that you started off DJing, and progressed into producing to work your musical ideas into sets. Although you started out as a self-taught producer, you described your creative stride kicking in at Slam Academy. Why did Slam ignite your creative awakening?

Kyle: Slam Academy has this creative environment that is really quite effective. Being around so many other people who are also trying to reach their creative goals means that you are talking to people who are your peers, something that electronic music producers didn’t have 10 years ago, and now you can be consistently inspired from every student and teacher there. Taking the sound design class with James Patrick really showed me how much more to music creation there truly is, and I was hooked immediately.[Nowadays], I think teaching private lessons has been the best for my creativity, I am constantly exposed to all sorts of experience levels, and creative energy that I am challenged to prove I know what I claim to know, and I can also get different perspectives on how to create, or solve problems in my workflow.

SIM: “Kyle King” is a local name that’s truly played almost every genre in our scene. What style of music drew you into Electronic music, and what other locals do you tend to produce with?

Kyle: Lately I’ve found myself going back to the things that first got me hooked on electronic music, which was Techno, deep & melodic, with some harder elements to really get you moving. I’ve considered having another moniker for the experimental and ambient music I’ve been writing, but I haven’t really decided yet, Kyle King is where you’ll find all of my music right now. Over the last five or so years I’ve been working with a local producer named TxM on a track or two a year, and we just got together for a session that looks like it might turn into something fun! I rely a lot on the ears of the other people I work with at my studio, and of course showing my works off at Slam Academy is a great way to get my music to talented people with good ears.

SIM: In terms of production experience, you’ve got quite the resume: 8 years of Abelton, a multitude of DAW experience (Reason, Cubase, Logic, Reaper, Bitwig), and a serious stockpiling addiction for analog synths. To someone in our scene that in unfamiliar with a synth rack, what value does it offer to a producer? Why would someone want to invest in that?

Kyle: Modular synthesis is one of those things you can get into as a hobby, and it can spiral into a full on obsession if you aren’t lucky. The reason why it’s becoming more and more popular is that you can actually create your own custom synthesizer or sound that nobody else could create, the unique characteristics of the whole process is really appealing to people who just like to experiment.

SIM: As a local that’s been around for quite some time, you’ve really experienced every aspect that comes with territory: awkward networking moments, playing to empty rooms, and struggling to find your sound. How much support did you encounter when you started producing, and how did that experience mold you into the local you are today?

Kyle: I definitely wish I had more support when I was first starting, but that wasn’t a luxury I was afforded. I spent a lot of nights working on stuff alone, not really having anyone to share it with, or even feeling like I was doing the right thing in trying to make music. I kept going though, and despite every relationship I’ve ended, friends lost touch with, and family that doesn’t really get what I’m doing and why, I have never doubted myself for a second. I’ve gained a lot of inner strength from what I went through at the beginning, and it’s helped me be confident in my current state. I moved to Minneapolis from Des Moines in 2009 or so, without knowing anyone or where any parties were happening, so I was a lost little lamb for a year or so. I ended up finding out about a show at a local venue, and from there I met some friends I still have today, and eventually started to meet more and more local DJs/Producers/Promoters. Now that I’m putting out more music, I’m grateful to have their creative skills to help me achieve my goals.

SIM: We know that time is one of the biggest obstacles for a local to overcome. Do you have any others that deserve their own bittersweet shout-out?

Kyle: I think self-doubt and fear are the two biggest culprits in pushing myself to the next level, creative types are notoriously their own harshest critics, and that kind of negative mentality has kept me from being able to find my voice.

SIM: How do you tame your negativity when it begins to rise?

Kyle: It’s all about having a good support group, friends, other artists, people you can really trust and have honest conversations with is very important. I’m grateful for people that I can confide in when the struggle gets hard. Personally, I take time to reflect whenever I catch myself feeling down, and I will do yoga, go for a bike ride, or play video games, anything to allow me time to refocus. Mental health is such an important topic amongst artists and creative types, I feel like it’s not discussed enough in communities, and it’s been good seeing more and more big names come out about their struggles, as it’s keeping the conversation going.

SIM: As someone that’s networked in both the Minneapolis and Des Moines scene, you’ve encountered a vast range of experience . How has networking in both of these scenes molded your outlook on Minneapolis’ dynamic?

Kyle: Minneapolis has such a large, diverse music scene here I think we often take it for granted how much room everyone has to do their own thing. Des Moines was vastly different, as there were so few shows happening run by a small group, and it was difficult for me to get any traction. I was too young to really start anything either because it was all so underground in those days, and I lacked funding, so I wasn’t able to get myself out as much as I wanted. Now that I’m here, I have been able to participate in so many events with so many different promoters. I only wish I had been here longer.

SIM: In your experience, how difficult is it as a local to get your music to “the right people”, and to make sure that others are genuinely giving your music a fair chance?

Kyle: Figuring out how to get your music to people you look up to is so difficult, and the worst part is that there isn’t any real hard & fast rules behind how to do it. Emails are generally the tried and true method of pitching your music to labels and other channels that might be interested in music you’ve made, but they have full inboxes all the time so it may not ever get listened to. You really have to hustle your music to people to get heard, and as cliche as it sounds, handing a thumb drive to someone might really be the only “best” way to do that.

SIM: Do you have any experiences you would like to share that shed light on your growth as a local?Or maybe a special moment for you as a local?

Kyle: There’s a ton of pressure for DJ/Producers to get out there immediately, and push your music super hard, even if you haven’t polished your style or skills. It’s okay to go at it slow and methodical, build organic hype, and when the time comes for you to push your music, it’ll all happen quickly because the quality of your productions will stand out.

Playing before Rezz at The Loft last February was a pretty special moment for me, since I got to play more of my own music than I ever have in a set before. I’ve been lucky enough to have played at so many venues around Minneapolis, but seeing the crowd enjoy something I created was beyond words. It’s a feeling I’m going to always try to replicate now in my sets.

SIM: As for 2018, what goals does “Kyle King” have for himself?

Kyle: 2018 is going to be a big year for me creatively, I’ve been working harder than ever before in many aspects of my music career and everything is coming to a head this year. I’ve opened up a studio in Northeast Minneapolis with some very close friends, I’ve become an instructor at Slam Academy, and I have written more music in the last year than I have the rest of my career combined! I am very excited for everything I have planned as I make music my full time focus and push myself further than ever before.

SIM: What is something you hope never changes about yourself as you become more successful?

Kyle: I owe a lot to several people that influenced me, and have encouraged me to keep going, even when things were really rough, and I am so thankful for them. I hope that no matter how much success I have, I never lose my gratitude for how these people helped me get to where I want to be.

SIM: Any last words for our readers?

Kyle: You can follow all of my exploits on Instagram (@kylekingmusic), previews of new music on Soundcloud (soundcloud.com/kylekingmusic), buy my music from Bandcamp (kylekingmusic.bandcamp.com), and check out my studio “Origin-414”(https://www.origin414.com/) . Don’t forget to bookmark my webpage for all of this and more! www.kylekingmusic.com