PK Sound sat down with good friend Geoff Reich, AKA Stylust Beats, to catch up after his recent move to Los Angeles. He discusses, among other things, the importance of a great sound system, pushing the limits as an artist, and the creative direction of his new album “Bandana”.
Stylust Beats is an artist who stays on the cutting edge of music production by blending styles and continually evolving. There are many parallels between PK Sound’s approach to building professional sound systems when we consider the importance of creativity and passion that Stylust Beats embodies in his work. Check out what he has to say:
You’ve been a good friend of ours for many years now, could you tell us about your first introduction to PK Sound?
It was definitely Shambhala. I think it was 2003 when Emotionz invited me up there by saying “Hey, you want to hear your beats on the craziest sound system you’ve ever heard?!” We had just finished a few hiphop tunes together and he was going to premiere them at the Village Stage that year. After that I was hooked.
The first time I played on a PK system I think was at the Rockwater in Golden, B.C. I remember them shaking the shit out of my feet while I was playing—it pumped me up something fierce!
You have a new EP out on your own imprint Sleeveless Records. In your words how would you describe the sound?
I’ve never been one to just focus on one sound, but this is one of my first shorter albums focused on heavier dancefloor style tunes. The lead single “Bandana” is a deep dubstep/trap hybrid style tune, which really flexes the sub bins—felt best on PK. The second single “Painkiller” is a crazy, bouncy trap tune which I collaborated on with DJANK YUCCA out here in California. Also on the album I have “Bandana VIP” which is a monster remix I made with Costa Rican vato JLEON. I made “Brexit” with Thelem here in Los Angeles, and finally we have “The Real” which is a Cali love-esque West Coast anthem. There’s a heavy West Coast bass feel on this album, probably had to do with my recent move from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
You’ve given your fans and fellow producers a fun opportunity to participate in a remix contest at SKIO Music for your single “Painkiller”. What else can you tell us about the contest?
I thought this would be a good track to test out producers’ ability to really get creative. At 150 bpm, there are tons of trippy sounds in there to get ideas flowing. We ran the contest through the good people at skiomusic.com and did a live feedback session at SKIO headquarters that was broadcast on Facebook.
(Watch a recorded version of the live broadcast here: https://www.facebook.com/skiomusic/ )
Let’s talk about Sleeveless Records. It almost seems like these days it’s a right of passage for an artist to start his or her own imprint. As the Master Curator, Executive, A&R, what sounds were you hoping to convey to the world?
Sounds that stick out as unique and creative. The ones that I would play in my own sets are the tunes that get signed to Sleeveless Records. We are not a label that signs a ton of stuff. We like to pick and choose our content wisely and put all our efforts into each release.
Did you start the label because you noticed a hole that needed filling in the world of music?
Yes, it started as a way to provide a platform for all of the talented homies I meet along the way. SF was extremely saturated with talent at the time, and it still is. I wanted to put my friends on the label and start a movement – I will continue to do this as well.
It’s no secret you started out as a hip-hop DJ. Your love for hip-hop still runs deep in a lot of things you do. What was the ‘eureka’ moment for you when you decided to go for it and become a DJ?
Bassnectar in the Village in 2008. He threw a KRS-ONE tune into his set that made it all just click. I was like “Hmm, maybe hip hop and electronic music can collide!”
What were the early days of DJing like for you?
The early days were a lot of fun. I started off DJ’ing for Emotionz tours across Canada, which were always a lot of fun. We also had our own night called “Whatever’s Dope” every Wednesday in Vancouver—that was epic.
How different would your life be if you picked up a mic instead of a set of turntables?
I was never really the guy to pick up the mic. I was always interested in the music. I grew up playing guitar and piano. After that I got into digital music production pretty early by making hip hop beats for different MC’s and working in recording studios in Vancouver from 2000-2008.
A guy like you must have a lot of musical idols. Who’s your dream
Damn there are tons—maybe Rick Ruben and Tupac collaboration.
You’ve navigated a lot of roads in the music biz. You’ve moved countries, you’ve started a label, and you’ve headlined massive festivals and parties. Not everyone would know when it was time to make the leap to the next stage. How do you know when it’s time to take that next step?
I guess it’s different for everybody, but I always feel like when you’re getting too comfortable it’s time to push forward and get out of that comfort zone. I feel nervous all the time about upcoming gigs, finishing music, release dates etc., but I know that if I felt comfortable with it all the time I wouldn’t be progressing as an artist, so it’s a good nervous. Then when that certain thing is over and it went well because you over-prepared and/or worked really hard on it, the payoff is that much more satisfying. Then you get nervous about the next thing coming up, it’s a crazy cycle.
I’m sure you’re asked this a lot, but what’s the biggest piece of advice you would give a kid that looks up to you?
Work hard and put in at least 2-4 hours everyday on your craft. Be unique and be yourself and the rest will fall into place.
We can say safely that festival season has come to a close. Any highlights from this year?
So many—this was my favorite year of festivals so far! Coachella, Shambhala (2 sets), Burning Man after Diplo…these are just a few to mention. So many fun times along the way as well.
And how will you end 2016?
I’ve released an album on Oct 13th and started a 5 month Bandana Tour which will run all the way into February. I’ve also just landed a really exciting new years gig! Stay tuned…hint: AL.
Ending off, tell us where we can see you and stay caught up with you in the next little while.
Check out the Canadian dates for my Bandana tour at http://stylustbeats.com/.
Shout out to all the amazing people at PK Sound and everyone who supports the music and comes to the shows! I couldn’t do it without y’all.
One Love - Stylust Beats
By: Kayla Graham