This Saturday sees the innovative club night Karnival bring its topsy turvy world of sound and performance to Manchester's 2022nq, with long standing WHP resident Krysko providing the soundtrack.
We caught up with the man himself for a chat about the secrets to a successful residency, what his mum thinks about his job, and being photographed by Nile Rogers.
Hi Krysko! Where do we find you today?
Holed up in my apartment trying to find at least eight records that I know for a fact I have, but haven't seen them for at least five years. In the midst of a challenge you might say.
You're playing at 2022nq on Saturday for Karnival, which is described as an 'immersive clubbing experience'. Can you describe a little about what that means?
As it's the first time I've played this event I'm not actually 100% sure to be honest... From what they've told me, and from the pictures and videos I've seen, and despite its cryptic description it seems like they make a hell of an effort in regards to the details. Like the décor and production of the venue they use, the visual entertainment and such like, and fair enough to them. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what they come up with.
We've heard rumours of fancy dress… will you be dressing up?
Ermmm, no. As much I do enjoy a good bit of fancy dress, I think I'd like to focus on the music for this night, I'll let the professionals be the visual entertainment.
You're obviously well known as a resident DJ, warming up for some of the world's biggest artists. Do you relish the opportunity to take centre stage at smaller venues like this?
Over the last 11 years of holding various residencies, you certainly learn a craft - so usually when I'm booked elsewhere I get to play main sets, therefore you can 'let yourself go' a bit more than usual… and playing in basements and such like still is and always will be my favourite.
Many people will have seen you play at the WHP, but how does your set differ when you're out of warm up/resident mode?
Difficult to answer really, as I said before, when you are not in a position where you have to respect a certain DJ with a particular style or pace who is about to follow you, you can do what you want. It all depends on the crowd, the venue and (dare I say it) the vibe of the night. It’s good to be less restrained though and I’m looking forward to digging into the collection as well.
You've got some really lengthy and prestigious residencies under your belt, and are currently the longest standing WHP resident. What's the key to your longevity and success?
When you first start playing out people worry too much about what people think, how you’ll be perceived if you play this, or play that, are you playing the right ‘kind of house’ for example. Bullshit, none of that matters. Play the music you love, and enjoy it. It’s simple. The fact of the matter is that you cannot please all of the people all of the time, but if you know your music and actually look like you’re enjoying yourself whilst playing it, that’s half the battle. And be very keen, keenness is a necessity.
What are the biggest challenges facing a resident DJ?
Nowadays? I think musical identity. Making yourself stand out from the rest… everybody knows someone who’s a DJ, or can beat match, or plays at a night in a bar or venue, it’s how you make a name for yourself by building respect amongst people who come to hear you, and peers - if you are lucky enough to warm-up for them. Also, search out old music, if you find material that jumps out at you and it isn’t well known, you can build that rep.
And the best bits?
That IS the best bit. Gaining respect for an art you love doing by grafting hard to perfect it - a feeling you can’t beat.
How essential are the residents to a club's success?
Absolutely integral, simple as that. You ask anyone who has a true love of a particular night, and attends the night regularly or has done at any point over the last 25 years – if the night is a good one, the resident will be central to it and will have a lot of respect. Look at Harri & Dom Capello at SubClub in Glasgow, or Ralph Lawson & Co at BackIIBasics, the most revered long standing nights have great, great residents.
You've shared a stage with many of the biggest DJs in the world. Was there anyone that you were particularly in awe of?
The first time I played before Derrick Carter will always be up there, and playing the WHP a few years ago when ‘Mad’ Mike Banks played keyboard over the top of my music was pretty awe’y. But playing before Nile Rodgers & Chic a couple times over the last year has been pretty surreal, especially at Parklife life when he was stood behind me taking pictures of me playing. Doesn’t happen every day.
How would your mum describe what you do?
“you make people dance Matthew !! and it doesn't get much better than that... only to good music mind :)” ~ My Mum.
As someone who focuses more on the DJing side of things rather than production, what do you think of the growing trend for DJs putting out their own tracks? Do you think it's necessary?
Absolutely yes. But it needs to be of a high standard… I think the first wave of digital producers around 8-9 years ago, there was a huge amount of shite quality, and a large volume of it. There still is a load of it out there but now there really is a focus again on high quality productions, using digital and analogue equipment with much improved software and techniques and more importantly, fresh, interesting ideas to be honest. So as soon as you produce something that stands out then it opens a lot of doors. Mainly Djing.
Last song you listened to?
The new Seven Music release as I’m wading through promos… Concept e25, Back To The Source EP
Thank you, see you Saturday!
Interview: Jayne Robinson
Catch Krysko at 2022nq on Saturday 17th November for Karnival. Tickets are available below.
Tickets are no longer available for this event