Kaytranada: “In my heart, I always wanted to be the producer, but the Kaytranada thing just really worked”

Kaytranada is releasing a new album this June, featuring collabs with PinkPantheress and Thundercat.

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Kaytranada DJing.

Image: Cassidy Sparrow / Getty

Kaytranada has reflected on how his solo music career took off, sharing that he always saw himself as a producer.

During the early days of Kaytranada’s music journey, he would work alongside his younger brother, Lou Phelps, as hip-hop duo The Celestics. When his production work began to take off on a different level, the pair made the decision to go their separate ways.

In a new feature with Rolling Stone, Kaytranada recalls, “I really studied [J] Dilla. Instead of studying for school, I studied his music — him and Madlib were producers where I was just trying to understand how they would chop a sample. Dilla would do those micro-chops that don’t make any sense, but sound like a big beautiful collage. I got so inspired by that.”

He goes on to recall the set up he had alongside Lou at the time, adding, “We had the microphone that came with a PC, and an audio recorder that could record 30 seconds of voice. We would play an instrumental from a 50 Cent website, and just rap over it and make full songs. I always wanted that for us, to have a career as a Gang Starr type of thing. The producer and the MC.”

He goes on to explain, “I think we went separate ways because I got too successful with the electronic things I was doing, and that was not easy for both of us. People were bringing up ‘Kaytranada and his brother.’ My brother really didn’t like that. I didn’t really appreciate it either. I just wanted us to be called a duo.”

He concludes, “In my heart, I always wanted to be the producer, but the Kaytranada thing just … I wouldn’t say got out of control, more like, ‘Oh, that really works. Continue with that.’”

Kaytranada’s new album, Timeless, is set for release on 7 June. It features collaborations with Childish Gambino, PinkPantheress, Thundercat and more.

You can pre-order it now.

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