Kaytranada is trying to keep sampling alive: “It’s like a collage; Not everyone is going to get it”

He also discusses the lack of sampling in electronic music today, his sense of rhythm, and the anxieties around finishing tracks.

Kaytranada on The Zane Lowe Show

Credit: Apple Music

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Kaytranada has revealed the first track he ever sampled, and says that he is trying to keep the art of sampling alive in his music.

He reveals the sample during a recent episode of The Zane Lowe Show on Apple Music 1, going on to discuss the anxiety around finishing tracks, his sense of rhythm and Beyonce’s foray into house music with her latest album, Renaissance. The interview aired in line with the Canadian-Haitian artist’s latest release, Lover/Friend. 

“Oh my gosh. The first thing I ever sampled was… I think it was Jackson 5 – Lookin’ Through the Windows,” he tells Lowe.

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He also mentions that he sampled UK producer Mr Scruff, whose music could be found pre-purchased in an earlier version of Apple’s iTunes. We’re not sure which track Kaytranada means, but he could be referring to the album, Ninja Tuna, which was featured in Windows 7’s Windows Media Player.

He goes on to say that not enough producers and musicians in electronic music are making music that celebrates the art of sampling. He cites hip-hop producer The Alchemist, a prolific artist putting samples front and centre in their music today.

“I’m still trying to keep [sampling] alive in a way, because I really miss samples, man. I really do miss the use of samples” he says. “A lot of people do it. [The] Alchemist – people like that – are still doing it and I still want to keep that alive, and especially in electronic music.

“It’s definitely an art form. It’s like a collage. Not everyone is going to get it.”

Lowe asks about some of his favourite uses of sampling, and Kaytranada says that in Breathe & Stop by Q-Tip, the track’s producer, the iconic and revered J Dilla, slowed down and chopped a recording of the Chapman Stick guitar, a unique string instrument built by American jazz musician Emmett Chapman.

The two go on to talk about execution in music, agreeing that many musicians – including Kaytranda himself – can find it tough to transform an idea or a loop into a fully-fledged “glazed” song.

“Do you have to go somewhere that’s maximalist in order to find the perfect reduction?” asks Lowe after praising the producer’s balancing of a track’s “ingredients”.

“Not really,” he says. “When I create, it’s really right in the moment and I don’t really think too hard about it, but the top process of [arranging] the song, that’s when it’ll get like, okay, ‘I need to make sure that it’s glazed’. Or when you talk about ingredients, we got to make sure it’s well presented.

“I’m dealing with that right now. Those songs have existed in my head and now they’re new to everyone. Even with the album, to package an album it’s always difficult. Anxieties… procrastinations. You’re scared of nothing. I don’t know what’s stopping you sometimes.”

Zane Lowe praises the swing on Kaytranada’s new track Stuntin, saying “No one can make a swing like that anymore”.

“You just gotta know how to dance, really,” he responds humbly. “I think rhythm is not even enough. It’s like it’s even a higher level. You can’t learn rhythm. But then there’s in between the notes, like between pitches and stuff like that.”

Listen to The Zane Lowe Show with Kaytranada.

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