Truancy Volume 108: Krystal Klear

Happy new year! 2014 was a great year for us at Truants. We celebrated the 100th edition of our Truancy Volume series, interviewed some bonafide heroes of ours and started the Temporary Trax feature to help keep our site ad-free. If you missed out on this or any of the year’s other highlights then be sure to check out our 2014 roundup.

For now though, we’re working on making 2015 even better. To catapult us back into the swing of things, we’ve got Krystal Klear on hand to deliver our 108th Truancy Volume. Last year was equally busy for the Dublin-born, Manchester-based producer with three releases, the birth of his own label and the expansion of his Labour of Love parties. This year shows no signs of any slow-down, with a stellar single featuring Yasmin scheduled for a release on Rinse/Island Records soon. In addition to his production duties, Krystal Klear is also a supreme DJ, which is why we’re thrilled to present you with this Truancy Volume today. Not only does the mix perfectly encapsulate the man’s undeniable talents behind the decks but it’s also our longest mix to date, clocking in at over two hours. In lesser hands this could risk getting a bit dull, but here Krystal Klear expertly distils what his peak-time club sets are about, delivering a barnstorming two hours which hasn’t failed to get us moving. We also caught up with him for a chat where we discussed New Year’s resolutions, his new label and his progression as a producer and DJ.

Truants: Thanks for the mix! How have you been and what have you been up to lately? Krystal Klear: “I’ve been good! Truth be told it’s probably been the most productive start to a new year I’ve ever had to be honest. I’ve managed to get a lot of music done and sort out a few home truths that were bugging me, but for the most part I’ve been keeping a fairly tame January lifestyle with the intention on getting a fuck load of music done.”

This past year has been a busy one for you. What were your highlights and most memorable moments? “I’d be a gobshite if I didn’t acknowledge that working with Nile Rodgers and Michael McDonald in New York wasn’t the highlight of my life, never mind 2014! Otherwise a couple of memorable moments were playing Panorama Bar on NYE, Sonar with all the troops (those who were there will know why) and doing my first live visuals show in The Academy Dublin.”

Last year also saw you starting your own label. What triggered you to want to start your own label? What would you describe the idea is behind Cold Tonic? “More so than anything, frustration was the reason behind it. To be honest, starting a label was the LAST thing on my mind but I was laundering out a lot of beats that, due to one schedule reason or another, weren’t seeing the light of day. Without getting too methodical about it, I felt that my musical growth wasn’t moving in line with my profile’s growth which in turn adds confusion and a dishonest element to my audience.

I’m aware that could sound dead wanky so just to explain it briefly – while I was making perhaps tougher house stuff or weird indie cosmic disco stuff, the people following my music were finally hearing “Addiction”, which was two years old anyway. So I was sick of waiting to release stuff and figured it be better for me in the long run to try keep my release schedule as close as possible to my production one.

Cold Tonic isn’t really an idea or doesn’t have an ethos. The photography does, which is basically a drunken diary with some madness thrown in. The label is about good music and music we love with a touch more of a dance floor aesthetic – simple.”

Can we expect Cold Tonic to release other artists work or are you intending to keep it as an outlet for your own productions? If so, who? “10000% – I’ve already made a conscious decision to make the next couple of releases to be other peoples music which I’m much more excited about. I find it difficult to push my own music so with releasing other people’s stuff it will be much more refreshing. Moreover, it will add a new dynamic to the label.

We are working with two artists in particular at the moment (both under pseudonyms) and we’ll have something very special lined up for Record Store Day (potential kiss of death) which I can’t really talk about JUST yet.”

You were also able to bring the Labour of Love parties to Manchester last year. Can you tell us a bit about this experience? “Doing the Labour of Love parties have been amazing and something I have really enjoyed developing so far. It’s similar to running the label in the sense that I have control over everything. Not that I’m a control freak, but it really enhances things for me if I know that everything fits the conception in my brain, if that makes sense. The Love parties aren’t necessarily going to be every month nor every quarter, but simply when I know I can put someone on that I really respect in a space that can do it right. If people come, then it’s a basically a bonus.”

As someone who lives and runs a night in the city, what do you consider the best and worst parts of Manchester’s club/music scene? “I have very little to complain about when it comes to the Manchester music scene. It’s funny because despite the plethora of stuff on at any given point, there isn’t any major rivalry or snide-ness which can come in other club scenes. It’s cool because subconsciously everyone supports each other in some way or the other. It’s nice to know that you can always rely upon a core of people who will show up regardless just to hear or see something new. Manchester is an extremely open minded city with incredible knowledge spread vast amongst its patrons.

If I had to nitpick, it’d be the lack or medium sized spaces with quality systems. Considering all the urban space surrounding the city, I still find it hard to believe that nobody has set up a tasty 500-800 capacity spot with an incredible system and solid, not over-the-top lighting arrangement, but then again with The Warehouse Project and Sankeys it makes these things semi understandable as to why they aren’t there.”

I noticed you tweet that you’ve started working on a remix for Kelis. You’ve done a fair amount of remix work before – how do you usually approach remixes? What are the challenges that come with them and what is your favourite aspect about them?  “The Kelis remix never happened which was a shame because I was really happy with it, but apparently it wasn’t her bag. I’ve done a lot of remixes of all sorts of acts, some of which I love and some of which I possibly should have thought twice about, but I generally tend to open the multi-track and start by muting bits and pieces to see how things sound without certain elements. Nine out of ten times I delete all melody and just work off the vocals and drums and build from there.” Are there any artists/singers you’d still really like to remix? “No one really to be honest, but this year I would like to remix a good house or techno 12″ as opposed to the more major label pop stuff for a change. Either that or do a multi-track edit of an old disco belter like they have done with SAM or Salsoul comps.”

Some of your recent music has a slightly tougher feel than what we’ve maybe been used to from you before. Was this a conscious change? “Entirely but naturally. See, the thing is is that I have always had a foundation for tougher music. As the years have developed I have made a broad horizon of music in the studio, from new jack R&B to acid, to harder stuff but never had the chance nor opportunity to release. Now, with Cold Tonic I do have this opportunity.” Is this change reflected in your DJ sets as well? “The DJ sets have been a real mixed bag because there’s still people there expecting to hear me play BB&Q Band which is fine. Sometimes I still do but now when I DJ I’m trying to delve more into my Hoya Hoya roots and cover a larger spectrum without being over self-indulgent. I never really want to be pidgeon-holed.”

Can you tell us a little bit about the mix you did for us? “I guess I wanted to make a statement really, as most mixes I’ve done try to cover the whole tempo scale via 8 different genres from funk to techno, but with this I wanted to treat it like it was 2am in the club and I was about to go on and play. I want to give people a true representation of where I’m at. I’ve been working on doing a mix for fucking ages, but my record selection was becoming fucking impossible to widdle down. After numerous Serato crates and record bags I just said ‘fuck it’, pressed record and went for it.” What’s the perfect setting for it to be enjoyed? “Best setting is with your pals about 8-9pm smashing beers before you go out. I don’t think this one for an 8am bus journey to work, but then again I could be wrong.”

What can we expect from you this year? Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? “Get an album done properly and not fuck around like I have done before.”

When was the last time you danced? “This morning at 10.30 am to Leon Ware – Inside Is Love (was more of an arse wiggle via cooking eggs).


1 – Heralds Of Change – The Author
2 – Krystal Klear – Cold Tonic
3 – E Versions – I’ Dont Know What This Is
4 – Kano – It’s A War (Serge Santiago UK Re-edit)
5 – Gene Farris & Cajmere – Mars Bar
6 – DJ Bang – Hallejuah (DC Private Edit)
7 – Paul Simpson – Real Woman
8 – ????????????
9 – Henrik Schwarz & Kuniyuki – The Session 2 (Von Spar Remix)
10 – Akabu – Phuture Bound (Amé Remix)
11 – Lake People – No Turning Back
12 – Krystal Klear – Broke Damn Acid Sounds
13 – Johnick – Good Times (Original Mix)
14 – Rick Wade – Funky One (Duijn & Douglas Funky Bunch Remix)
15 – Bruce Ivery – The Things I Want
16 – Grain – Let Go Of The Acid
17 – Mark Fanciulli – Chord Kaoss
18 – Groore Junkies & Dj Dealer – My Day Has Come feat.Chezere
19 – Mike Delgado – Byrdmans Revenge (Rhythm Masters Upstairs Mix)
20 – ????????????????????
21 – Junior Vasquez – If Madonna Calls (X Beat Mix)
22 – Olav Basoski – Xtra Funky
23 – Matrixxman – Protocol
24 – Truss – Beacon
25 – Roebin De Freitas – Twitch
26 – Roman Poncet – Route Of Pain
27 – Paul Johnson – Aww Shit
28 – Aril Brikha – Groove La Chord
29 – ???????????????? – Untitled
30 – Illvester – Feel Reel (Kon Edit)
31 – Unfinished Business – Out Of My Hands

Matt Gibney