To celebrate the current MUNITIO Session featuring Smasha and Kytami, DNB Vault and MUNITIO linked up with Smasha and Kytami to discuss their background, the scene in Victoria and their Munitio Session Mix.
In addition MUNITIO has offered to give our DNB VAULT readers the chance to win a pair of MUNITIO PRO40 HighPerformance Headphones.
MUNITIO Sessions – Kytami & Smasha
Smasha: My name is Asia (pronounced “Asha”) aka Smasha and I’ve been DJing for roughly 13 yrs. My musical background was more in classical music, as I played piano for over a decade and also sang. I got my start DJing in Calgary, AB but relocated to the west coast in 2005. Since being in BC I have been fortunate enough to link up with groups such as PKSound Victoria and Dub Selekta. Being affiliated with PK has afforded me some amazing opportunities; such as playing the Village stage at Shambhala 2014. I have also been fortunate enough to release several podcasts for Dub Selekta, including a long running tradition of Valentine’s Day mixes, and a 2 x 4 Halloween set with the site’s founder “Kirtay”. I was also featured as the first female “Mix Master of the Month” by LYF, a Victoriabased online publication.
I am a self-described “die-hard, foaming-at-the-mouth rabid DnB fan”, and what you can expect from my sets is pure unadulterated DnB/Jungle. I tend to favor the heavier styles with big, driving basslines. However, I still have a soft spot for the melodic liquid styles, and more minimal styles as well. Ultimately my aim is to deliver a good cross section of the genre; I’m just trying to teach people to love DnB as much as I do.
Kytami: My Name is Kyla, aka Kytami. I’ve been playing the violin since I was three and put out my first album of original sounds in 2002. I’ve played all different kinds of stages and events and experimented with many different styles, but I would say my main influences have been Hip Hop, Punk and DnB (in no particular order). My affiliations include: East Van Digital, and the DNB Girls.
My connection to the DNB Girls started when I met “Jams” in Montreal through a mutual friend. We hit it off right away and ended up doing a mini tour together. Many of the Djs in Vancouver that inspired me where affiliated with the DNB Girls, so I had been aware of them for some time. I had mad respect for the fact that all the artists really knew their shit, and were very active in the scene. I never would have considered myself a candidate, being that I am a violinist and not a Dj, but I am proud to say that I became a member of the DNB Girls in 2014. In fact, one of my first exposures to Smasha as a Dj was through the DNB Girls “L.O.U.D (Ladies of Ultimate Destruction)” podcast series.
When and how they discovered drum and bass?
Smasha: My first exposure to DnB/Jungle was being snuck into a DnB show (I was underage) at the behest of a friend. At the time I was listening to a lot of breaks/hip hop/house but also a lot of punk and metal. I remember being told “YOU are going to love this!!! It’s dark and aggressive and will be right up your alley.” He could not have been more right.
The show in question featured Freaky Flow; I believe it had just followed the release of his Obscene Underground mix (better known as “TITS”). I just remember the first track dropping, and thinking “What is THIS?????” I was completely hooked! From the moment I bought my first set of decks, my intention was to mix DnB. Unfortunately it took a while to get my head around beatmatching DnB, but I locked myself in that room and forced myself to learn. That’s pretty much all I’ve mixed since.
Kytami: I was first exposed to DnB in 1996 by a DJ from Manchester that had brought a bunch of DnB (cassette) tapes that included: Moving Shadow, Zinc, Andy C, DJ Rap, Kenny Ken, Mampi Swift & Hype, and I was hooked right away. I just hadn’t heard anything like it in North America.
I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to check out the Roni Size “Reprazent tour”, which was my 1st time seeing DnB performed live. Seeing DnB performed with live instruments really opened up my eyes a world of possibilities. I began regularly attending DnB shows and saw some of my favorite artists in London, Miami, Seattle, Whistler and regularly attended Vancouver’s longest running DnB night, Automatic at Lotus Lounge.
While my Kytami sets feature a variety of genres, there is always a bit of DnB in there. (If I happen to be playing with Smasha, more than just a bit!)
What is the scene like where they are from??
Smasha: My Dj career began in Calgary AB, and the DnB/Jungle scene there was prolific even in those days. I feel it important to mention Calgary now, as the 403DNB crew is absolutely SLAYING!!!! Huge shows, massive headliners, extremely talented local Djs and a tight knit DnB community. Big ups to 403DNB for all their amazing work!
Victoria is very different in that it is very much a “university city”. We see a huge influx of college/university students each year, and as a result of that I’ve observed that the electronic music scene can be more influenced by trends than most of the other cities I’ve experienced. There seems to be almost an annual shift in what the hot new genre is, but it results in a great deal of variety which is always a good thing. DnB nights can be a bit more sporadic in Victoria. That said, Whitebird, BluePrint Vic & DLD Productions have brought out some seriously heavy hitting DnB artists. Some recent names include: Crissy Criss, DJ SS, Tantrum Desire, Andy C, Terravita, and Dieselboy.
I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to Blake of Digital Motion Events out of Vancouver. Digital Motion consistently brings incredible DnB headliners to the coast. The amount of seaplane hopping I’ve been doing is crazy, but it’s worth it to see so many talented artists, to be surrounded by so many diehard DnB fans, and of course that pK system just sweetens the deal! Just in the past few months DM has brought out Black Sun Empire, SPY, TC, Loadstar, Delta Heavy, Wilkinson, Optical, Calyx, Teebee, Calibre, Andy C, Spectrasoul…. I could go on, and on. Huge, HUGE love to Blake and the whole Digital Motion crew!
Kytami: Victoria has a great music scene overall with a wide variety of styles, which as Asia pointed out, is a really good thing. It is certainly not a city void of inspiration. We are seeing a huge growth in local festivals such as Rifflandia, Tall Tree, and SkaFest (to name a few). Most of the island festival events have really diverse, eclectic lineups; there is something for everyone.
I feel fortunate to hear lots of new and different music due to the fact that I am touring constantly. I play about 6080 shows a year, mostly throughout Canada and the US. My goal is to take my sound internationally.
Why drum and bass? What sets DNB apart from other genres???
Smasha: It’s hard for me to put a finger on exactly what it is that makes DnB so special. I think the fact that it’s a tempo that is unique, and really stands on its own amidst all the 4/4 genres. Plus the variety of sound within the genre is HUGE. DnB has been around for 20+ years which has allowed the genre to evolve and branch out into a wide of array of really interesting subgenres. In fact “Drum and Bass” as we know it was initially the result of DJs mixing a mad variety of genres (i.e. hardcore, dub, techno, breaks, hip hop, reggae) and I think that is what also contributes to the unique sound of DnB, the influences are so varied. DJ Storm put it best: “I suppose a good way to describe DnB is really the bastardization of all music. It’s everything… all rolled into one”. At the time of its inception, you had DJ’s and producers taking what they loved about these other genres, and then completely turning it on its ear.
I can’t help but think of a quote from Andy C: “(When it comes to DnB) you get it or you don’t. And if you do get it, you absolutely love it to the core!!!” I find this to be so accurate in that I have truly never met a “lukewarm” DnB fan. They are either massive, diehard fans or they do not like it at all! HAHA!
Kytami: When it comes to DnB, I just felt it from the get go. It has that slightly more aggressive feel, and that truly unique energy. It is definitely one of favorite genres to play over. There is also such a huge variety in the types of DnB which I feel gives me a lot of room to flow and free style. I’ve had the opportunity to play alongside many talented DnB artists both local and international.
How they hooked up with MUNITIO?
Smasha: I was aware of MUNITIO’s products and their sterling reputation for some time, so it was quite serendipitous when Fausto and I connected through our mutual love of DnB on social media. When I finally had an opportunity to try out some of MUNITIO’s product line, I was completely blown away! Not only is the sound quality phenomenal but the attention to detail truly speaks to their commitment to create cutting edge, superior quality products.
I was so excited to be approached for this mix series, and to be the 1st DNB submission. My aim as a DJ is always to share my love of DnB with as many people as possible! I’d like to give a big thanks to MUNITIO for giving me another opportunity to do so!
Kytami: I was actually approached by Asia to collaborate with her on this podcast. Asia and I have worked together on quite a few projects for the DnB Girls, and have toured together as well and we tend to have a really nice synergy Asia has always spoken really highly of the crew over at MUNITIO so I was excited to be involved in this project. I appreciate the opportunity and support!
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