Podcast 681: Darcy Khalid
Breakbeats and murky ambience from a rising Australian.
Podcast 681: Darcy Khalid
Breakbeats and murky ambience from a rising Australian.
Darcy Khalid is an early demonstration of the success of XLR8R‘s submissions portal, which we launched in March to bridge the gap between the magazine and music producers who read it. We recognize that for independent, emerging artists, it’s harder than ever to cut through the noise and have your music heard. Beyond this, the portal has proven a great source of musical discovery, unearthing talent who otherwise we just wouldn’t have ever come across. Khalid, an Australian DJ-producer, falls into this bracket—and after featuring him in our June submissions roundup, we invited him in for a podcast.
Khalid was born in Scotland but has grown up in Perth, western Australia. It was clear even at an early age that he had a deep interest in music, particularly hip-hop and heavy metal, but his tastes aligned more closely with electronic music around 2014 during an exchange year in Munich, Germany. A hedonistic tour around Europe ensued and the rising producer returned home to Australia “addicted” to techno, he says. Particularly seminal was seeing Daniel Avery at Rex Club in Paris. “I came back to Australia, started playing some gigs around town, and dabbling in production,” he says. “It snowballed and here I am today.”
Since 2016, Khalid has based himself in Melbourne, where he enrolled in a music production course and began exploring experimental and soundscape-driven music. He waited four years before releasing anything, because he wanted a sound that felt like his own. Drivers Wave At One Another On The Nullarbor, his debut EP, landed in August, filled with broken-beats and ambience, overlaid with a sheen of melancholy fuelled by a “propensity for brooding introspection,” Khalid tells XLR8R. It has earmarks of the mighty DjRum, and so it’s little surprise that he’s an influence.
DjRum also features through the mix, alongside the likes of Laksa and Forest Drive West. Khalid recorded it in the middle of lockdown last year, aiming to make a piece of music that changes a lot while retaining an overarching aesthetic, which is to say dark, broken beats with drum & bass, gabber, and ambience. For good measure, expect a couple of curve-balls, drawn from Khalid’s existing record collection and symbolic of the talented Australian producer’s maturing talents.
01. What have you been up to recently?
I’ve been enjoying nice weather, freedom of movement, good health, and a harmonious living environment, none of which I had for much of last year. I’ve been hanging out with some good people, writing a few essays, making music, and making some plans for 2021.
02. Which labels and or artists have been impressing you recently
DjRum has probably been my biggest musical influence in the last two years. I really admire how ambitious his compositions are. It’s hard to make such maximal music so convincingly. I’m really into the constellation of artists you guys featured for your most recent XLR8R+ package, particularly the artists affiliated with Experiences LTD. In that direction, I’m discovering some really fresh fusions of dub, IDM, and ambient. OL from Russia is nailing that vibe, I reckon. But the output from Melbourne alone is pretty special. Citizen Maze has been making some really impressive stuff and I hope he gets more props internationally. Daisart is a local label I’m into as well. The Local Knowledge crew here has a good thing going on. And finally shouts to Good Company for pushing the West Coast underground.
03. Where and when did you record your XLR8R podcast?
I recorded it mid-lockdown, about six months ago, in my bedroom. I was about to put out my first record and thought I’d get a couple of mixes down to put out shortly after. I had two other podcasts planned that fell through, so I’m glad this mix is seeing the light of day!
04. What can the listener expect?
Well, if the mix were a spectrum of color, only a small bit of it would be bright and the vast majority on the darker side. The energy and tempo are mostly at about 9.5/10 but sometimes it comes right down to 1/10. I’m often trying to find ways to make a piece of music change as much as it can without breaking its overarching aesthetic. So that’s sort of manifested here in drum & bass, gabber, and ambience.
05. How did you choose the tracks that you included?
Whenever I’m preparing for a mix I’ll trawl through the wish-lists, shopping carts, and liked tracks on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and some other platforms and buy the stuff I’m most into, which right now is mostly pretty intense dance music. I’ll also usually spend some time going back through my seldom-updated record collection, listening for things I haven’t really heard before. It’s surprising how often I listen to a record I’ve heard many times and sort of re-contextualise it, or imagine it playing a different role in a set, such that I hear it as something quite new. There’s a bit of that in here!
06. How does it compare to what you play in a club?
If I were to play a club set this weekend, I’d ideally play something along these lines. Something with drum & bass and gabber at the core, with a few experimental, ambient, and IDM curve-balls (just in case it works and something really fresh happens… ha!)
07. What’s on the horizon for 2021?
A busy year with non-musical projects. I’ll be finishing some study, including an Honours thesis, teaching, and probably writing some articles and essays. I also haven’t seen my nieces in Perth (one of whom I’ve never met) for about 18 months, so now that Australia (thankfully) has Covid under control I’m free to go back home and hang with them, and the rest of my family and some friends.
I’ve recently been oscillating on and off music quite intensely and rapidly. I’m always listening to it, but sometimes not into making it at all, and at other times I’m into making it more than doing just about anything else. I’m sure, soon enough, I’ll feel compelled to get in my studio and finish some music I’ve been working on and I’d like to release it, whether through a label or by myself, when the time is right. I haven’t had fantastic health in the last couple of years, so I’m going to put that first and everything else, music included, can take the back seat. That’s ultimately the best strategy for creating the best stuff anyhow. So I’m in no rush to release new material, but I’m looking forward to when it happens. I already think some of it is a step-up from my last EP. It’s a real mixed bag: extended ambient bits, dub, IDM, and gabber. But who knows what will actually hit the air waves?
P.s. I’d strongly encourage anyone reading, listening to, and enjoying XLR8R content to become a member. It’s $5USD per month (I promise they didn’t ask me to write this) and you’ll get that value back in free music DLs, anyway. I’ve been a member for a while now. We’re lucky when, occasionally, great art, journalism, and other valuable media are created and distributed for free, but we can’t rely on that model. It’s not actually free—even if it’s financially free for us users. It comes with other costs. Without the users of the media themselves paying for it, online connection—the sharing of creative produce and ideas—only becomes possible with a third party (usually an advertiser) standing in the middle, dictating the terms of the connection, liable to no one but their shareholders. How can we progress together if we can’t trust the means by which we share creativity and ideas? Excuse the rant, and thanks for reading/listening.
XLR8R has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to XLR8R+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
Full XLR8R+ Members can download the podcast below. If you’re not an XLR8R+ member, you can read more about it and subscribe here.
01. DjRum “Creature Pt. 2” (R&S Records)
02. Laksa “The Amala Trick” (Timedance)
03. Aleksi Perälä “UK74R1826120” (AP Musik)
04. Laughing Ears “Blue Dusk” (Decisions)
05. DjRum “Doing what I was doing” (Samurai Music)
06. Darcy Khalid “Chuerch Break” (Self-Released)
07. Aleksi Perälä “UK74R1826130” (AP Musik)
08. Yazzus “Wonky Raver” (R&S Records)
09. DjRum “Hard To Say” (R&S Records)
10. Plaid “Maru (Skee Mask Remix)” (Warp)
11. Forest Drive West “Isolation” (R&S Records)
12. Biosphere “Laika” (Biophon)
13. Grandbrothers “Prologue (Djrum Remix)” (FILM)
14. Es.tereo “Ultimas Breath” (Cosmic Bridge)
15. Kagami Smile “Ghost” (Sores)
16. Skull “Rent Yourself” (PRE-)
17. Oneohtrix Point Never “Last Known Image of a Song (Ryuichi Sakamoto Rework)” (Warp)
18. DjRum “Tailing” (2nd Drop Records)
19. Structure “Signal” (KRYTIKA productions)
20. Daniel Avery “Platform Zero” (Phantasy)
21. Darcy Khalid “Hakone Schoolyard” (Self-Released)
22. Scene Delete “Linepulse” (Late Night Tales)
23. Sam KDC “Symbol #8.2” (Auxiliary Music)
24. Kamikaze Space Programme “An Empty Sky” (Osiris Music)
25. Konx-om-Pax “LA Melody” (Planet Mu Records)