In Brief: King Britt Talks
Legendary Philly-based producer King Britt is the rare type of artist that can effortlessly reinvent in fresh and profound ways.
Over the past 20+ years, Britt has been at the forefront of some of music’s most interesting movements: from DJing on tour with Digable Planets (alongside Sade), to founding Ovum Recordings with Josh Wink, to spearheading the groundbreaking “neo soul” project Sylk 130, to his acclaimed new experimental project Fhloston Paradigm on Hyperdub, the man’s CV is dripping with seminal accomplishments across genre and time.
We sat down with King following a six-hour Fhloston Paradigm live/DJ set at François K’s Deep Space to discuss his new live set up and dizzying work rate that’s seen him produce recent projects for Cassy, Laura Mvula, and Clara Hill, amongst others.
This weekend past saw you play in New York. How did you get to know François K and what does 'deep space' mean to you?
I've been collecting François’ music since I was little and had no idea – I just gravitated toward his remix style. I really learned his name after the EP he did with The Edge (from U2) and Jah Wobble. I’m like “WTF!” and it was on Island at that. Anyway, we met at an early Body & Soul night and he was extremely generous with information and things. A year later I performed at Body & Soul with Sylk130 and also DJ'd after.
The words Deep Space mean just that — a deep space in your mind, body, and soul that you access by staying true to who you are. A space that is accessed only through true intention.
You've been doing the Fhloston Paradigm stuff for a little while now – how did the project come about?
The name Fhloston Paradigm came up while watching Fifth Element. Corbin (Bruce Willis) was trying to get to Fhloston Paradise. I said it wrong and my friend & partner at the time said, “That's it!” So I kept it.
I wanted Fhloston to be my all-analog project. So all the past stuff was all analog synths and process until it gets into Ableton. I only use a few synths for each project, which focuses the sonic palette.
You mentioned that this was the first time trying out this specific live setup — what's new?
Well, in the studio I use all the Roland Aira products. I met all the engineers in Tokyo through my friend Gomi who works for them. I did an album for them and have been wanting to add it to my sets but had no time. Now it's time. I’m also utilizing my iPad as a sonic source, all run through my Ableton.
Check out an up-close look at King’s live setup.
We know that you stay busy — what can we expect from you in the near future and what's in the works that you can talk about?
There is too much. New Sylk130 greatest hits called "What Happened Was…." featuring unreleased and b-side versions. I’m producing the new Bedouin Soundclash album for Sony and also working on the new Martinez Brothers project. I have a new Fhloston album for 2017 and a really raw project called m<e.
Catch King and the original Sylk130 crew at their 20-year reunion show on September 4th at the TLA in Philadelphia.
Keep an eye on kingbritt.com for all the latest news. Photos courtesy of Jon Anderson.