The Pit LDN speaks with the Midlands multi-hyphenate, Katus Myles, on his latest sophomore EP, ‘D.B.K.M’. The upcoming rapper, songwriter and producer discusses how his sound has grown from his debut ‘Nights in the City’, the thriving Birmingham music scene and holding storytelling at the heart of his sound.
Emily: How has the process been in creating ‘D.B.K.M’ and how was working on it during lockdown?
Katus: It’s been a long process, in all honesty, it started as a four song EP which just kept growing slowly but organically. Like I’d make a song which felt as though it fit the project perfectly without continuously thinking, “ok I need to be adding another really hooky song or a song talking about this or that theme, for example.” It’s been a very natural process.
And to be honest, the tape was mostly finished before lockdown had started, it was just the process of getting Sillkey to add the touch ups as always, and patterning the mix and mastering from Andretheproducer, Chawe, and Offkey. Shootout to all them zoom sessions aha.
What were the main themes you wanted to touch on lyrically in ‘D.B.K.M’?
Lyrically, I wanted it to feel like a story, each song having its own type of personal story or theme attached to them. Mostly, relating around love and thinking back to my own personal pursuits in the act of it. There is a small story in the tape that I try to use just to piece together the overall.
Sonically, how would you define the sound of the project and what was the process of discovering that sound?
It’s still very ‘late night’ orientated, but there are more than a few really light moments that feel as if they’re made to match a summer day, which was my intention. I wanted the tape to have a more rounded sound but still inflicting ‘that feeling’ which is always the most important thing to me. I feel like it’s been less about discovering a sound and more about trying to perfect it.
With all the different styles of music I’ve been exposed to through life, I’ve always felt the need to ensure the music and sound I present does the music I love justice. The thing about my sound as well is I feel like it will grow with me as I grow as a person and artist. So the sound of this tape more than likely won’t be the same sounds like the stuff I plan to release after this.
Did you want to focus more on your vocals for this project and experiment with your range as an artist?
I guess more than anything I’m always looking for constant improvement as an artist so that was for sure a part that I wanted to improve on and in all honesty, I think I’ve made it hard for people to see the range I have as an artist as I haven’t released many singles since my first EP, so the experimentation and the growth since ‘Nights in the city’ have been there it just now feels like the perfect time to showcase it.
What kind of mood did you want to create within the project?
Honestly, my whole inspiration was to inflict a feeling of some sort of euphoria or bliss when listening to the songs/ stories. I went to Canada for the first time in a long-time summer 2015 and since, I’ve been back more or less every summer. And a big part of why those yearly trips were so monumental was the soundtrack surrounding it and music we played day in day out, on every road trip. I wanted ‘D.B.K.M’ to be able to feel like the soundtrack to people’s special moments and be something people can create memories to.
How important is playing with melodies within your music and how do you think songwriting makes you a more versatile rapper?
Melodies are so important, that’s what catches you and stays in your head each day, it’s definitely something I try to ensure are always on point, the songwriting to me is what can make a song feel so special. It’s coming back to a song after five months and clocking something completely different, a song that gives a whole other perspective to the track, I try my best to paint pictures as well as I can, without giving away the whole canvas. That’s the goal.
How did your collaboration with KARIE come about for ‘Ouu Oui’ and what was the inspiration for that song?
It’s funny you should ask that, KARIE was one of the main people pushing me to get into music. His house was the first place I fully recorded a song, so working I’m forever working with KARIE and cooking up new tracks. Originally, I made the beat for KARIE and he recorded his first and second verse along with the hook but then decided he didn’t want to release it. I loved that track, so I said cool I’ll take that off your hands, which he had no problem with.
I guess the inspiration was just the wanting to be in another France with your lady, KAIRE came up with the ‘Ouu Oui’ catchy melody and it was too cold not to play off that.
How do you feel your sound has grown from your first EP?
I think there has been a big improvement in my production, which is noticeable right away. Along with being more direct in my songwriting and being even more critical in what songs I choose to include on the tape. Hooks as well, in reality, ‘Dark Nights’ was the only track on ‘Nights in the City’ with a hook. I’ve always known how important hooks were, but I feel I overlooked the significance of it on the last project. There’s definitely a more prominent song structure to these tracks.
What kind of music were you listening to going into making the project and do you feel that it influenced the sound you channelled on the EP?
For sure, I’m definitely influenced by all the music I listen to. I’m a real music lover so it’s hard not to take some inspiration for music when I hear tracks that I love. I’d have been listening to a lot of RnB and rap artists as always in the UK and US. Little things like drum patterns would really inspire me. For example the drum pattern on ‘Call my phone’ definitely took inspiration from an old-school Timbo kind of sound.
What was the inspiration for your single, ‘Do Better’ and what was it that made you want to release it as a lead single?
It stemmed from experiences within my own personal relationship along with struggles my friends have also been through, I just felt as though sonically it would connect with a lot of people as a single and I thought it was the perfect song coming off as ‘Ouu Oui’ as a single to show further versatility.
As the project incorporates a lot of different sound within its production and even within your writing/melodies, how would you best define your sound?
It’s hard to put one definition on it as it stems from so many different styles of music, I probably wouldn’t even try to get caught up in defining it and just enjoy it, cause the sound will probably develop and change but the feelings I intend to portray with the music, that will be what’s most important.