Interview: Kissy Sell Out



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Kissy Sell Out is the alter ego of hot new DJ-producer Tommy Bisdee. His debut single, ’Her‘ gets an unlimited-edition release on Monday, and he plays the Time Out Lovebox Weekender on July 21

  • Interview: Kissy Sell Out

    Tommy Bisdee AKA Kissy Sell Out

  • He likes the potential to pervert dance music’s 4/4 hegemony…
    ‘It’s like the rules are already in place. The 4/4 beat is quite strict, so you can mix it up a bit. Whereas some people would perhaps not look quite so much outside the box, I think that because dance music is so black and white you can really make something that’s quite special, because people just aren’t expecting it.’

    He’s remixed everyone from Mark Ronson to Bloc Party…
    ‘I never really wanted to pigeonhole myself. When I do remixes, I tend to write things in movements, which is based on the fact that I don’t really want to have any repetition in my tracks. I never really repeat anything, which I think is really important. If everybody else did that as well, dance music would be the most fantastic genre ever. But by working in movements I can cover so many different influences within a tune, and it just makes it more like a journey. A bit like walking through a forest is what I always think of. The scenery is similar, but the wildlife can be different.’

    He’s got strange influences for a dance producer...

    ‘I like grunge bands such as Sonic Youth. And also a lot of goth bands, like Swans and Incarnate. It’s just because it’s different. A lot of gothic music from the ’80s, it’s full of expression, you know what I mean? That’s why indie music doesn’t really interest me much, because all indie tunes are two-and-half minutes long, and it’s basically, verse-chorus-verse-chorus. Whereas you pick up a really scary piece of doom metal and you know the writers are just doing what they want and expressing themselves, and I find that very inspiring.’

    He’d also like to change the dynamics of the dancefloor...

    ‘I used to go to see lots of bands in Essex, and you used to get loads of moshing at the front. I used to love that! Not so much punching people in the face, but just pushing people around, it was the most incredible release of frustration and stuff. I just thought it was really, really cool. Then when I heard records like Felix Da Housecat’s “Devin Dazzle” and saw the Mylo album had done so well, I spotted this… almost a gap in the market. People seem to be broadening their tastes so much and being more open-minded about music in general, and I wanted to recreate this moshing feeling, this feeling of wanting to go crazy.’

    His first white label, ‘Her’, attracted a lot of praise among other musos – one-time wunderkind Mylo and James Ford of Simian are particularly supportive…
    ‘They were great, they got completely behind me. I was this completely unknown name, an art student at the time that I did that. I was in Essex and someone pulled out a phone and someone said “Yeah, check this out, man. This is a little video I took at Bugged Out”, it was really hazy and I couldn’t really tell what was happening, it was just a load of noise really. And I said, what exactly is this and they told me it was Simian playing ‘Her’. I’d only got it into Rough Trade a week-and-a-half before. It’s really crazy how it built up like that. I’ve even cracked the speed-garage crowd as well. At one point I started getting lots of MySpace friend requests from south London speed-garage DJs, which I thought was wicked, man.’

    He’s rarely seen without his airhorn, a common feature of his DJ sets, you’ll be glad to hear…
    ‘It’s good you mention this. It’s just me communicating with the crowd. The way I look at it is that when you DJ, you’re an entertainer. You’ve got this incredible opportunity to communicate something to a lot of people. I don’t want to sound like Jesus or anything, but that is what you’re doing. So why on earth would you then not even think about the way you dress and just stand there and look at the bloody floor the whole time? I really don’t get it. I used to put my arms in the air and shout, but no one could hear me, so I use the air horn. I always make sure I use it just before the heaviest bassline drops in my tune. It’s a kind of signal, like, right, this is it. And it works. I think it’s cool. Some people think it’s a bit of a joke but it’s meant to be a serious thing.’

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