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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Keylow Talks Integrating Into the Local Music Scene, Urban Electronic Sounds, and First Burrito Experience

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 2:30 PM

click to enlarge keylow.jpg
Championing a sound he calls “urban electronic music,” Evan Floyd, aka DJ Keylow’s influences range from his experiences growing up in Houston listening to Southern hip-hop to spending his college years in D.C. partying to the sounds of future bass. While his professional career as a DJ began only three years ago, he’s already opened for artists like Big Sean and Kaytranada in the States, and has held an international summer residency at Shanghai Rose located on The Bund. He’s also a member of Proper Vibes, a young artists’ collective and independent label gaining momentum for their showcases, remixes, and original tracks, such as Mozado’s “On The Daily (feat. Rosé).”

He recently moved to San Francisco, and we got a chance to chat with Keylow about his moniker, Proper Vibes, and his first burrito experience. He opens for Falcons and Big Boi of Outkast this Friday, 1/22 at 1015 Folsom

Give us a brief history of how you got into DJing.
I discovered the world of DJing and electronic music during my freshman year at Georgetown University. My roommate showed me Deadmau5 prompting an immediate YouTube binge where I discovered artists like Flying Lotus and Pretty Lights. After that, I downloaded a copy of Ableton and the rest is history!

How did growing up in Houston influence your take on electronic music?
I came up listening almost exclusively to southern hip-hop and R&B. I think these influences are extremely present in the music I make and in my sets when I perform live. My calling card is the ability to weave those sounds in regardless of the genre I’m playing for the night.

You define your sound as “urban electronic music.” How did you come up with that?
Well, I like to think that my music isn’t genre defined, it’s more about a specific sound. So the "urban electronic" designation is really a way to for me to express how I’m intertwining all those Southern hip-hop and soul influences into electronic music.

How does your DJ name reflect your style?
To be honest, I think the Keylow name is more a reflection of my personality as an introverted-extrovert than my style or sound. For instance, I find myself out and about, frequently going to shows, events, and parties with friends, but I think most would tell you I’m a pretty quiet and laid back person. I like being out in the crowd, but (oddly enough as a DJ) don’t need to be the center of attention to have a great time. So the Keylow name allows me to put myself out there while still remaining somewhat low-key. I think this is evident in my performances since I’m a DJ who very rarely uses the mic and allows the music to speak for itself.

While your professional career is still quite young, you held a residency in Asia for three months. What were the crowds like?
I held a summer residency at Shanghai Rose for three months. It was an incredible experience where I was able to share music week in and week out with a packed club of people hungry for new and interesting sounds. One of the most unique differences I found during my time there was how little crowds cared about vocals and 'knowing the song' - if the track was fire, they ate it up. I think in America, we are bombarded with familiar music with catchy lyrics via radio and other outlets and develop a need to hear those cues out at night to get us excited and ready to dance. It was so refreshing to be able to play a set of brand new music from the depths of SoundCloud and have a crowd not only embrace it but ask for more and more of it! I would go back in a second.

What prompted your recent move to San Francisco?
Apart from DJing, I have a full-time job that offered me the opportunity to work anywhere in the country. I had never been to the West Coast before so I figured what better time than now to try something new and expand my horizons both musically and professionally?

How are you finding integrating into the music scene here to be?
I think switching to a new city, especially one on the other side of the country, is always going to be tough. It definitely took me some time to identify the venues and event organizers who are putting on the events that make sense for my sound. While I haven’t broken into every place I want to be just yet, I really have to shout out 1015 Folsom for giving me my first opportunities here in the Bay Area. I think my first show with Hermitude for them went extremely well and I’m very grateful they asked me back to perform alongside a living legend in Big Boi. Hopefully, after this one, you’ll be seeing me around the city much more often!
What was your first real burrito experience like?
So Chipotle doesn’t count? Haha. Well, before the New Year, after playing some pickup basketball with my new roommate and his friends we went to this hole-in-the-wall spot that used to be called Ocean Taqueria, but now, supposedly, called City Taqueria. I kid you not, easily the most satisfied I’ve ever felt after a burrito – scary good. Not going to say its better than my mom’s Cuban/Cajun cuisine, but you have to check it out

You're part of the Proper Vibes collective. Tell us a little about it.
Proper Vibes is a music collective started by an extremely tight-knight group of artists who got their start in D.C. We put together intimate shows throughout the district and aim to share the most tasteful new music out there with our listeners. As we’ve grown, a lot of us have left D.C., but we are using that as an opportunity to expand the platform. You can expect a ton of new music and the first west coast Proper Vibes showcase in the near future!

What are some things you're hoping to accomplish this year for your DJ career?
My personal goals this year are to secure a unique residency in San Francisco, debut my first solo remix and original music, and to make a number of festival appearances this spring/summer.

What's a jam you're definitely going to drop this Friday at 1015?
I’ve really been in love with this track "First Time" by Falcxne for a minute now. It walks the line between soulful hip-hop and electronic music in the best ways. Looking forward to rinsing it for a big crowd.
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Christina Li

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