It’s difficult to identify boundaries when listening to MyKill. With a broad appreciation for sound, MyKill’s style draws inspiration from a variety of genres, frequently bouncing between them. He will be bringing an intriguing live electronic show to Harlot on Friday, November 7. This will be his second Saturday show in a row, after opening for nu-disco act Oliver at Audio on Halloween night.
MyKill moved to California eight years ago from Arizona in search of new challenge and a bigger DJ scene. Living in SF makes it easy for him to play at lots of different venues and to share his style of dance music. Thanks to a unique approach and fierce determination, he continues to play local clubs and garner attention as a noteworthy, rising musician living in San Francisco.
His most recently dropped a disco-laced EP last month titled Run Away, and in addition to original content, he’s released many dance-friendly mixes and remixes.
To preview his upcoming show (find tickets here) in support of Romanian tropical house act BOEHM, we asked MyKill to share his story with us, as well as some of his favorites spots in the city and advice for aspiring DJs.
Did you grow up in San Francisco?
I’m actually originally from Phoenix, Arizona and moved here [to SF] with my then girlfriend, now wife, back in 2007. Although I’ve been visiting the city since I was a kid, I was always attracted to the area. I finally decided to pursue music full-time and chose to set out for SF. I was already pretty established in Phoenix so it took some time to make myself known again out here.
After many residencies and playing almost every major club in SF I’ve become a weekend staple. You can find me opening up for many awesome touring DJs and producers at clubs like Audio, Harlot, Temple and more. I’m also doing a lot of corporate gigs here and there, including my residency at the W Hotel, and the occasional festival like BFD or TBD Fest.
What moments had the biggest effect on you during your musical upbringing?
Well, I’d say music was a part of my life at an early age. Although my father isn’t a musician himself he always enjoyed music and used to mess around in bands playing keyboards. I remember sitting in on those sessions and really wanting to learn how to play myself. I bounced around in bands in my teens and played guitar and synths. [I was] never really formally trained – I just picked up things as I went along.
Growing up I was really fortunate to see a lot of amazing shows that influenced me to want to be a performer. At first it was more about the live aspect but after discovering raves in the mid 90’s I was hooked on DJ culture. I remember going to the record store after my first party and just buying random records as I wanted to just learn how to mix. I finally settled on a sound and ended up doing events in Phoenix for many years with a great group of people. Eventually, everyone moved on but it was those moments that really shaped me as a DJ and musician.
Who are you biggest electronic music influences?
There are just way too many artists for me to list them all, but I’m definitely influenced by many sounds like Funk and Disco and Chicago House music as well as Hip-Hop, Garage, RnB, and even Techno. I hear elements I enjoy in almost every style and try to incorporate them into my own sound.
I’m also a station curator at Slacker Radio and program several different Electronic music stations there (House, Indie Electronic, Daytime Dance, and more). So I use a lot of my knowledge of artists and genres to help showcase where we’ve been and where we’re going within various genres of dance music.
When did you realize creating music would be your professional career?
I think I’ve always wanted to be a performer in some aspect. I always feel most at home when I’m on stage and sharing music with people. It’s not even about the spotlight. It’s more about the connection you make with the room that means the most to me. I think all of us in life are searching for that one thing that makes us feel complete and gives us purpose.
So once I knew exactly what that was, I did everything in my power to pursue it – including quitting my day job almost ten years ago and starting over in SF to make that happen. Now that I’ve come to this point I continue to push myself to achieve new goals and keep expanding on that idea.
What organizations have you connected with to release music?
I’m currently releasing music on several labels, [with] 9G Records being one of them. I just recently put out 2 EP’s this year on 9G, the first reached the number 2 spot on Beatport’s Top 100 Indie/Nu-Disco Releases. My latest EP “Run Away” reached number 9 on the Top 100 Releases.
I also collaborate with a lot of my friends on tunes and have several ongoing projects including, MyKill & Walker. We have signed our original songs to Urban and Lazar Publishing out of LA and have already landed several TV deals this year. Our next big signing will be featured in the upcoming USA show “Colony” airing in 2016.
Where is your favorite place to create new tunes?
I typically write everything at home by myself. I have a great circle of friends that I bounce ideas off and usually annoy them by sending my demos over and over ’til I get them right. I work with some awesome people though such as Party Ben, Shane Fontane, DJ Kue, DJ Nth and of course, Walker (Keith Walker).
It’s great to be able to collaborate with others and get different perspectives on what you’re doing. Making music can be a very lonely endeavor, it’s hours and hours of staring at a computer screen trying to figure out your next move. I value their input and knowledge and try to learn more and more as I go along.
What’s your favorite live music venue in SF and why?
Honestly, I’m very happy with all the venues I’m playing these days. My current favorite smaller room would have to be Audio. There is just something about that space that allows me to truly play what I want to play and have an audience that just goes with it.
As for bigger venues, I’m having a blast over at Temple, the remodel is insane and it feels like you’re DJ-ing on a giant spaceship. One of my favorite sets this year was opening for Felix Da Housecat there.
Where are we most likely to find you relaxing in SF during your free time?
I try to spend whatever free time I have with my wife. We tend to go a bit everywhere and explore all over the Bay and Northern California. It’s great to live so close to so many things, you really have it all at your fingertips out here. My favorite thing to do to relax though is just put my earbuds in and take a walk along the coast, as it’s only a half block from our house.
Who would be some of your dream collaborators?
I’d love to work with Josh (Goldroom) on a song, I have officially remixed several of his tunes. I am going to be heading down to LA at some point to work with Collaj and some other artists on music. Even if it’s not for my own project I want to help make great jams. [I’m] also planning on hitting up SXSW this year and hoping to meet some rad new people.
What advice would you give to an aspiring DJ?
Don’t do it! Haha, just kidding. It’s a different time though, I started twenty years ago when there was a great equalizer with a monetary commitment. I think it separated those who were serious and those who were not. You had to invest a lot of money into turntables and continually buying records. Now a days, anyone can get a program, download some songs and call themselves a DJ.
Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of great new artists coming up everyday and they definitely have the love for it. But that’s my point, just make sure you’re getting into it for the right reasons, the love of music and sharing it with people. Eventually, start making your own music and contribute to the whole thing. No one can predict if they’ll make it or not, myself included. Just enjoy the journey and you’ll be golden.