If you mentioned the name Killawatt to me a year or so back, the first thing that would have popped into my head would be brooding, precisely engineered 140bpm half-step. Over the last couple of years however, Watt’s productions have taken a shift in direction. The growling, depth charge subs, and ultra-crisp production skills are still there, however Matt Watt, the artist behind the project has begun to explore slower tempos in the form of gnarled off-kilter techno.
Alongside a slew of 12”s in this newfound vein (notably including a wickedly twisted EP for Tom Diccico’s immaculate Run Out Run series), earlier this year saw the release of Watt’s debut LP, émigré. Comprising a mix of gristled warehouse stompers and deranged, circuit-bent dub, the distinctive energy and crushing bass-weight that defined early Killawatt releases feels as present as ever.
With a selection of remixes of LP cuts due out shortly, we decided to catch up with Watts to find out about some of his most memorable gigging experiences, as part of our That Time When series.
Pink Floyd have, and probably will always be the greatest band ever for me so to be able to see Roger Waters & Nick Mason perform ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ live at Earls Court was truly mind blowing. It’s hard to express in words how epic the performance, production and sound was in all honesty, but you know it must be impressive when you’re surrounded by middle aged men sobbing through the vocal solo in ‘Great Gig in the Sky’, and Gilmour’s spine tingling guitar solo in ‘Comfortably Numb’.
The Osiris Boat Party at Outlook in 2013 is easily the most fun I’ve had at a festival. All the sets I played that weekend were awesome but playing back to back with Icicle on the Osiris Music UK boat party was hilarious and so much hype. Jeroen was somebody I had always looked up to as a producer so to organise a last minute b2b was a big deal for me at the time. The set started pretty deep, gradually quickening and intensifying into all out OTT techy, jump up shenanigans by the end. Outlook has always been a festival where the DJ’s tend to let go and get a bit silly and this boat party definitely confirmed that. I have to give a shout to the MC Toast too, for being on point and whipping the boat up into a frenzy.
Booking Shackleton, Laurel Halo and Demdike Stare was very impressive scheduling from St Johns Sessions. Shackleton is one of my top three producers and DJs, and this was the first time I had managed to check out his live set. The place was packed and I was stood right at the very back, tucked next to a pillar carrying one of the many speakers dotted around. Not being able to see much I just ended up head down, zoning out hard to the music. The sheer simplicity, rhythmic energy, rawness and power of Shackleton’s sound definitely left a lasting impression on me - it was pure brilliance!
Due to an unfortunate health and safety incident at Stattbad a few weeks earlier, this Stattnacht gig was been moved to a small complex of derelict warehouses elsewhere in Berlin but it turned out to be an absolute corker. On what must have been one of the hottest days of the year, the smaller, but not insignificant room two was absolutely packed (and seriously sweaty) by the time I’d finished playing the first two hours. Dadub were up next with a super dark, tribal live set, and then Paula Temple finished off the night with a barnstormer.
I got way too drunk and ended up spending the whole night rambling around on my own having an absolute whale of a time chatting shit to countless Germans and having it to Paula Temple’s set of fast paced, euphoric techno. Eventually I woke up at 9am on a sofa in the bar, got lost walking back to my hotel and chilled in a park with a few stragglers before eventually making it to bed. All in all it was a pretty fun night.
It was really cool to be involved in the first night of Tommy Four Seven’s new ‘47’ event, 47.1 at the Arena Club in Berlin. Tommy was super excited about it all and that seemed to flow through everybody there that night. It was one of the sets that just went absolutely perfectly. The energy was right, the crowd was amazing and I was fully in the zone. Unfortunately the 8am flight back was not so great…