Back in the autumn of 2018, Krystal Klear burst onto the global electronic music scene with the inescapable nu-disco smasher Neutron Dance. An instant summer anthem, it was the kind of universally-loved tune that can help an artist land a flurry of bookings around the world. This was the case with Krystal Klear, but he was quietly honing his sound long before he was known outside of his Dublin hometown. Following early releases on labels like Eglo and Rinse, he set up Cold Tonic, an outlet he used to put out his own records alongside a swathe of promising talents on the rise. Today he’s since found a home at Running Back, the German house imprint run by Gerd Janson. There, he’s honed his own style of euphoric, undeniably catchy house, something that can be heard on the forthcoming One Night in Pbar, his ode to the Berlin institution that kicks off our mix below. He packs out the rest of the mix with contemporary house pumpers designed for peak-time dancefloors.
I’ve been spending a lot of my spare time in the studio in between travelling with shows. It's been hectic, but a lot of fun. Tough to keep my head screwed on a times, but I’m really excited about what I am making musically and some of the dates between Panorama Bar and Life & Death have just been fantastic.
Where did you find the inspiration for this mix?
I usually overthink and over conceptualise mixes, which is fine, but it often makes the experience less fun for me. So, I decided to do a peak hour mix. As if you walked into the club maybe an hour or two into a set of mine. After the warmers and straight into the floor-fillers that I am really loving and playing at the moment. I also decided to keep my tracklist options minimal by choosing 10 records and 10 digital files to choose from in the recording process. Less is more, and I’m really happy with the result as it's not something I usually do!
How do you tend to prepare for a mix session compared to a club set?
As I was saying, it usually revolves around a theme. On this occasion, I went for a club mix which isn't EXACTLY what everyone puts on at home but again, it’s something I rarely do, and I wanted to expose that side of me to those who may not have seen me play. Usually involves going through a lot of my vinyl collection and then digi stuff to see what might work together. It’s generally a case of finding four or five tracks I 100% want to include and then finding stuff to coordinate around them... after that, it’s just torturing yourself with the recording!
What was your first experience of fabric, and what does the club mean to you?
My first time in fabric was with Joy O many many years ago. I had an incredible time. Joy and his then girlfriend Bon convinced me to stay down in London for a weekend after I was down for meetings, it didn't take much convincing as I am a rubber arm when it comes to a good time. We ended up staying until maybe 8am on the Sunday and it was an incredible night. fabric is an institution, and when myself and my HOYA HOYA family solidified our residency there, it really meant a lot and still is something I am super proud to have done.
You’ve swiftly become a key part of Running Back, how has signing to the label helped you develop as an artist?
It was my dream to sign to Running Back since I properly got involved in this music thing back in 2011/2012, so since then I have just been flying sky high. Ultimately it’s pushed me to try and expand what I am doing with every record. Gerd [Janson], [Matthew] Styles and I see eye-to-eye on a lot of the music I make, so that certainly makes me feel like I am on the right track as they are both musical encyclopaedias. Janson is a mentor to me, and this is something I am so so fortunate to have. He's taught me so much about music in ways that I don't even think he is aware, but without a doubt, I feel at home at Running Back and they are my family. For that, I am extremely grateful.
You exploded onto the scene with the hit, Neutron Dance, however you’ve been steadily moving away from that sound, with your upcoming Cyclia Two release moving in a very different direction. What has led to this progression?
I’ll be forever grateful for the success of Neutron Dance, but I feel with certain success it can sometimes put you in a “box” in terms of what your sound is. Neutron came out like a bang but actually some of the tracks on Cyclia were made long before, it just so happened that it came out when it did. Progression as an artist, I feel, is super important and I try not to look back too much on my music because it stops you from going forward... this is ironic because a lot of my music is retro-inspired! But for me, I just make music daily and always try to push my bracket a little bit every time. I don't see Cyclia as a huge shift in direction but more an exposé into another area of music I like to make because it's not all “da-doo-do-doo-doo-doo-doo”.
What does the rest of 2020 hold in store for you?
As I type this, Coronavirus is the big issue, so normally I would say “touring”, but seeing as that COULD be put on hold, I reckon I will be spending a lot more time making music, which, truthfully, suits me just fine. Working on music with my brother Kodi Najm. Finishing some production for some pop artists. Two interesting remixes that I’m excited to finish, and I’m also sitting on a sneaky something for Running Back which I'm stupidly excited for, but for now, I have to keep that under my hat...