Amtrac and Kastle have been out on tour for a bit now, including a stop at Art Basel where this interview took place. But their partnership happened a lot quicker than you might realize. Despite their obvious chemistry now, when they started the tour, they barely knew each other.
We got a chance to talk to them about how they bonded so quickly, and other things.
Although, the interview got off to a rocky start…
Amtrac: Is it OK if I eat my pizza?
How did you two link up for this tour? And did “Hyperspace” come before the tour, or after you decided to play together?
A: So wait are we recording right now?
Kastle: Oh, we are live. Oh yes, that’s actually something I picked up from Caleb [Amtrac’s given name] on the tour.
A: Oh yesssss.
K: So it just kinda came about because we have the same management, same circle, same group of friends, and they linked us together and then the song actually came from the tour idea. So we were like, “Well, let’s make something cool.” Started sending stems back and forth between each other. It went pretty quick, we did it in like a week.
I think we had to though because I had just gotten back from tour with Bonobo and we just had a week.
A: It went well though, I’m really happy with “Hyperspace.”
So talk to me a bit about how this tour has been.
A: Everyone is super cool, we hit it off really well since the beginning, we’ve been eating nice, Barrett’s [Kastle’s given name] a big Yelp person, always giving reviews on Yelp, he gets really into it. He points me in the right direction when we’re in new cities.
The music selection is cool too—it’s not like I’m on tour with someone who sounds like me or vise versa, we just compliment each other really well and the nights always go really well.
When you’re on tour, are you able to work on new material, or how do you keep yourselves from stifling each others creative process?
K: Man, I was writing a beat today and he [points to Amtrac] was like, “Man that sucks. Just kidding.”
This guy is actually a work-a-holic, I could definitely learn a thing or two from him. I was just working on a thing on a plane, but the other plane I was too hungover.
A: I do a lot of work on the plane because Kastle does most of his work in the studio with everything.
K: Yeah I do, but when I’m on the road, I make structures and beats and rhythms, and then I take it home and something will come out of it. I mean, this guy is writing four remixes on the plane, it’s crazy!
Is this your first Art Basel, have you been exploring Miami this weekend?
K: My first, but I’m only here for 12 hours.
A: This is my third or fourth and I used to be based in Miami, so I have a lot of friends here. it’s kind of like a second home, I guess you could say.
K: Caleb played Basel Castle, so we saw Heroes and Villains but then came straight here.
A: I plan on doing some art exploring tomorrow. Sad but Barrett has to go. He has to fly back for a couple days.
K: I miss my girl.
A: But then we’re meeting back up cause we still have half the tour to do.
What are some points you would give to a newly touring duo?
K: It’s just really important to connect on a real level. I think a lot of people do tours and they don’t really connect with the person. But I think the shows will go better if you have good chemistry.
We had met briefly before, but when we started the tour it was kind of an instantaneous connection.
Are you guys best friends now?
A: Yep. Best friends.
K: Best friends for life.
A: I think just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. We come from similar backgrounds of music, but both have respect for the same artists and things like that, a lot of the same sounds, which is important.
I think a lot of people will go on tour with people because they think like, “Oh, this is going to help my career and sales” or something. But I just wanna go on tour with cool people.
So with a night like tonight playing before SBTRKT, do you cater your sets to his sound?
K: I mean, I don’t, no. But I think my sound works well for his types of sets. It fits that vibe because I’ve always been largely been inspired by the U.K. My sets are always all over the place. And Caleb’s sets are… Our dynamic, between my grime and bass and his house stuff, it’s just a great dynamic.
A: I don’t cater to anyone. Unless I was opening for a band, I guess it would be a little different. But with DJs its kind of like, if you don’t do your own thing, it kind of feels—I don’t know.
There could be one person in the crowd who’s a super fan and they’ll know. They’ll know. They’ll be like, “Why is this guy playing this set,” and it would hit me harder than anything else. Having one person be like, “I saw you sell out, you went EDM on me.” Not for me.
What is one memory from this tour that’s going to stick with you for the long haul?
K: Conrad is a fictitious character that Caleb made up. We went for drinks at this place called Cannons, and when we were looking for it, we were like, “Wait, what’s this place? Conrad’s?” Then other “C” named places… then we went to Carson’s in Milwaukee.
The Conrad tour.
K: Can I talk about the flyer?
A: Oh god.
K: So he’s doing this show and they send over this flyer, and it’s an old picture he had and it just says, “Yes He Did.”
Did you have them change it?
A: Oh yes. I told them I was going to do it.
Excerpted from “48 Hours In Miami at Art Basel” by Allison Baughman. Interview conducted December 6, 2014.