Taking their name from the Japanese word for brothers, Kyodai are just that, although the duo are Spanish and live in Berlin.
Signed to Sweden's excellent Local Talk label (who they also record for as Bassfort), their records, such as the Method Man sampling 'The Scene', have the extra edge of an adolescence spent playing in jazz bands, glorious live piano lines and drums giving a vital organic energy to their swinging '90s inspired garage grooves. Read our interview with them below and catch them play at Dalston's Dance Tunnel in London on Saturday 8th June - flyer below.
You're Spanish, you live in Berlin, your production name is Japanese and you're signed to a Swedish label. Can you tell us your real names and talk us through each aspect of your international background...
“Our real names are Javier (Jay) Garayalde and Luis Garayalde. We've always travelled and we lived for several years in Brazil, then afterwards between Brazil and Madrid, until one year ago we moved to Berlin where we are settled and very comfortable so far. We think we'll stay here for a long time. The name Kyodai came about one day while thinking about the title for a brand new project, perhaps because we play in Japan a lot with our other projects and we have an special relationship with Japanese things. Regarding our Swedish connection, it all came from our long friendship with Mats, Local Talk's owner alongside Tooli. He talked with us at the very beginning of the label to do the first release with our project Bassfort, so we composed the tune 'Moon Shadow', and after that we started Kyodai and composed 'Breaking', which is our bestseller as Kyodai so far.”
We hear you played in lots of jazz bands growing up. This shines through in tracks like 'The Scene' (as well as a taste for Method Man). What instruments do you both play, what's your favourite jazz standard?
“Yes, our Father is a scholar and saxophone player. He gave us classical and jazz education in the conservatory and we have been part of various jazz bands with him. We both play keys and different instruments, but Louis has more expertise on piano and Jay on drums.
“We have a lot of favourite jazz standards, including 'Giant steps', 'Autumn Leaves', 'Chega de Saudade' and 'Waltz for Debby'.”
Local Talk has been one of the labels pushing the sound of garage again. What's the story behind you coming to the UK and buying garage records back in '92? Were you DJing/producing back then?
"In the early 1990s our Father had a jazz club in our hometown Pamplona (in the north of Spain), where we worked a lot playing in sessions and recording records too. Little by little, we started to mix jazz and blues with more '90s jazz dance sounds that were huge at that time, like the stuff on Giles Peterson's Talkin' Loud label. At the same time we got in touch with the garage and jazzy house music of that period. It was our first contact with electronic music and we developed an interest in it, playing house music and producing at the same time. We went to London to buy vinyl. That glorious period of garage which still influence us a lot.”
How far advanced is your album for Local Talk? Given your background, will it diversify from simply having dancefloor house tracks?
“Due to our current amount of requests for remixes and productions for different labels, we've had to postpone it until next year. We think that, for the time being, Kyodai should settle into the scene a little bit more before the album release.”
Can we assume that your studio is stuffed with loads of instruments? What is your favourite bit of kit and how much of your productions are live and how much samples?
“We definitely use real piano, real drum and real percussion recordings. The live piano and drum elements fused with deep house ambience are definitely one of the most important aspects of Kyodai’s characteristics. But all of these are mixed with a lot of samples and synths. We love re-sampling our own sounds and using them the old fashioned way, looping the tail of the chords, etc.”
Dance Tunnel, where you're playing, is below Voodoo Ray's, a pizza joint. What are the best and the weirdest dishes that you've had while playing abroad and where did you have them?
“The best dish we had in our travels provably is the 'Red Fish' from the Mar Na Boca restaurant in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. The weirdest was another kind of fish that we had in Tokyo in a restaurant with all the menu in Japanese. We didn't realize what exactly we were eating, something raw with a strange sauce, but it turned out to be very tasty!”
If there was a slice of pizza called the Kyodai, what would it have on it?
“Iberico ham, rucola and Manchego cheese with olive oil to give a Spanish touch to the classic Italian pizza.”
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