Back in November, Sydney-based singer, producer, DJ and rising EDM star Kristy Lee Peters, who operates under her initials as KLP, was announced as the latest addition to the Field Day 2014 lineup, having won a Triple J Unearthed competition on the strength of her track Down South.
Of course by then she was already being hailed as the next big thing in Australian electronic dance music, having collaborated with the likes of What So Not, PNAU, DCUP and Tonight Only, and receiving love from none other than Diplo for her track Hands, which the man spun on BBC Radio 1.
With so much already going on and with rumours of more big collaborations on the horizon, it’s a wonder we even managed to steal any time from Kristy Lee Peters herself. Kristy gave us an insight into her influences, what she looks for in collaborators, and about growing up in a vocal booth.
Music Feeds: You’ve said you’ve been performing since you were very young, but what led you to producing and DJing?
Kristy Lee Peters: Well, I was actually in studios and around a producer since a young age because my dad runs a recording studio. So I grew up feeling very at home in the vocal booth. DJing came about extremely naturally, from making mixtapes for parties I would throw, to playing a high school boyfriend’s vinyl and without even thinking about it, beat matching whatever records I chose from his collection.
MF: You’ve named your father as a formative influence on your music. Can you give an example of how some of his advice has influenced the outcome of a track?
KLP: Once I started using drum samples and more electronic sounds, he would always pull me back to “the song, the song” and ask, “Could it be played simply on a guitar, and still be a good song?” He’s very much into lyrics, stories, melodies as opposed to a lot of music these days which is highly based on big sounds.
MF: If you had to choose between DJing, singing, and producing, which would you pick and why?
KLP: Singing, always. Because singing just feels good. As funny as it sounds, when I sing, I don’t know if it’s literally vocal chords massaging your insides or whatever, but it just is a great physical thing to do. It’s like biting into chocolate for the first time, or sticking your head out the car window…that feeling! Melodies and words…I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing that.
MF: A few months ago, a lot of people were talking about Flume’s so-called ‘Australian sound’ dispatch. What would you say defines the Australian EDM sound?
KLP: I am probably the worst person to ask about this as I seriously like and listen to such a range of music and EDM is likely on the lower end of my listening spectrum! Ask me about some old school yacht rock, or even pop music and I could probably define those ‘sounds’ a lot more!
MF: You’ve collaborated with some well-known artists and have some big collabs rumoured for the future, what is it that attracts you to collaborating with someone? What criteria must they fulfil?
KLP: I have a funny process for collaborating 95% of the time. When I first hear the beat I only listen to it quickly, and I can tell pretty much straight away if I could connect to it and write something. Then I won’t really listen again till I’m all set up and ready to record. Then the ideas usually flow out quickly.
MF: In your track Hands, you sing “Just because you can make a beat, it don’t make a song“. What does that say about your own creative process? Is it more important to make a full-fledged song than something that fits in a DJ set?
KLP: I think they’re both important, but for different occasions and purposes. It’s like shoes, sometimes you need comfy warm slippers, and sometimes you need some killer heels. I have lots of shoes, and lots of musical tastes!
MF: Are the rumours of a What So Not collaboration true and if so, what can we expect from that?
KLP: It’s done and out – absolutely true! I sang and wrote their latest release Jaguar. Can’t you tell from the big stacked harmonies and ‘oohs’? That’s KLP to a tee.
MF: You’ll be performing at Field Day soon. Will a festival set like that be different from what goes on in a club or smaller venue? If so, how will it differ?
KLP: It’s really my first festival set and I’m in the middle of creating it now – so I don’t know yet! [laughs] It’s definitely going to be very dancey––sneaker occasion for sure.
MF: You’ve said yourself that there was a wealth of talent to choose from on the Triple J Unearthed site. What do you think made you stand out from the pack?
KLP: Hmmm…maybe my sheer obsession with this music thang! Hopefully determination, thirst for knowledge and not being afraid to know what I want shines through as positive traits when compared to others.
MF: You chose your track Down South to submit for the competition. What was it about that track that made you want to have it represent you?
KLP: It’s such a weird combination of sounds, it really messes with the listener’s mind a little. You have this crazy deep beat and synth line, and then sweet high vocals. I love taking two opposites like that and mashing them together.