• Kastle • 城 • замок • 성곽 • Kastello • κάστρο •
The popularity of bass-heavy dance music is spreading like wildfire across the world, with many producers crafting their own styles of dubstep, grime and garage. In the humble city of Pittsburgh, PA DJ/producer Kastle has cultivated his own style of bass-heavy beats with a soulful twist reminiscent of classic Chicago house.
After teaching himself guitar and piano around the age of 12, Barrett Richards pooled his efforts towards electronic instrumentation about two years later. He began taking production as seriously as he did DJing during that time, and involved himself deep into the Northeast rave scene. It was no surprise that in time, though, personal growth and 14 years of production experience paired with a degree in audio engineering would breed a new sound. Kastle came to life at a pivotal moment after a big move from Boston back to his hometown of Pittsburgh in March 2009. After nearly a year of conceptualizing, he knew he was working on something special.
The name itself implies a fortress, a personal space that is used to cultivate a long-time love of hip-hop and R&B and fuse it with the magnetizing effect that dubstep, garage and bass-heavy music has had on Barrett and, really, the various communities of underground electronic music. Readjusting to Steel City – a concentrated environment of blue collars and strong values – he wasted zero effort to get the project off the ground.
The studio and touring dichotomy of an artist’s life is a perfect yin & yang for Kastle in both his production and outlook. His professional experience as an engineer puts forth clean, crisp production, but his love for the party provides a playful bass that eats a room. Altogether, the wide varieties of vocals – both originals and sampled – are a key element to Kastle’s sound. “I grew up on hip hop and R&B, and sampling is considered an art form,” he says. “It’s becoming more and more fun to dig through old records and find obscure samples.” He cites another unexpected influence -legendary French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, who had once said that “it’s not where you take things from, it’s where you take them to.”
Straight out of the gates Kastle has garnished strong media attention from the likes of XLR8R, URB and Fact Magazine along with plays on BBC Radio 1.His fresh and unique production work has also seen him working with big labels such as Ministry of Sound and Scion A/V and he has lent his production chops to rework artists such as Example, Blu Mar Ten and The Glitch Mob. With so much accomplished in such a short time, it is clear that not even the sky is the limit for the future of Kastle.
“Kastle pushes the kind of soulful, low-end-centered, forward-thinking dubstep tunes that could just as easily soundtrack a night out at the club as they could the lonely walk home afterwards.” – XLR8R
“Kastle hails from the US, and has been keeping us up to date with his various remixes and original productions for a little while now. One of our favourites is his remix of Cassie’s ‘Me & U’, where one of the best R’n’B songs of recent years gets warped into a bass-drenched cyber-pop epic reminiscent of early Joker and Bok Bok’s ‘Youth Blood’ remix.” – FACT Magazine
“The field recording of a playground that starts off “You Got the Love” fits the theme of Inner Child, a compilation whose proceeds go to benefit Atlanta’s Dream House for Kids, from which the track is taken, but is a bit less instep with the song itself. Kastle’s soulful number is equal parts mysterious, Burial-esque dubstep and classic piano house, but not the least bit childish or playful in any way. Both the poignant vocal melody and solid production work are trademarks of an artist that takes his work seriously. Regardless, the thoughtful, grooving sounds heard within “Love” are sure to stand out amongst the other contributed tracks on the philanthropic release.” – XLR8R
“…saunters along a crush-worthy progression and R&B perfection. It’s dubby and dancey and totally party, afterparty, after-afterparty appropriate.” – Culture Of Me
“Kastle looks poised to make his mark in the burgeoning North America scene and hold his own with any UK producers who claim rights to the future sound of garage music. “ – So Sincerious
“With a tracklisting which boasts taste, sufficient amounts of bass and interesting drum patterns – Kastle has set himself up perfectly for a big year in 2010. Not forgetting to mention, the productions are top notch.” – Hush House
“…a bassy trip to Sexytown. This is bass your whole family will love. There are plenty of remixes to which one could easily get their swerve on. From slow dubby beats to sped up amens, it’s all slathered in deep, sexy bass and mixed with precision. Packed with swagger, this mix is sure to be in heavy rotation for some time to come.” – Truculence