Electronication: Kay Wilder’s Innovative New Mix Show
Kay Wilder is a DJ and Producer from the Netherlands with an unusually expansive take on music, and he’s just launched a new weekly mix show called Electronication that puts his wide-ranging view of the EDM scene into a really innovative, hour long mix. Electronication launched on New Years Day, and its first two episodes, besides being great musical rides, launched an exciting new appearance in the world of weekly mix shows.
Wilder has deep roots in Trance; DJ’s and Producers from the Netherlands have been hugely instrumental in shaping the international Trance scene since it started, and his original releases find their way into the sets of many of Trance’s most influential artists. Yet although Electronication, like all of Wilders releases at sites like Beatport and Juno, would most often be called “Trance”, the secret of Electronication’s fresh and driving appeal is Wilder’s trademark ability to put songs together like a magician who can make boundaries disappear. Electronication is a synthesis, almost a reinvention, of the dream-like and vocal sides of Trance that Wilder makes happen by relighting the Trance tracks in his mix with releases that bang out the rowdier side of the EDM scene. “My Kay Wilder releases have tended to be more on the trance side since that sound is such a big part of my musical roots,” he explains, “but I do feel it’s important to bring a diverse sound to my sets, just to create that high-energy experience for people. That’s why I really love the crossover of the dreamy and raw sounds.”
‘Crossover’ is an understatement. Wilder’s EDM influences include house and electro in addition to trance (and its broader incarnation, progressive), and he can work an artist like Seven Lions, a fixture on Beatport’s Dubstep chart, into the same mix with trance icons like Above and Beyond and Armin van Buuren. It’s an openness that’s built out of a genuine appreciation for music. “Beyond EDM, I love listening to modern bands like Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Mumford & Sons or even classical sounds like Vivaldi,” Wilder says. “Basically, I just love to enjoy quality music, no matter what genre.” His willingness to venture outside the lines of stylistic distinctions probably comes partly from his own musical background. “Over the years I played several instruments,” he says, “like the trumpet, following in my Dad’s footsteps, bass guitar and my big passion, the drums. Of course nowadays, I try to hammer my keyboards in the studio as well.” In addition to his DJ sets and EDM productions, he’s also know for live performances in which he pushes the boundaries of musical categories even further, in unique collaborations that include musical textures as diverse as drum ensembles, solo violin, singers or even full orchestras.
Whatever the source of Wilder’s ability to mix such a broad palette of colors, Electronication is above all a representation of what he brings to the audiences who come to see him spin. “Electronication is a real mirror of my live DJ performances,” he says, and his ability to feel the dancefloor is what really comes through on his mix show. He came up through the Dutch club scene (where, he says, Trance is actually not the mainstream club sound), playing venues like Club Noa and Time Out Gemert, as well the Dancetour Festival, one of the country’s biggest. While still very much in demand in the Netherlands, he continues to add a wider international element to his touring, performing in Germany, Russia, the Czech Republic, Spain, Malaysia, the U.S. and Afghanistan.
A weekly mix show is a major undertaking; Wilder says that it takes about a full working day each week to put Electronication together, including track selection, mixing, and recording his voice-over. Even without taking on the challenges of putting such a show together, DJ/Producers in the EDM scene, and especially on its Trance and Progressive side, work in a more complicated world of creativity than traditional recording artists. Like any other original artist, they write and perform, but often in a wide-ranging collaborative panorama where they put tracks together with other DJ/Producers and with independent vocalists, a collaborative thread that’s even more vivid in the world of remixing. Besides all of that, there’s a completely additional set of challenges in finding just the right tracks to consistently light up club audiences.
For somebody like Wilder, it’s almost like a single, multi-dimensional performance, which is probably why the EDM scene is so active in its media engagement. Keeping up with an artist like Kay Wilder is almost like one big long mix show — his original tracks at iTunes and Soundcloud, Beatport and Juno, keep his fans up to date on the studio and production side of where he’s been and where he’s going, while his Twitter, Facebook and YouTube feeds provide a continuous look into the live performance and touring parts of his world. That’s definitely a big part of what makes the beat-driven media madness of the Electronic Dance Music scene such a good time — when you follow somebody like Kay Wilder, you’re actually hearing him, not a corporate media department, and the whole multi-faceted musical ride is going on 24-7 in your own private time zone.
The new Electronication drops every Tuesday, and anytime after that it’s at Wilder’s site kaywilder.nl, there’s an RSS feed that works great, and there will be a direct iTunes link and podcast subscription in a week or so (Apple takes about three weeks to generate the direct link on new podcasts). The best part is that whenever you get to it, that’s just the right time to see what a really imaginative musical mind thinks you’d like to hear now.