Kasey Taylor is one of the most respected names on the Australian electronic music scene, and he has been at the top of his game since the mid-nineties.
He has been involved in the Australian scene since its inception, and was one of the first people from the country to start getting international bookings.
He was heavily influenced and mentored by John Digweed who had him play at Bedrock events in the UK.
More than just a DJ, Kasey Taylor is also a producer and founder of the highly influential Vapour Recordings’.
In addition to recording us an exclusive podcast, Kasey Taylor also took the time to answer a few questions…
How did you find the format, what was the vibe/energy you were trying to capture?
I don’t like playing short sets or doing short mixes so this was an absolute pleasure. For me it’s about the journey, and the trick is being able to program a mix for about 3 hours that’s actually interesting, and not just full of peak moments. So, when I was asked to do a 333 mix, I jumped at the chance.
Tell us how you first found your love for music, electronic or just in general?
I used to roller skate when I was a kid between the ages of about 6 through to 18 years old. I used to go to a roller-skating rink that was owned by family friends, and I was always a nuisance running around the place. I’ve always loved music, and especially what the DJ there played. I always went up there, and hung around to watch what he did with the decks, and was just amazed at how he mixed two records together over and over again. I started spending more time hanging up in the DJ booth than skating to the point where one day he said to me, ‘I just need to do something in the office for 30 minutes, do you think you could play these tunes for me in this order?’. I was like… yeah, no problem! So, I did that, then the rest is history. Eventually, I ended up being a resident DJ in the skating rink until I was 17, and then got my first nightclub job (underage) which snowballed into where I am today.
Who are some of your favourite DJs and how have they influenced your own style?
Once I got into serious electronic music such as house, deep house, progressive house etc, it was listening to Sasha and John Digweed where I started to find my sound. They were the absolute kings of the sound I loved, and I warmed up for John Digweed in 1996, which was the very first time he came out to Australia. He loved what I did, to the point where he said if I ever come over to the UK, then to hit him up, and he would arrange me a couple of UK gigs. John Digweed was true to his word, and I ended up warming up at 2 gigs for him in the UK, and also played a few gigs at his legendary Bedrock night at Heaven in London. John Digweed was definitely the one that helped kick start my international career, and will always be a massive influence to me. These days I’m also influenced by the likes of Patrice Bäumel and Guy J, as I love the overall vibe of their sound. They are DJs that take you on a journey, and really know how to structure a set, which is exactly how I like to play.
You run 3 separate labels ‘Vapour Recordings’, ‘eVapour8’ and ‘Lo-FI 45’, what inspired you to start your own labels and do you have any tips for up-and-coming labels?
I started Vapour Recordings in 1997. My decision to set up this label was because at the time I had another record deal with Mushroom, but that was for another project I was doing with someone else. When I started to produce on my own, Mushroom weren’t interested in my solo stuff, as it was very different from the collaborative project. I sent some of my solo stuff to to John Digweed who loved them, and after he started playing them in his sets, I felt inspired to keep pushing that sound.
I just knew there was something in that music, and it needed to be out in the public. So, I set up the label, and 156 releases later, it’s still running today. Vapour was predominately a progressive house label, so when I was looking at doing stuff that was more techno and tech house focused, I didn’t want to upset the loyal following that Vapour had. That’s why I decided to set up eVapour8 and Lo-Fi-45 as platforms for sourcing and nurturing local talent. EVapour and Lo-Fi-45 have taken a backseat at the moment. I took a three-year break from running all of the record labels and when I returned decided to rebrand Vapour, and merge all three of the different labels into Vapour Recordings.
Tell us a few of your favourite nightspots and what it is that stands out about them?
I have had the pleasure of playing some amazing places around the world and it’s very hard to single any of them out. I’ve done gigs and festivals where I’ve played to crowds of around 15,000+ people, but I have also played in lots of small clubs with a more intimate vibe. I like them both equally but I love the ones where I get the chance to play a long set and really take people somewhere. Places like Argentina, Mexico, Japan are always standouts for me. As I said, there are so many places I could put here, and it’s hard for me to single out just a few. I love anywhere we people dance, and I get to play my favourite music.
Can you tell us about your time at the iconic Melbourne club The Mansion? What are some most memorable moments?
That place was something else! It was all about a time and a place and the music at that time. Some venues around the world just have that magic about them, and this was definitely one of them. It was one of the real first underground clubs in Melbourne and it suited my music perfectly, plus at that time the music I played was a relatively new genre, so everything was fresh and exciting with lots of experimentation. All the international DJs that were coming over to Australia for the first time were all playing there, and that was one of the things which helped create the magic. I remember one night when John Digweed played, the dance floor was actually vibrating under us due to everyone dancing so hard, and at one point we genuinely thought it was going to collapse to the bottom level. It was a bit of a health and safety nightmare due to being such an old building, but that was all part of the magic.
The places we grow up in, various locations and cities can have a powerful effect on our creative energy. Tell us a bit about Melbourne (or other cities) and how you feel they have influenced your sound and direction?
Melbourne has such an awesome music culture and it’s extremely diverse. I always loved the talent we have had here. I was proud to be a part of helping take the Aussie sound to the rest of the world back in the day, and I’m still proud of doing it today. If you look at it today, there is an abundance of talent here in Australia, and the rest of the world is looking at us frequently to see what’s happening down under. I remember we always used to be influenced by what was going on in the UK music scene or other places in the world at the time when they were peaking, but I really feel that now Australia is on the map with its own sound and scene. People are starting to get influenced by us, and I truly believe that we are up there as one of the world’s most healthy club scenes.
Apart from DJing, producing and running your labels, how do you spend your time?
I’m usually super busy, and generally, I like to just spend my time off just chilling out. If I’m feeling sporty, then I also like to play tennis or another ball sport.
What’s next in 2022 any exciting upcoming releases or gigs?
There are heaps of releases in the pipeline at the moment. I will have new releases on Vapour from Jamie Stevens, Mike Rish, Karl Pilbrow, John Baptiste, myself and a few others. I also have my next release with Karl Pilbrow coming out on Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat label in June, and I’m also playing at the Sudbeat showcase party at ADE in Amsterdam this October. I’ll have a few other gigs over there as part of a European tour, but some of it is still getting confirmed, so I can’t announce all of it just yet. There are lots of things happening in 2022, and I’m excited about all of it.