Behind The Mix: Kyle Hall’s Mix For Resident Advisor’s Podcast

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Every now and then a DJ mix comes along that simply blows us away – the song selection, mixing, and overall production impresses on all levels. Instead of just passing the mix along to our friends, we decided to do a quick interview with the artists behind these mixes and ask them about their creative process. Join us for the first “Behind The Mix” – this one features Kyle Hall and the mix he did for the Resident Advisor podcast.

Photo: Resident Advisor
Photo: Resident Advisor

Where are you currently based?

Kyle: I live in Detroit currently. The city is definitely changing; tons of IT and startups.

Is this mix a good sampling of the vibe in Detroit right now?

Kyle: It is a sampling of the music me, my friends, and younger people in Detroit are into. Younger people in Detroit are starting to appreciate that sound. There is an exciting energy bubbling up around dance music.

What DJ gear did you use on this mix? 

Kyle: I used CDs, CDJs, vinyl, cassette tape, and Boss RV5 Reverb pedal. The pedal was used in stereo on the Xone 22 DJ mixer – nothing too complicated.

Was the mix planned in advance at all? Any post production? 

Kyle: Yeah it was thought out. I had a general idea of which songs I wanted to put in this mix. I added some cassette tape sounds and an automated voice to emulate the auto reverse function when listening to a cassette mix.

A lot of the tracks on this mix are classics or rare/lesser known cuts. Where do you do your crate digging?
Kyle:  I buy my records from local Detroit record shops. A lot of newer things I play are from friends of mine who run labels. Then online I use Discogs quite a bit. The best way to discover good new music is just research who made the records you already like and just follow the rabbit hole the internet takes you down.

How did you get that great low end analogue distortion throughout?

Kyle: Overdriving the cassette helped in getting that sound […] the entire mix was recorded to cassette tape to give it the fat fuzzy distorted sound I desired.

The mixing is notably smooth with songs truly melting into each other. How’d you achieve this?

Kyle: All of the mixing was recorded live; the songs I chose just really went well together. You have to be familiar and close to the feeling of the music to get that effect I guess.

Do you have any tips for new DJs that want to achieve a similar sound to you?

Kyle: Experiment with equipment and gear, and see what happens! It’s okay to break the rules when you are using hardware. You aren’t restricted by software. Possibilities are endless.

Kyle Hall

Your new album, “The Boat Party” also has a great analogue sound to it. Any stand out pieces of gear that played a critical role in your creativity on the album?

Kyle: The MPC-1000 was the centerpiece of the majority of the album. By far one of my favorite pieces of gear in my studio. I even put a MPC XLCD screen on it recently. I haven’t seen anyone else with it yet!

Big thanks to Kyle and Wild Oats for taking us behind the mix. Do you have an artist or mix that would be great for this series? Let us know! 

  • Robert A.

    It’s a very creative mix and concept. I like the sound of a cassette being put into a deck and then the mix starts. Pretty cool attention to detail.

    Interesting how the cassette distortion was a bit much for some people when analog distortion is said to be naturally soothing. Which why it sounds better than digital distortion.

    Nothing wrong with that, not everyones ears are the same. I’m the same with AM radio. I start getting headaches after listening for a bit for some reason (AM radio).

  • Thebuttonfreak

    This does sound like Detroit though, I remember listening to these type of distorted mixes from the D way back when. I think this is just a reference to that feeling, listening to badly recorded tapes in your car with speakers that couldn’t handle the bass. Great mix but the distortion is a bit heavy handed.

  • jlad

    Love the Detroit sound, not so in love with the tape distortion here. It took away from the listening experience for me, rather than add to it, which I assume was not his goal. Perhaps if he wasn’t so heavy handed with it, I could get on board, but it just sounds abrasive.

  • Lylax

    is this a fucking joke? this is the podcast that blows your socks off??
    this blog is good for one thing….testing new equipment. this mix sounds like he turned the gain up on both decks, then turned down the main mixer volume. last time I checked that sounds fucking horrible….oh wait you wanted that sound and achieved with tape…..great fucking engineering skills.

    just to make sure I have my shit straight here….if anyone on this forum / board posted a mix like this it would be shunned. No one wants to hear distortion. if that is what your going for then you need to re evaluate your audio engineering skills. this mix is SHIT!!

    this douche makes this horrible / lo-fi / dream house mix and its a hit? the music would be amazing if I could hear the mix but the audio fucking asshole spectrum your playing it out of is making it sound like shit.

    I am surprised at RA for letting this shit hit the airwaves. I am even more surprised your praising this kind of audio bullshit.

    • Darnelle

      Go back to the beatport top 100..

  • Paco Loco

    Great mix and great tune selections!
    I agree with some others that the distortion is overdone though – it just sounds like a really bad quality recording and gets tiring to listen to.

  • mispel

    I like the tunes, but the overwhelming distortion is really tiring. I kind of like the concept, but if I hadn’t read the description I’d be looking through my signal chain trying to figure out what was totally clipping. In my ears, that technique may have been done a little heavy handedly.

  • Nogui

    I made cassette mixes for many years, but I tried to to avoid the distortion, lol. Great selection!

  • DJGaryB

    From the minute I hit play this shit is banging, got my head nodding to this shit. The cassette distortion effect is dope as it kinda takes me back to the old days.

  • Bcrogan

    This is some Mother Trucking ish from the D bitches. Greatest music city on the plant.

    • Brappppppppp

      Thank you.

  • Alfredo

    Can’t believe people don’t like this, it’s an awesome mix, that Detroit vibe is unbelievable, and the cassette distortion gives a warm old feel, but maybe most of djtt readers are too young to appreciate this, no offense but I think it’s the result of too much brostep i guess

    • 51bass

      I lived through most of the 70s and 80s and owned 1000s of casettes. Even recording direct from AM/FM radio my tapes never sounded this bad. It’s a shame cause there are good tunes but the distortion is so overbearing my ears are exhausted after 10 minutes.

  • Jungle Groove

    I enjoyed the mix! Heard traces of old Detroit with some deep bass!! Wish I had my cerwin 18 blasting this instead of my headphones!

  • Robin Renwick

    for this series, i would suggest….https://soundcloud.com/laurent-garnier/20-years-of-sonar
    massive meaning, legendary artist – unbelievable mix.

  • Llama on acid
  • DubluW

    Well as with any pretentious Bullshit, i don’t get it.

    • Steve

      So if anyone tries anything different to the norm it’s pretentious bullshit?

      • Oevl

        So we are supposed to accept everything that is different to the norm just because of the virtue of trying ?

  • jim

    I don’t get that genre of music, all the songs are impossible to tell from each other. Maybe that makes them easier to mix since they already blend into one another. Solid mix though, I just don’t get that weird old cocktail party music.

  • 51bass

    sorry the cassette recording distortion is just too much for my ears. Had to stop 10 minutes into the mix and now I’m stuck at work with a headache. Shame cause the tunes are pretty good.

  • p12

    an mpc 1k brotha!
    Checkin’ out the album, love the sound so far