K.L.O (Kursa, Lone Drum, and Osmetic) are set to release their next EP Ultra Mysterious on March 1. Taking inspiration from US bass music and being UK-based themselves, their sound incorporates both the gritty and lighter side of the spectrum. Their mutual journey began at a throwdown breakdancing event in Brixton, where Lone Drum & Osmetic met through a mutual friend, and later joined forces with Kursa after meeting at the UK Glitch Hop parties.
2024 will see K.L.O performing as only Lone Drum and Osmetic, and they are looking forward to getting back out there. “Lone Drum and I have been DJing together for over 10 years now so we’re very used to working together,” Osmetic tells us. Ahead of their US tour and their EP release, we had the chance to call Lone Drum and Osmetic, talking about working in a group, their latest projects, and their love for both the UK and US scene.
Your new EP Ultra Mysterious is set to be released in March. Can you tell me more about the story behind this EP?
Osmetic: After everything started opening up again after Covid, we all met up. We did an album called Slow Mode, which was a little bit more introspective compared to our other work. We toured that with Kursa back in 2022. Once we got back out there on that tour, you’re back in that world. You’re back in that frame of mind of dance floors. I think this work is just a little bit more reflective of what happened after that tour. Because we were more in the swing of the dance floor again.
We made the EP in Kursa’s studio in Bristol, and it was the first EP of ours that we hadn’t made either at my house or my studio. It was a great experience, Kursa had a great studio set-up too and I think you will hear that in the production.
Lone Drum: The vibe is different depending on where you are and what you’re making music on. I think that’s why you are gonna hear the difference between Ultra Mysterious and Acid Scratch, which was made with a lot more basic equipment than we had then. It has a heavier hit. It’s more “dancefloor” kind of exciting. And even though Kursa is not joining us on tour this year, we’ve worked on all these tracks with him. It’s all a collaborative effort on this EP, as all the other ones have been.
Osmetic: It’s all very kind of tongue-in-cheek. I think it’s quite fun, for the dancefloor, not taking itself crazy seriously. It’s about having a good time and a good vibe and using some weird and funny vocal cuts. Lots of cuts, and lots of sick basses. It’s definitely fun music.
You’re taking this EP on tour to the USA later this year. What do you have planned for this?
Osmetic: The key thing is that we all play to our strengths. The idea of the collaboration is that by playing to each other’s strengths, we can propel it. The path of least resistance. For example, me and Kursa have never cut on any of the tracks. That’s totally Lone Drum. As far as DJing, I really enjoy doing it. I’ve been DJing now for over 25 years. That’s something that we’re aiming to do with this next tour. Historically, all our sets have been K.L.O music with Lone Drum cutting, but I think we’d like to incorporate a bit more of a DJ style in there because there are so many great tracks. We want our sets to still have our signature sound, but we do want to expand on that as time goes on. We’re looking forward to doing something a little bit different than what we have been doing. Ultimately, if we’re having fun, it’s more likely the crowd’s going to have fun.
Lone Drum: We’re at a point now where we want to start testing some of that out as well and incorporating that into our solo sets too. We all collaborate with other people who are in the scene too, we should be picking them up as well as just ourselves.
Osmetic: I run the label Colony Productions, and I’ve got a lot of artists on the label who I rate. There are lots of opportunities out there and there are lots of options. I know that some artists turn up and will tour a specific kind of set. But from our perspective, that’s not a lot of fun. We wouldn’t want to go out and tour the same set again and again and again, even if the scratching was different every time. Even if we played the tracks in a different order, it’s still from a more limited pool of stuff. We want to open that up so that we can experiment more, I’m convinced that leads to breakthroughs.
Let’s take things back to the very beginnings of K.L.O. How did you three become a group?
Lone Drum: Osmetic and I met in 2011, through a few mutual friends of ours who ran a breakdancing and hip-hop night, ‘Throwdown’, at a club in Brixton called Plan B [now Phonox]. I was one of the resident DJs there, and from going there a bunch of times and having mutual friends, we ended up meeting each other.
Osmetic: In 2012, we did a Colony Productions Takeover at Glade Festival. I hit up Lone Drum to see if he wanted to come and scratch over my set. We’ve been DJing together ever since, so it’s been 12 years now. We met Kursa at the UK Glitch Awards in 2014. A while after that we met up at my studio and made four tracks together, which ultimately ended up being four of the tracks that were released on our first album that we put out in 2016, Acid Scratch.
Lone Drum: We didn’t even think we were going to do much with it at the start, but once we got the album together, we were all so happy about how it turned out. So we put it out.
How has working in a group made you grow as an artist?
Osmetic: There’s definitely an advantage to it. When we went into it, I had worked with other people loads of times, but only as a duo. I wasn’t sure how three would work, but now that we’ve done it, it’s a quicker process. When there are three of you, if two of you like it and one of you doesn’t, it’s a much easier decision.
Lone Drum: You’re always sure that you’re doing something right because at least two of you like it. If one person likes it and the other doesn’t, you can question each other a bit in a duo. Another strength that we have, is the different skill sets that we bring to the table. Osmetic has been in the music industry for so long, he’s got such a good ear for where stuff should go. Kursa is an incredible engineer as well, and I’m the scratch DJ of the crew.
Every tune that we ever make as K.L.O, all the sound design and the sounds that we have are put onto a turntable, and I scratch all the sounds in. That creates this different sound design that I don’t think you can get from a synthesizer. It gives that human touch to it, almost like when you put a swing on drums. That’s what we love so much about what we were doing together because we could really envision this working well on stage. We were thinking, “That’s the hook.” That became the sort of process that we use in all of our tracks, whether it’s super prominent in there or only a little hi-hat being scratched. There’s always an element of that in there. Having our three different opinions and different styles coming together really made it all work well.
You can hear the US inspiration in your music. As UK artists, what do you think is the biggest difference between the US scene and the UK scene?
Osmetic: We have a much grittier sound in the UK. What we’ve had here, which wasn’t necessarily so popular in the US back then, is the influence of hardcore and drum & bass. I think the way that we listen to bass here is different. We incorporated a lot of the UK sound into what would traditionally be more of a US kind of feel. We merged those two and then realised it worked, it wasn’t necessarily so intentional.
Lone Drum: It’s also about the vibes that you grow up with too, right? The sounds that we all grew up with are not the same sounds they had in the States. Going to drum & bass raves, for example. Our background of being from the UK will always influence our sound because the bass scene is way bigger here. I think that’s something the US just didn’t have. I mean, they’re getting into it massively now, but that wasn’t always the case.
Osmetic: With bass music in general, I don’t think there was a huge amount of scratching and cutting when we started doing this. I think it’s become a lot more popular as time has gone by. We were quite early on there. We may not necessarily be the first, but we were one of the first to bring that more to the forefront. And as far as the differences in UK and US sound go, the US sound is a lot more wobbly by nature, which is fun to play around with. A lot of the music coming out is quite dark and heavy. Our take on it is that it still has that kind of heaviness to it, but it’s done in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way rather than taking itself too seriously.
Lone Drum: And the interaction of scratching with an audience or a crowd is super immersive for them. They get to see something real happening instead of someone standing behind decks. They get to hear that solo element happen over the top of the music and in the music.
Osmetic: There’s a much more live feel to it.
You’ve got your EP coming out, the US tour… What else do you have planned?
Osmetic: The EP is called Ultra Mysterious so I think the answer to your question should be that it’s all really “Ultra Mysterious.”
Lone Drum: We’re going to be pushing forward, making it more fun for us. We want to enjoy what we’re doing as much as we have been, keep growing and moving forward.
Osmetic: I’m always pushing my label, and we’ve got a lot of releases coming up. We’ve got an album from Hoopla coming up, we’ve got an EP from Pheel coming up, another EP from crawdad sniper, and I’ve got a solo EP coming out. The next six months are going to be a busy time, and meanwhile, I’m going to start preparing for the sets that are coming up, we’ve got a show coming up at Cervantes, Denver, which we’re massively looking forward to with support from Jon1st. I’m super excited to get out there. We want to focus on the right shows and we want to be able to give everyone the best time that we can. Ultimately that is the purpose of a DJ or a live show, to entertain.
How do you combine your solo projects with K.L.O?
Osmetic: The music that I make for my solo stuff is music I make for myself, and that music tends to be more based on electronica and downtempo, that’s my true love. For me, K.L.O is more about dancefloor.
Lone Drum: I’m going almost the other way sometimes. I make a bit more harder stuff than for K.L.O, moving a little bit further away from the bouncy hip-hop side. For example, I’m writing some 140 stuff at the moment. But to me, you can’t really compare working alone to working with a group. I love working with friends and bouncing ideas off of each other.
Osmetic: There’s a certain type of synergy that you get, making music on your own is more like meditation, whereas making music with other people… there’s stuff happening that you couldn’t possibly have come up with on your own. It’s that interaction that makes it work. I usually prefer listening to electronic music over bands but having been in a trio now I can see the appeal of being in a band.
Any last thoughts?
Lone Drum: We’re looking forward to doing bigger and better shows, and can’t wait to get out there again.
Osmetic: I’m already super proud of what we’ve done. Without sounding corny, it’s already far surpassed anything that I dreamt, so at this point it’s just whatever happens, I’m very happy continuing what we’re doing. Playing a show is a great experience when you’re in that feedback loop with the crowd. You’re on stage and you’re playing and you’re in the moment, choosing what you’re going to play next. It’s an amazing feeling and I can’t wait for the next run.
Follow K.L.O: Soundcloud/bandcamp
By: Annelies RomTitle: Who The Hell Are K.L.O?Sourced From: ukf.com/words/who-the-hell-are-k-l-o/37508Published Date: Thu, 01 Feb 2024 10:38:43 +0000