Kasra is making his way out west once again, hitting the decks and quite possibly, the casino. With EDC right around the corner and anticipation at an all-time high, Bassrush quickly jumped at the chance to have a chinwag with the Critical bossman.
This year has already brought a gang of must have releases from Critical Music, including pieces from Emperor, Current Value and most recently Binga vs. Breakage. With milestone achievements like their 15-year anniversary approaching next year, it seems fair to say Kasra has been wired for success from the start. With his vision and Critical’s aesthetic firmly implanted in D&B history, we go on to learn more about Kasra’s current tastes and plans for the summer—just before he delivers a special set Sunday, June 19 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
What are you looking forward to most once you touch down in the desert for round two?
I’m most looking forward to blowing all my money at the roulette table! [Laughs] I joke, I can’t gamble; I’m sure I would be useless at it. I’m just really looking forward to the whole experience. Vegas as a place is like nowhere else, so to be able to DJ at an event as insane as EDC will ensure a special time.
Critical is reaching it’s 100th release, is that right?
Well, we are on our way. We should hit 100 next year.
How are you celebrating the occasion?
Next year is 15 years of the label, so the main focus will be on a project celebrating that. I will make sure we do something special for the 100th release, I’m just not sure what it is yet but we are working on it, don’t worry.
We know quality has always been the cornerstone of the Critical sound, what would you say inspired the Critical aesthetic early on?
I was always inspired by labels that were diverse but kept the quality so high you would trust everything they released, regardless of sub-genre. I was heavily influenced by Metalheadz and 31 Records from the D&B scene and Sub Pop, Dischord and Touch and Go from the alternative, punk and hardcore scenes. I always wanted the label to be seen as one the record buyer could trust.
Binary Vol. 8 with VROMM just dropped and it’s a quite spectacular slice of loose, heady beats. Where do you see the future of that sound heading? It seems to be reaching a wider, more accepting audience these days.
I’m not sure what the future holds but I’m certainly hearing more and more music on that tip that excites me. You can definitely feel that there are some producers trying to push things even further, which can only be a good thing.
You’ve also recently shown your support for Italian label The Dreamers. What other labels are you currently feeling at the moment?
Ivy Labs’ 20/20 imprint, the new Alix Perez imprint, 1985, is going to be one to watch for sure, and Invisible and Division from the Noisia camp.
Emperor has presented such a huge LP with Dispositions. How long did it take to piece everything together? The entire album feels and sounds so cohesive.
Conor [Emperor] is probably best placed to answer this but I do know some of the tracks on the album are slightly older than others, and some are really new and were written close to deadline. It was definitely something he was conscious of—to make an album that was cohesive and felt like a body of work—and that’s hard with a D&B album, but I’m hugely proud of him as an artist and the record itself.
Your Underground Sonic Summer tour is jam-packed; we’re honored to have you throw down ahead of your appearance at Glasto, Let It Roll, and everywhere else you’re heading. How do you prep for such a grueling travel schedule?
I just try and look after myself—not too many heavy nights, good books in the bag, and plenty of good TV to watch on the hard drive.