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Noisey Meets Melé

We caught up with the DJ and producer to talk record labels, Tel Aviv and EDM ahead of his new mixtape.

Krissy Peers remains one of the most exciting DJs in the game. He’s mates with Toddla T and Diplo, collaborated with Kano and has played some of the best sets we've ever lost our shit to. Behind the decks he sets off a mind-bending rollercoaster of hip hop, grime, bashment, garage, old school Ibiza anthems and pretty much errything in between. His eloquence as a DJ comes scarily naturally for someone who's only 21, disregarding genre with a "do I want" attitude that will forever keep crowds scrabbling for more.

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We caught up with him last week to talk about the differences between producing and DJing and why American club culture has a long way to go till they’ve got what we do.

Wassup Melé. What’ve you been up to recently?

Last year I had the single out with Kano. I did that and got a few festivals, which were so sick, and I was like, if I get any this year it’ll be a bonus. I’ve been getting so many, which has been really good, but I still feel like I’m just starting. I still feel like I’m not where I want to be- I’ve got a long way to go.

Your track with Kano did really well both on the radio and in clubs. Do you think dance music is becoming steadily more crossover?

I was talking to someone the other day about what is pop music and what isn’t. My mate said to me, “that Duke Dumont song isn’t pop to me”. Yes it is. It went number one. To people who are 16, 17, that is their pop music. I think it’s cool. Dance music was so dead for a minute, in terms of people being into it. When I was growing up, no one was into it, none of my friends. I found out about it on Myspace, I was into the Prodigy and all that.

What about the older stuff you play, where did that come from?

My dad was into music. Not the way that I am, but he had old Ibiza compilations in the house and all that shit. So that was that, but my friends have only started giving a shit now and in the last few years. I do like how it's got, though. Disclosure’s music doesn’t sound like anyone else. They haven’t sold out to anything, they’ve made that music from the crease.

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No matter who I talk to in terms of musicians and producers, Disclosure always come up. They seem so completely humble despite everything. Would you want that?

Yeah. I’ve sort of been trying it, but I’m not going to do it, unless it sounds completely like me. I’m very particular about what I put out, especially in terms of a single, that’s why there’s been nothing out except “Beamer”. I’m not going to put it out unless it’s like, me.

What else have you been working on?

The EP is basically done now. I’ve done a bashment song with Boya Dee and Brand New Flex, which is pretty cool. I always like to do different kinds of shit. I play so much different music when I’m DJing, I like to make tunes to go with each thing. I’m kind of a bit reluctant to make house-y bits though. I’m playing a bit of it, because there’s some sick stuff.

You can’t really disregard it.

I know. I just think it’s a very easy thing to do. I’m not hating on it, but for me personally, to make a house alias, and to make a different name for myself, it’d be a bit easy. I kind of like getting stressed out about stuff. I like making it hard for myself, it’s more of a challenge. It’s a bit more fun.

Melé Vanellé Volume 2 has got this retro video game vibe. Would you call it a concept album?

Yeah. I put out Volume 1 last year, which was sort of another concept album. I had this free album, beat tape, whatever you want to call it, and I was just like to my mate, “Can you come up with some art work”, and he came up with this cash money thing. I decided that every single one that I’m going to do every year is going to be a different sort of concept.

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Do you prefer producing or DJing?

DJing, definitely. There have been times where I’ve thought, “I wish I was just a DJ”. Once you get into producing music, you’ve got to produce this song for radio, this song for this purpose, all of that stuff. It’s like a love/hate thing. I used to love it, but now there’s a shit load of pressure on me. DJing just comes naturally to me. I didn’t have to practice a lot, I just seem to be able to do it. With producing, it feels like I’ve got a long way to go. I’m in a sort of ‘love’ stage at the moment, but next week it’ll probably be back to ‘hate’. That’s kind of what I like about it though, because I’m not putting out anything that I hate.

You've toured with Major Lazer and Toddla T, who both have really impressive stage shows. Would you ever expand like that?

I do want to, I really do, but I don’t know how confident I would be doing a live show. I think within the next year when I’ve got a lot of material that I can play, I could try it. Toddla’s thing is amazing, because it’s still a DJ set but feels so different. It’s sort of a bit more "proper" than Major Lazer’s haha.

Maybe that’s to do with the demands of American audiences.

That’s a totally different thing, the American lot. I went to see Rusko over in LA, and it was so weird. He’s a wicked guy, but his set, it was bizarre. There was a lot of UV and people being like “do you want a molly bro?”

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That's lame. Where else have you been recently that’s struck you?

I went to Tel Aviv recently. It’s really good, but the guys were telling us what had been going on over there, and it is a bit scary.

Could you feel that people are on edge when you’re out there?

Yeah. I sort of felt it. When we got to the airport they kept us there for about 45 minutes because they thought we were drug smuggling. The promoter took us to the airport, so it did look like one guy was putting three English people on a plane. They took all our documents and put us in a back room.

Is Slick Don, your MC, a regular feature in your sets now?

Yeah. We started out as a trial about a year ago, and then we did a few festivals, and now we’re doing every single set together. He’s become my best friend. I was looking for an MC for ages, but you need to find someone who works with you on a personal level, otherwise it’s going to be a pain in the arse when you’re touring. He does get on my nerves, and probably the other way round, but I love him. It’s sort of become a thing - people know us together, and the set works well.

Sounds like the best kind of bromance. Cheers Melé, keep fighting the good fight.

Mele's got a new mixtape coming out tomorrow, called Melé Vanellé Volume Two, and we’ve got an exclusive track from it, “Purple Flowers”, for your listening pleasure. It's sick.

Follow Tamara on Twitter: @tamararoper