Unabashedly intellectual San Francisco producer Kastle hears a huge “Boom!” from somewhere close to his Dolores Park apartment.
“That was big,” he says. “I thought this was a nice neighborhood.”
It could be spring fireworks, but it’s probably the sound of the 30-year-old San Francisco producer going nova with the release of his top-
selling debut record.
Kastle hit No. 7 on the iTunes electronic-music charts on April 23, accompanied by a Billboard magazine feature and Beatport.com and iTunes editorial coverage.
A 15-date North American tour includes a triumphant home show live at the Independent today at which he’ll bring the album to life solo with an Akai MIDI controller.
Audiences in New York and Miami are digging the more diverse live set, compared to his usual DJ routine.
“So far, so good. We’re off to a pretty good start,” Kastle said. “It’s been challenging for me to see the crowd be different than I’m used to, but at the end of it all everybody seems to be receiving it very well and everyone’s enjoying it.”
“Kastle” is an omnivorous, polished mix of R&B and rap-influenced electronic music that touches on house, downtempo and trap.
It was an intensely personal project that took six months to craft for Kastle, aka Barrett Richards, who self-released it on his own label Symbols Recordings.
“I wanted it to be very cohesive and diverse,” he says. “I really just let myself go and just wanted to create something that was very me.”
Smartly dressed, with an elegantly packaged album and tour, the Kastle persona is Richards’ most fully realized effort since he began writing and producing in 2001.
“Aesthetic is very important to me. It’s just a part of the whole story,” he says. “I’ve gone through so many phases and I think now I’m finally to the point where, yeah, this feels like it’s it.”
He holds a degree in audio engineering from the New England Institute of Art in Boston, and is an unabashed lover of Emerson. He quotes Nietzsche on Twitter and Instagrams of his tour reading material include Kierkegaard.
“I know a lot of DJs personally and they’re not dumb. I’ve had some say, ‘Straight up, I’m afraid to do that.’ ... But that’s what my music is. It’s very personal, why not really embrace it?”