Mar 27, 2023
5 min read
Ky William has an easy-going confidence about him. As a successful DJ, producer, label owner, and production teacher, he always has something going on. But despite having a packed schedule and mounting fame, he still seems relaxed and excited.
“I think having patience and discipline to not take everything that comes your way is important,” he says. “It all goes back to me wanting to be like, ‘I’m super pumped; let’s push super hard!’”
When we chat over a video call, he’s at home in Brooklyn, between shows for his first headlining tour. Until recently, this hometown hero has played most of his shows in NYC. Now as he preps for his next stop in Vancouver, he starts getting excited.
“You can only really tell so much from social media and streaming numbers, and it doesn’t really hit you until people come up to you like, ‘hey, listen to your music all the time. I really like what you’re doing!’ I’ve had some great success, but to actually see that in person is such a different feeling.”
Lately, Ky has been juggling weekend tour sets between music production, admin work for his label, and teaching classes about production and sound design. Mondays are his days off. It’s a steady schedule, one that keeps Ky focused and inspired.
With music underpinned by deep grooves and killer beats, Ky has built a reputation as one of New York’s premier selectors and most promising music producers. His expertly crafted blend of UK tech and deep house has earned him support and play time alongside industry titans Jamie Jones, Loco Dice, The Martinez Brothers, and Danny Tenaglia. If Ky seems to have a strong vision, it’s because he’s had years to refine it.
While growing up in the rich cultures of Brooklyn, Ky started DJing local weddings and bar mitzvahs with the guidance of a family friend when he was 12. Once in college, he moved up to playing local fraternity parties and bar nights. He eventually worked his way up to a monthly residency in Atlantic City. This steady growth allowed Ky to take time with his sets, fall in love with dance music, and learn the tricks of being a grade-A DJ and selector.
“I think you should be prepared to play a room at any time, no matter what it is,” he says. “Educate yourself on the music, go to the events, make yourself aware of what’s going on, and see how people are playing and how the crowd reacts. I think that’s something that really helps people understand what this is all about. It’s not only being an artist but also being part of the community.”
After spending years behind the decks, Ky decided to start producing. One night, after an Anjunadeep showcase at the Brooklyn Mirage lit a spark in him, he went home, bought Ableton, and stayed up all night making music.
With a love for deep, groovy sounds, Ky brings an emotive undercurrent to his songs, something beneath the surface that you can’t quite pin down. It’s allusive, but it makes the music that much more compelling. His songs carry a solid structure, a 4x4 beat with rock-steady high hats, but he adds innovative, interesting flourishes, like the glitchy hops in his first single, “Rabbit Hole.”
Ky is a music lover and a dance fan, so he understands what fans need on the dancefloor. He’s producing with them in mind, trying to connect with them. As a DJ first and producer second, he knows his strengths and weaknesses in the production booth.
“People who are DJs first typically understand how a dance record should be arranged and made. However, I think it also limits their creative side,” he says. “I’ve been trying to teach myself to let go of some of those rules.”
Shortly after he started producing, Ky acquired a record label. When he met fellow Brooklyn producer Ramsey Neville during the COVID-19 lockdowns, he joined him in running the freshly created Andhera Records. At the time, Ky only had one record out. But he knew good music, and he had a passion for learning. Before long, he was running the label on his own.
“I just want to put out good music that I honestly believe in, and more importantly, with artists that I resonate with and get along with,” Ky says. “I also think it’s important for labels to keep their sound evolving. It’s good for the culture, in general, to pump new ideas and inspiration into other artists that are listening.”
Ky William loves dance music and the culture behind it. And in his eyes, the more accessible we can make production and performance tools, the better. He’s even begun hosting his own workshops on production, DJing, and A&R around Brooklyn, aiming to support blooming creators.
“What really excites me is that it’s so much easier for people to get involved,” he says. “You don’t really need anybody besides yourself anymore. There’s so much good technology. There are a lot of successful people out there who are all self-made and never worked with a record label. They do it all themselves.”
But make no mistake, Ky knows that this isn’t for everyone. Success in the music industry means dedication, perseverance, and most importantly, passion.
“I think the strong always prevail and the ones who are in it for the wrong reasons will get weeded out eventually. But just be consistent. Stay dedicated. If you’re consistent enough and you believe in what you do. you’ll be fine.”