Lee M Kelsall is a man on a mission. After numerous years in the music industry, and a number of years of success DJing around the world, he has just launched his own label Altus Project. With a number of big releases and plans coming up over the next few months, we thought it was a good time to catch up with the man and find out a little bit more about what he's got coming up.
OTB: I want to start by asking about your Altus Project release. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Lee: Altus Project is a company that has been running about 2 years. Originally a Touring Agency turned Global Agency , before Myself, Thee Cool Cats and Sean Roman released music under the alias for Mark Knights Toolroom Records and Kevin Saundersons KMS before this new step in the project . The Label which again is run and owned by myself, Thee Cool Cats and Sean Roman.
OTB: Where do your influences come from? Was electronic music prominent when you were growing up?
Lee: I wasnt really a big music fan growing up. However in 2006 I moved to Yorkshire, England to a town called Huddersfield. From this I visited Leeds every weekend to clubs such as KissDaFunk and Glasshouse which originally got me into the industry.
OTB: What else do you listen to in your spare time?
Lee: I love Prince and the Beatles. I'm also addicted to Aeroplanes Essential Mix
OTB: So tell me about your sound. How would you describe it best?
Lee: My sound changes daily, I love old Garage and 90s House though so whatever style I produced you can always hear subtle cut-up vocals etc
OTB: How much did ‘On The Road’ really ignite your standing in the industry? Obviously the Beatport success was huge!
Lee: In the industry Ive been around nearly 10 years. I was a Club Promoter, DJ, Producer, Manager, Agent, Touring Agent etc. Ive worked in all aspects so have a greater understanding than many people. On the Road is now nearly 3 years old.....My track NY Shuffle which was released after this actually sold more units worldwide. The OTR release was crazy. I remember looking on YouTube and seeing Solomun, Maya Jane Coles, Jamie Jones etc playing the track. At that time it was very surreal.
OTB: What modern DJs and producers do you look up to? Who or what influences your sound the most?
Lee: I'm a big fan of Leftwing and Kody. I always try and play their tracks in my sets. However MK from day one has been my influence. I bought a defected album of all his old work. It was next level!!!
OTB: What’s your ultimate ambition as a DJ and producer?
Lee: I would love to do an essential mix.
OTB: Do you prefer one to the other?
Lee: I prefer to DJ, as it takes me across the world. I recently played at RotoFest 2015 in Ecuador to 6000 clubbers which was crazy!!!!
OTB: Can you tell me a bit about how the track was constructed?
Lee: Both me and Thee Cool Cats live in Mexico, so its really easy on time differences to send tracks back and forth. I rang Tony Edit and told him I wanted us to do a track together and he suggested the accapella. I then started the track, sent it to the Thee Cool Cats who then beefed it up. It only took a day or so. I think the finished piece sounds sweet!!!
OTB: And why did you go about choosing the remixers that you did?
Lee: Altus Project is all about our friends and family. So I met up with Vanilla Ace in Miami for a beer and asked him to come onboard. He agreed and I sent him 2 tracks and he replied asking if Chad Tyson could jump on the remix also as they were both feeling the vibes. I know Thee Cool Cats have worked with Chad prior to this so the 5 of us sounded like the perfect team.
OTB: What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing up and coming DJs and producers in this day and age?
Lee: I think people rely on Facebook and have no drive. I worked hard to network and it takes time and effort and persistency.
OTB: Are you full-time in music then? Or what else takes up a lot of your time?
Lee: I run Altus Project Agency, Label and Showcases, I make my own Music and DJ. So its a busy week in general.
OTB: What 3 places are you most looking forward to playing this summer?
Lee: Its my first time back in Europe for 2 years. So Im looking forward to playing in London, Ibiza and my hometown Manchester.
Lee M Kelsall and Thee Cool Cats release 'Thee Corner' is out now on Altus Project