Kai Whiston Processes His Rave Upbringing on 'Between Lures'

Kai Whiston Processes His Rave Upbringing on 'Between Lures'

In his short tenure, UK producer Kai Whiston has proven himself to be an eclectic oddball, from the zany off-the wall-gymnastics of his debut, Kai Whiston Bitch, to the cascading post-rock of No World As Good As Mine. Versatile and unpredictable, he's also contributed production to the likes of Shygirl, VTSS, COUCOU CHLOE, Tommy Cash and Dorian Electra. Fresh off 2021's angsty alien concept mixtape, Drayan!, Whiston now shares the lead single, "Between Lures," off his forthcoming album, Quiet As Kept, F.O.G..

The project draws inspiration from growing up with parents in the New Age Traveller community, having spent his youth bouncing between South of England raves and picking up the sounds of Massive Attack, Orbital and The Prodigy. "Between Lures" incorporates the same mix of breaks and strings, channeling '90s nostalgia through Whiston's own distinct mutant lens.

"It took years of hindsight, creating a distance from my upbringing to view it all rationally, and in that I saw the story was bigger than my experience and was about the traveller community as a whole," Whiston says. "It was through the impulse to write this project, hearing the stories from my mum (told throughout the album via phone interview interludes) and doing my own research that I found the beauty in growing up in that environment and accepted how it shaped me."

The single arrives alongside a self-directed visual that interrogates the intersection of Whiston's own experiences in the traveller community and its wider position in British counterculture history. Inter-splicing archival footage of police breaking up raves in rural England, the music video shows Whiston carrying the weight of the family caravan in a tangle of ropes before climatically sending it up in a cathartic blaze of flames.

Part-fantasy, part-memoir, Quiet As Kept, F.O.G. explores the impact that Whiston's unconventional upbringing had on his life, whether that be the influence his mother, Helene Whiston, who designed flyers for warehouse raves during the trance, hardcore or breakbeat movements, or grappling with the loss of his father to a heroin addiction at age one as representation of the much darker, unspoken elements that wreaked havoc on these communities.

“I’m beginning to understand where my own habits and preconceptions come from, and starting to grow from what I spent so long to keep quiet, out of fear of judgement from others or myself," Whiston says. "It’s as if a fog has been lifted.”

Now with the news that his label, Lux Recordings, has reached a distribution deal with Universal Music Group and the growing popularity of his educational platform, Lux Cache, which boasts alums such as Oneohtrix Point Never and Jimmy Edgar, Whiston is ready to introduce another side of his multi-faceted project.

Check out the official "Between Lures" music video off Kai Whiston's forthcoming album, Quiet As Kept, F.O.G., out July 22.

Photo courtesy of Kai Whiston