From the gRLL to the cHLL, kLL sMTH Takes Collaboration to the Next Level

What do you get when you combine a seemingly neverending cast of eager DJs, an array of grills and barbequed foods, and top-tier vibes?

The result is the newest endeavor from Kristoffer Edland, known by bass and glitch-hop music fans as kLL sMTH, with arguably his most collaborative one yet: gRLL sMTH, the backyard-barbeque, summertime-nostalgia-inducing performance that fans and artists are lining up to see.

A gRLL sMTH set can elevate an entire event, transforming a section of the festival grounds or venue into the ultimate daytime party with the best soundtrack (and Dad jokes) of all time. The environment is fun, focused on being silly, feeding people, and simply bringing people together to have a good time. Edland has maintained, as he puts it, a “never-ending b2b format” to allow artist after artist to take to the decks during the set.

Beyond being a good time, these events serve as an opportunity to raise awareness of things that deserve the community’s attention and give fans a chance to donate to worthy causes that benefit humanity as a whole. During the 2020 gRLL sMTH live stream, $5,000 was raised for Conscious Alliance and Youth On Record, the latter of which is a charity that helps children gain access to music and art lessons. During the stream, Edland and his guests’ humor and creativity were on full display, and it gave fans a bright light during a tumultuous 2020.

“I would love for this event to bring more to the world than just serving up hotdogs and hamburgers and I think with the power of our community, this is entirely possible,” he said. “[Youth on Record] encourages kids to find their unique voice in an otherwise monotonous and discouraging world. The goal is always to go bigger and better every time we do this, so I’m excited to see what the future holds for this event.”

Before gRLL sMTH and even kLL sMTH was even a thought, Edland’s roots in DJing started with a love of turntablism that developed during high school. He was drawn to the dynamic energy of scratching and mixing records on turntables. This infatuation propelled him down a rabbit hole of music exploration, leading him to legends like DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, Qbert, DJ Krush, Z-Trip, RJD2, DJ Premier, and many more.

“Learning to scratch and mix vinyl was the first thing I ever really learned to do before getting into production,” Edland said. “It wasn’t until many years later that I felt my skills were on par enough to start incorporating scratching into my actual production. Once I started doing that, it really opened up a whole new world of possibilities.”

After discovering Tipper in 2008, then eventually artists like K.L.O, DJ Craze, Zeke Beats, and others later on, Edland realized that turntablism wasn’t just meant for hip hop, but that it transcends many different genres, fitting in with glitch-hop, drum and bass, dubstep, and bass music in general, especially as these genres continue to evolve over time.

Photo Credit: @auudrey.a

“It’s been a fun journey over the last decade seeing how all these artists incorporate their turntablist knowledge in a modernized approach to electronic music and also giving it a try myself,” Edland explained. “Music is meant to be fun and taken at whatever pace you desire so I try to live that mantra and just have a good time with it.”

This experimental approach to testing new styles of music has led the kLL sMTH project into many collaborative projects. The kLL bLL project was formed when Edland and production-legend Mr. Bill began working together on live sets. Additionally, Edland joins forces with fellow producers Duffrey and bioLuMigen to present Ultrasloth, a high-energy glitch hop triad. These collaborative projects offer the opportunity to gain a new understanding of music that you may not normally expect when a producer is siloed in the studio.

“The thing I enjoy most about collaborating with others is how much you learn from others when you get outside of your own little box,” Edland said. “Not only do you learn all sorts of different production techniques from each other but you are also basically forced to learn patience and accept that no two people have the exact same taste or opinions. Getting to work alongside and learn from countless artists I now consider good friends has been majorly fulfilling and I really look forward to growing my list of collaborations over the coming years.”

Photo Credit: @auudrey.a

The challenges and rewards go hand in hand. Another side project of Edland’s is cHLL sMTH, which as the name suggests, is his opportunity to feature downtempo production styles and chilled-out beats. You can catch one of these coveted sets at Firelights Festival in August and Submersion Festival October.

“[The cHLL sMTH sets] are something I really enjoy doing and look forward to finding more time in my busy schedule to produce chilled-out downtempo beats,” he said.

The kLL sMTH project embraces the idea of breaking the mold of what’s expected. He enjoys so many types of music that he’s willing to give each style and approach to creating it an equal opportunity, explaining that sticking to one style or motif can grow tired over time.

“I believe all artists should pursue whatever it is that inspires them or makes them happy at the moment. I think the unpredictable nature of certain artists and their work is what keeps things fresh and invigorating, so it will always be my goal to keep people on their toes.”

—kLL sMTH

With new releases and more gRLL, cHLL, and kLL sMTH sets on the horizon, Edland looks forward to bringing slow, sludgy beats, high-energy bangers, and everything in between to a venue or festival near you.

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Shaina Sklar is a Digital Editor for MP3 MAG. She is a writer and editor based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, co-operates Soundsystem Cultures, an events and audio production company, and she has been previously published with Street Ritual.