Keith Worthy hails from Detroit, the city steeped with history taking in accounts of the then Techno masterminds including Juan Atkins, radio shows that’s truly educated and inspired like the Electrifying Mojo show and the various record stores that fed these imaginations and enthusiasms back then to more present times. Fast forward to now with new names from the D representing new ideas and forms in house music including Omar S, Kyle Hall, Michael Huckaby and Patrice Scott to name a few artists capturing imaginations, editorial columns and headlines at various gigs these days. We caught up with Keith Worthy who has been Djing a lot longer than people think and now pushes out his own uniquely textured, raw, and intricately detailed interpretations on his slowly maturing record label Aesthetic Audio.
Keith Worthy is a very measured, sincere and patient artist slowly planting his musical seeds, learning and growing, taking steps to progress, mature and realize contentness and true happiness, the fundamentals in life overall. Not one for sporting the hype and its ever growing characters Keith keeps its real, raw and strong leaving the music to do all the interaction, talking and relationship building. Which leads us onto our relaxed interview discussing talent shows growing up, his parents dope record collections, learning to throw down hot mixes, his masters degree, pop sensation Justin Bieber and the media’s wider influence & control, the people’s uprising in Egypt and also the more spiritual aspects to the age old quandary, religion. This interview has been a work in progress over a long period of time but the true essence, feeling and energy of Keith and his art is what we try to convey. Check out Keith Worthy and his label releases here at Juno, as this month we will see new material released under a new guise Lamar.
KW: Hey what’s up man?
K/D: Hey, what’s going on!
KW: How are you?
KW: Im good I got a cold that im trying to shake off in the gym, so hopefully the gym is going to help me get it gone!
K/D: But how have you been?
KW: Man I can’t complain.
K/D: Nice, nice, so here we are we revisit and finally get this thing done, dusted and nailed.
KW; I know right. But honestly when im on Skype honestly I keep that thing invisible, and im not on here allot
K/D: Yeah sure man.
KW: Im glad to catch up man, how’s everything going with you?
K/D: Yeah im good I started a new job around a year ago and I travel a bit to to Italy four times a year, Stockholm last weekend for a friend’s birthday.
KW: Yeah I saw something on Facebook.
K/D: Crossed fingers my friends have bought a little Turkish restaurant in a trendy part of town Dalston and they are going to do up and redo into a Spanish restaurant and they have a basement and a late license so hopefully we can find a home for a small party I do with some friends. Because London is getting super super tight these days, venues are getting tougher and more greedy, the police don’t want any fun and love shutting parties down, so hopefully we have found our spot so we can hit it off.
KW: That’s were its going back to anyway.
K/D: Good, spot, good sound system, late license, understanding basic small concepts.
KW: That’s a good name for an event though
K/D: What pain in the ass?
KW: Basic small concepts.
Yeah I guess. (laughter)
K/D: Were we left the last part of the interview was that you had a release due out Abstract Art Vol 1.
KW: Yeah that was a while ago.
K/D: Yeah the rest of the interview is real nice so I thought we could catch up and go over the party you did around the Detroit Music Festival earlier in the year, Story Narrated By with yourself Chez Damier, Fred P, also the Moments of Rhythm EP.
KW: that already came out.
KID: Also the In The Dark: The Soul of Detroit project.
K/D: And also Aesthetic Audio 15.
KW: Yeah, Aesthetic Audio 15 im about to put that out now, but the Moments of Rhythm thing, those weren’t the original tracks I was going to put on the Moments of Rhythm EP, the last minute I was going through something that changed my mind.
K/D: Oh really?
KW: Just to see what happened man, and people seemed to like it.
K/D: Yeah the release was dope.
KW: Its different, something different, I was kind of going through something at that particular moment and immediately when I was sending the tracks to get them mastered I changed them like two minutes before. (laugher)
KW: I just sent them off and people seemed to like it man, the record sold out so I will have to repress more and now im putting out 15 and I really like 15 its a really nice release from Life Recorder.
K/D: How did you meet these guys?
KW: How I meet people typically who make records, firstly im putting my money behind this so anything im putting my money behind I believe in and what I try to do is establish a report with the person to, as its all encompassing you know what im saying?
KW: I try and work with good people, man I give off good energy and I get that back, I just work with good people, I don’t like arrogant people, im not interested in people with an hidden agenda, with the music man im a bit of a purist. You know what im saying?
KW: I do other things to make money but this aspect of what I do I want to keep pure, good, quality shit, so to get back to your question Chris & I we sat here and there blah blah and I pick up on peoples energy instantaneously and he’s a good guy man, and he cares about the music which comes out in the music. It was easy for me I liked it immediately when he sent it to me, this is actually his first EP to.
K/D: He hasn’t released anything else?
KW: He has songs on various projects; he just put something out on my boys Miles’ label, big shout out to Miles Sagnia.
K/D: What labels that?
KW: Atmospheric Existence.
KW: So miles did our Aesthetic Audio 8 release if you haven’t heard that, its a brilliant EP also, I mean if there is a connection and the music is good and we on the same page it just happens like that, its real organic for me.
K/D: Sure, that sounds nice.
KW: Yeah, it’s nothing blurry about it, its pretty clear.
K/D: So going back to the party you helped put on A Story Narrated By Us in Detroit a few week ago for DEMF how was iT?
KW: I just wanted to do something, I mean allot of things were happening in Detroit you know once a year allot of people come to Detroit and we have an opportunity for myself and Michael Zucker from Balance Alliance who co runs the label we thought it would be good to get together, we are good friends and I have owed him a track since forever and he has something coming out on the number 18 release so its just an opportunity for a lot of mutual friends, so all of the artists Basic Soul Unit, Fred P, Trinidadian Deep but he got caught up with another engagement, Steve Tang who obviously put something out on the label
K/D: Steve’s dope.
KW: Yeah he is, all of these people I am telling you about, again same formula they are all good people and they are not caught up in this bullshit called the industry.
K/D: Right, right.
KW: This industry bullshit. There good solid people, in addition to music we all sit down you know and converse about life and we kick it. You know what I mean real things!!
K/D: Yeah sure.
KW: It was just a good opportunity for us to get together and play, it really wasn’t even about me playing; honestly I was just happy that everybody got together.
KW: Even with everything else that was going on that same night we had a pretty good turn out, so im happy about it. Yeah I meant to get my brother Patrice Scott to play, but he had some gigs in the EU to take care of so he couldn’t make it, but we will do it again.
K/D: Sounds good.
KW: Going back to the festival as a local Detroit player born and raised, this one time of year when the whole world descends with its media lenses right in your back garden, how has it affected the area locally over the years?
KW: Honestly the feedback I was getting this year, you now im happy for the Paxahau cats, I heard it was really good this year I mean I didn’t make it to the actual festival, but basically we were at my place having a BBQ’, playing music all day, it was a like a little set at my house, it was cool here you know! But the feedback I got from the actual venue was it was really good. Im happy for them, hey its in Detroit, its something positive going on here. For the festival to be here and grown again because you know it went through a tricky stage kind of thing and the fact that its still happening you know and im happy just for that. Anything positive going no were I live at, that’s a good luck! Not to keep re-hashing but that weekend of the festival, what I was used to growing up in, it was like on a Tuesday in Detroit back in the day.
KW: Oh man, any given day it could be 4 or 5 exciting things that you had to choose from and to be quite honest its not like that at the moment.
KW: That weekend is like a bright weekend for cats here who in the industry and making music, you know it was a good look.
K/D: Nice nice, London seems to be going through a similar thing with parties at the moment with added bad weather, but how’s Detroit looking these days?
KW: Amazing, weather wise its been beautiful, I cant complain at all, no 1 we had a 12 months of great weather it hardly even snowed last year so everybody attitude is good here, so really we been having 8 9 months of spring type weather, im going to go out later today in the boat and relax.
K/D: Your making me jealous I look out my window I know there is a festival on not to far from here and it is really raining hard.
K/D: So what’s next up for you Keith?
KW: Yeah Aesthetic Audio no # 15 now out, but I put the music up for people to hear on Facebook, I’ve got a release after 15 with Joe Drive and a remix from myself, a hot various EP, and another solo piece by myself that im excited about. Then there will be a compilation album, and a solo album from me in the spring of next year.
K/D: Your solo album any more details?
KW: I record stuff, but I go through my phases were im like, oh im going to pull this, because you know I want the whole thing to be nice, when this record comes out, it’s going to be special, at least in my opinion!
KW: It will be out in spring man, but you know im working to get additional support since, I want it to be properly presented.
KW: The music is going to be right, without giving everything away, you know, the packaging is going to be different and you know I want product placement to be correct.
K/D: We very much are looking forward to that one!
K/D: How have your other recent gigs been?
KW: I haven’t played in Europe for a couple months, but I been playing in the States and they been all good, but I do have some things coming up in Europe and its actually been good for me as I have been piecing this album together and doing some remixes.
K/D: Which are?
KW: I can’t tell you that.
KW: Some European labels, I think they’ll be nice when they come out, allot of what im doing is looking at the business aspect of what im doing with music. There be some immediate changes happening, I cant really say all this stuff in an interview but there will be some immediate changes in the way I do business, as far as the label goes im to the point were I have signed up a deal to have the catalogue offered digitally, I realize that for the most part people don’t buy music in the record stores anymore for what ever reason, how ever I feel about that it is what it is, not everybody is a dj and basically its not right that everybody has to go to a record store to buy your music so I’ve already set it up and it’s available now digitally . I hope people buy it and don’t steal the shit.
KW: Yes. Im working with an aggregator and they do work with Beatport.
K/D: Besides all the music it seems life good for Keith Worthy?
KW: If it got any better there would have to be two of me.
KW: I didn’t say that man!
KW: (Laughter) I smile everyday when I get up! New Aesthetic Audio coming soon go get it, thank you!
KW – So what’s going on?
K/D – So, big thank you for doing the interview it means a lot to me, yes lets kick it off with a loose chat not too long and then ill get the piece written up and on the site.
KW – Nice, appreciate it.
K/D – I want to take it back to your early, days, early memories of growing up with family and friends?
K/D – Because you were born and raised in Detroit, right?
KW – Yes, I get asked this question a lot but to be quite honest with you, I had an amazing time growing up in Detroit man. It was good for me to have those experiences…. My parents made sure that I had good activities, and things to do. These days in Detroit, most people only see a city in decay, and yes there is that, but to me you will see what ever you want to see. If you know the city, then you know there’s still some culture to be found here.
K/D – School and stuff how was it, were you into music, sports, and girls?
KW – Girls??? (laughter) Yep (laughter) …
K/D – (laughter)
KW – Seriously, music, yes, music was always there, I can remember back to when I was younger, probably 4th or 5th grade, and its a little embarrassing now, because I would never even try this now, but I used to sing lead in talent shows back then.
K/D – really?
KW – Man I used to be able to blow back in the day! (laughter)
K/D – (laughter)
KW – I wouldn’t even try it now. (laughter)
K/D – I would love to hear that, what kind of style was it smooth R&B?
KW – It was always R&B back then, but I liked everything really.
KW – You got any brothers or sisters?
KW – Yeah I have a brother, he’s a little bit younger.
K/D – Did you influence him when you were growing up?
KW – He always did his own thing, he likes music a lot, but he’s not into the same type of stuff that I like.
K/D – Sure.
K/D – When did you take more of an interest in music?
KW – It actually started at home with my mother and father both keeping killer record collections.
K/D – All on 12s.
KW- Oh yeah, man. I mean straight up and when I first started buying records myself, I still have some records at my parents place, my parents both have killer record collections … music would always be playing around the house.
K/D – Nice, it sounds like your upbringing has been pretty ok, as you hear a lot about Detroit and as you said earlier rightly so you can take from Detroit what you want. When did you start to collect records because you have been Djing for a strong while?
KW – I began buying records in High School man, we used to keep the little knock off jobs to buy our vinyl.
K/D – Yes.
KW – Even then, I didn’t really spend my money on bullshit … other than records, I would buy clothes, so we could go out, but I can even remember as early as sixteen hanging out in the record shops.
K/D – What record shops, is there one called Music & Melodies?
KW – Well when I was sixteen the record shop I used to go to was Shantinique Records, that’s like a really popular store still to this day, it’s a grass roots store they have all your soul, your hard to find stuff, the good stuff … they had basically everything there and then when I started getting into the other genres of music I would say yeah, Record Time and Buy Rite Records definitely. Im pretty sure that you have heard of those. And Juan had his own store Metroplex for a while, and yes Melodies and Memories.
K/D – Yes that’s the one.
KW – Yeah that’s a good store too.
K/D – Can you talk me through some of your early purchases?
KW – My early purchases were of course Soul and R & B, Detroit heat, Chicago stuff, Steve Silk Hurley, Roy Davis’ and Pierre who now are good friends of mine, and all of the classic stuff like Master C & J … I used to be gone on Master C & J!!
K/D – Yeah yeah.
KW – All that good stuff, and the basic thing that inspired me was when the records that are now known as classics or what ever you want to call them, as a youngster, I would be down at the club listening to them play live for the first time, which is a trip when I think about it now.
K/D – It must have been very inspiring?
KW – Yeah it was actually, I mean you probably hear this in everyone’s interview from Detroit, but one of the things that really made different forms of music accessible to people in the city was the radio show. The radio shows that were in Detroit, man, honestly were light years ahead of the cornball shit that they play on the radio now. Like the Electrifying Mojo show (featured here on RA http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?1280), some of my favorites for sure would be the Electrifying Mojo show for sure, Duane in the Mix Bradley’s show, Dj Dangerous … I loved his show, Jeff ‘The Wizard’ Mills, and Mo Master of The Board, and of course Derrick May’s show, these are some of the inspiring creative shows that kind of got me out there mentally.
K/D – When you did get your first set of decks?
KW – Wow, I’ve probably had about ten pairs of decks in my life.
K/D – Oh really?
KW – Yeah man, at one point I had 4 pair at the same time, I just kept them I don’t know why?
K/D – Nostalgia?
KW – I guess … I’m a just in case kind of guy (laughter), like with my record collection … now I am in the process of selling a ton of my vinyl, because when I first started buying records almost every record that I bought I purchased doubles. Just in case I broke it you know (laughter), same thing with the turntables I guess (laughter).
K/D – (laughter)
KW – (laughter) At first, I used to take my equipment out of the house, doing some mobile stuff, I used to play a lot of mobile events around the city, and I always kept a pair that I didn’t take out of the house at all.
K/D – Duane Bradley showed you the ropes as it is well documented?
KW – Yeah, the fundamentals, but I obviously already had an interest in music or whatever. What he did was he allowed me to find my own style. Back then, I would go by his place before I had turntables or a record collection, and I would spend hours a day in the basement playing records. I met a lot of people hanging out with him, who I admired, and therefore influenced me when he started having me open up for him at Club Taboo and Club Cliché (which was right downstairs from the city club in Detroit), which were very popular club venues in that day. I played these clubs and met, and opened up for music legends when I was a young buck (laughter).
K/D – After school how did you progress, college or work?
KW – Yes I went to school, I don’t talk about it a lot, but I guess that we are doing an interview right, (laughter) … I have a Masters Degree.
K/D – wow, what do you have a masters in?
KW – (laughter) Im the type of guy that likes to have options, and to me its likes stocks you don’t put all your eggs into one basket.
K/D – I didn’t catch that, what do you have a Masters In?
KW – International Business.
K/D – Im sure you know how to run your label tight then?
KW – I won’t comment on that, but put it this way, I recognize that there are some opportunities there …
K/D – Fine, fine, so that’s good news.
KW – Yeah.
KID – When was the defining moment to pursue music?
KW – I just keep doing everything … to be honest with you …
KID – Yeah.
KW – I don’t like being bored, so I need to have something in my life that gives me inspiration, and music allows me to be creative, so music is the good balance that I need.
KID – How do you feel towards the music now from when you started?
KW – music to me was more honest back then, but these days you can get out of it what you want to get out of it.
KID – What do you want to get out of it at the moment?
KW – honestly, it took me a while to begin making music, because there are so many things in life that I wanted to pursue. Therefore I took my time and waited until I had a genuine interest in it. I didn’t want to be fake about it and do it for any other reason. Now it makes me happy that people like the stuff that comes out on Aesthetic Audio and that’s fulfilling for me … sharing the music and not stealing it you know?
KID – Sure, sure. I think from all your releases as you say you can skip through several in a record store there wont be that much that will catch your eye, the one thing I noticed with your releases is that there is a lot of rawness there, a lot of emotion there, but then also I can hear there are a lot of ideas that are not one hundred per cent finished. How do you feel about your music?
KW – Possibly. I’m an instinctual person, but typically im not into fluffy shit. There’s some music that’s really beautiful that I really like, but the raw emotional stuff is right up my alley …
KID – So you’re more into the real stuff?
KW – I guess that you could say that … this is not a knock on anybody who does, but you’ll never catch me playing R&B house mixes, its just not my thing. As far as my ideas being unfinished maybe you could say that, I don’t know if ill ever be one hundred per cent happy with anything that I do, I think there is always opportunity and for me to do something different.
KID – Are you happy with your productions?
KW – depends.
KID – What, does it depend on the day I catch you?
KW – Yeah (laughter)
KID – So your new release, that’s not out for another couple of weeks.
KW – No, it shipped a couple days ago.
KID – Ok, your thoughts and feelings on it
KW – It was spontaneous, I like it, but I don’t put music out there for people to critique it.
KID – You put it out there for yourself?
KW – No, if I put it out for myself, then it would not be for sale, I put it out and feel however many people choose to spend their hard earned money on it, then that’s a vote that they enjoy it. My goal is not to please the masses per say. Yes, I would like for more people to know my label and I certainly would be happy and want the music to sell, of course, but there is no ulterior motive for me trying to get a Grammy. (laughter)
KID – A Grammy would be nice though? (laughter)
KW – Well actually ….Yeah (laughter).
KID – How have you found your international gigs?
KW – For the most part they are actually pretty cool, I’ve met a lot of good people, I don’t keep a lot of friends, but I actually have met some people who don’t live in the states who have become good friends. So that’s one of the many benefits of doing this is that you get to meet some good people. And its always good when you have people that enjoy what you do, that’s really what any artist wants. I can’t answer for everybody, but ultimately when you have people that appreciate what you do … then that is a good reward. Not only people who are your piers in the industry, but just people who enjoy music that’s ultimately what anybody could ask for right?
KID – Sure.
KW – I appreciate when people have me over to play and I obviously love playing so when I get called over to play … im going to beat it up for them!
KID – How have you felt playing in the US to Europe?
KW – Man everybody asks me that, (laughter) obviously music is part of the fabric of the culture in Europe now and I would not equate that to being here so much now, so yes its definitely different, but its still good in the states, I play good parties in the states as well, but maybe not on the same scale that you would find in Europe or where ever but there are pockets here.
KID – How have you found the festival over the last few years?
KW – I peeked in last year and the year before that I played, I went last year to see Patrice play.
K/D – How was that?
KW – It was cool …
K/D – And your longstanding relationship with Patrice?
KW – We were friends first before either one of us started making music so that’s the basis there, and even with people that I meet now who make music, the basis is always that they are good people. I like having good energy around me, anybody that’s negative … they can kick rocks. I like to think that I give off good energy … im a genuinely a good person, so I keep it like that … life’s short.
K/D – Yeah, we got to fill it with some good stuff.
KW – Yep exactly.
K/D – Back to the new EP what did Patrice think when he first heard it.
KW – He just heard it the other day, he said he liked it.
K/D – Good news.
KW – What’s inspired you lately?
KW – there’s a lot of different things … I mean this is going to sound stupid since I have the label, but I don’t really get think like that, it’s a bit embarrassing, but sometimes I might have a record in my bag and be playing it out allot and not know who did it.
K/D – Right.
KW – When I go into the record store looking for records I don’t read who made the record before I listen to the music … people are too caught up on names these days. Keep Booking names and see what happens, but to answer your question, there’s no particular area that im necessarily favoring or gravitating to, If I like it then I like it. I don’t know man … its weird, sorry if I didn’t answer your question but that’s just how I think.
KW – I completely get that.
KW – I think you do yourself a disservice if you purposefully say I only like this or say that I only listen to that. There’s a lot of music out and in my opinion, since programming is premium, and I think that one person might be able to play a record based on his/her certain style and another guy might not be able to play the same record and get the same response.
K/D – Vinyl sale and MP3s your thoughts?
KW – MP3s theft has been bigger than all of them.
K/D – Yes, yes.
KW – I remember speaking a friend from London discovering that his releases were being pirated.
KW – He’s a good dude.
K/D – What do you think about this situation?
KW – I actually embrace the technology, and I think the MP3 concept is genius, but I think that what people do with this technology is BS.
K/D – Like not paying for them?
KW – Yep, and I challenge anyone who steals music, if you’re ever wondering where some of your favorite labels and/or artists are now or why you can’t find a certain sound anymore, 9 out of 10 times that’s the reason why. Because if you are stealing music and the person that puts his or her financial and emotional investment into it are not recouping … what reason do they have to keep doing it?
K/D – Your completely right.
KW – I mean to put out vinyl these days lets just talk about it, and it takes significant investment to get it out there.
K/D – Sure.
KW – Lets just honestly say that vinyl says are down dramatically, but the new forms of media are out. Pretty soon I think MP3s will be obsolete its just a matter of time before something else will be out. I don’t shy away from that, but I think that what’s happened to music, and I don’t think that it was an accident. I actually think that it was done on purpose. Even if they wanted to present media in a format were you had to buy it, you could still do so for even less money and that’s fine, but now anybody can steal it with a cell phone and that is just wrong on a few different levels. You don’t necessarily need a gun to rob someone … (laughter)
K/D – (Laughter) I like that …
K/D – We touched upon the future a little were do see you the future with music?
KW – It’s all good with MP3s they just need to police it …
K/D – that’s the tricky part.
KW – Artists have not only a significant financial investment, but also an emotional investment in creating music, I don’t know, but this is really just common sense to me, but maybe it’s just me.
K/D – (Laughter)
K/D – So everything’s going in the right direction.
KW – Yes, I just look at what’s going on in the world and who am I to complain about anything?
K/D – What is your opinion with what’s going on in the world?
KW – The stuff that’s going on in the middle east, I don’t know all of the intricacies, but I do have an opinion and my opinion is that the people there are just tired of living under certain restrictions and I think its BS that the government is controlling peoples lives, the whole purpose of having a government is to facilitate the people that live there.
K/D – A democracy.
KW – Yeah somewhat, it seems that they are just tired of the BS and they are letting everyone know it. I think about this on a daily basis, but just look at the history of the world and even here in the states, where we were as a people just 40 years ago with our civil rights struggle … no one is to far removed from what’s going on in the middle east, and I think that people everywhere really need to pay attention to what’s going on in the world, because it could easily be you.
K/D – I did see a show last Sunday regarding arms dealing and the no two to the US for arms dealing in the UK and selling arms to Libya and Egypt and the debate centered around were does the morality stop when you sell arms to certain countries?
KW – Yeah I agree man, these governments … and im going to package them all together. are all full of shit, because they control the media and feed you rubbish through the media that this guy is bad all while they are selling guns to all of them … you know what I mean?
K/D – Yeah sure.
KW – Just like this whole lie that our government told us, and we are getting off the subject, but with the weapons of mass destruction BS that never were there.
K/D – Yeah.
KW – I mean come on, I even get so frustrated with TV that I can’t watch TV sometimes; because of all BS that they feed you and it’s the same thing with music. Television or music are both powerful mediums that can be used to control how people think … and now you have all of these people running around listening to Justin Bieber, give me a break.
K/D – Laughter.
KW – Laughter.
K/D – The scary thing is he is so young and im curious where will he be when he is 21? That is going to be another Hollywood story gone wrong!
KW – Exactly, people are creatures of habit, we’ve already seen and heard this movie before you … know what I mean? (Laughter)
K/D – You can already see the ironic story with the Justin Bieber 3D film, I mean the guy has only been born five minutes and there is a film…
KW – About his life story! (Laughter)
K/D – Laughter, the next 3D film will be about when it all went wrong.
KW – Nah, dude he is going to try to rap dude, I guarantee you!
K/D – I did see a picture story of him trying to hit on Rihanna so I think you might be right on the rap thing.
KW – Yeah exactly. (Laughter)
K/D – Cool, we’ve strayed away from the subject a bit, we’ve gone quite deep without necessarily talking about music but what religion are you?
KW – Im spiritual, I have a relationship with my creator yes, I think that is another powerful thing religion.
K/D – Yeah
KW – I equate people saying oh im this and that to saying im Democrat or Republican, people have an innate need to want to assimilate to something, you’ve got to belong to something, but for me, I do have a relationship with my creator and im cognizant of the good blessings that brings.
K/D – Yeah I agree with that.