UK-styled house music.

The work of Khalil is heavily influenced by the multicultural fabric of London’s nightlife. His sets weave everything from hip-hop and R&B to soul, dancehall, and afro-beats, and they play between the lines of the expected and unexpected, bridging the old and the new, to create a distinct style and sound of his own. It’s a style that can be traced back to his childhood in London when he discovered reggae, hip-hop, jungle, and drum & bass, and he began playing house parties and then at bars and eventually clubs. From there, he hasn’t stopped. “I’m fortunate that I’ve kept going from there, and grateful that it’s taken me around the world,” he told XLR8R recently. Nowadays, he’s based in Brooklyn, New York, where he runs the BackToLife, KIM (Keep It moving), and Shapes parties. For this week’s XLR8R podcast, he has delivered a mix that showcases his versatility: it begins with smooth house, then gets a little headier as it moves through UK funky and garage and back down again.

01. What have you been up to recently?
It’s been a much needed slower start to the year after a hectic few months to close out last year, but things are now picking up with some travel dates in the US and Europe to come. A highlight of the year so far was the release of “The Kitchen” on Netflix. It’s a film I’d been working on for the past two years as music supervisor, and it was such a great project and team to be a part of. The feedback, especially for the music, has been really great, so I’m hoping for more of this kind of work moving forward!

02. What have you been listening to?
Kokoroko’s Could We Be More is still in heavy rotation, and I love NIJI’s Somewhere in the Middle, too. But also quite an eclectic mix of music. I been enjoying a lot of the CoOp Presents releases, Unknown T, P-rallel, 2000Black, Theo Parrish, Obongjayer, Odumodublvck, Sempre, Izco, as well as revisiting a lot of J Dilla around what would have been his 50th birthday.

03. What is it that draws you to electronic music?
I love so many different styles of music, but the thing I love most about electronic music is that it just has to sound great. It doesn’t need to be a hit record to play, it doesn’t need a hook people can sing along to. As long as it sounds good sonically, and the sound system is good enough to handle it, that’s all you need. I tend to lean towards percussion-heavy, bass-heavy electronic music, especially a lot of the UK genres like garage, jungle, and UK funky, but I also love some great sample-based house.

04. Where and when did you record this mix?
On a Sunday night at the start of February in my apartment in Brooklyn.

05. How did you choose the tracks you’ve included?
I wanted to showcase some of the music I’ve been playing at two of my regular parties: KIM (Keep It Moving), which I started last year and takes place monthly at Black Flamingo; and my more UK-centric BackToLife party which started when I moved to New York from London in 2015.

06. Where do you imagine it being listened to?
It’s a mix that could be enjoyed in the daytime while working, but you could also turn it up a little, make sure the bass is hitting, and get your dance on.

07. What’s next on your horizon?
I’m looking to get more involved in the music supervision world, so I’m continuing to have conversations around that, and I’m looking to find the right projects to get involved in. In terms of DJing, I’m really enjoying where, what, and how I play at the moment. Being more selective about the gigs I play has been a huge part of feeling this way, so I’m going to be continuing to work this way while finding the right ways to grow and elevate the events I produce.

XLR8R Subscribers can download the podcast below. If you’re not an XLR8R subscriber, you can read more about it and subscribe here.


01. SAUL “The Light” feat. Allysha Joy (Rhythm Section International)
02. DJ Fudge & Hallex M “Simpatico” feat. Omar (Yoruba Records)
03. Scratchclart “BLACKMIRRORDANCE” (Self-Released)
04. OVEOUS & Don Kamares “Legacy” (Yoruba Records)
05. NEONE the Wonderer “RagJazz” feat. Hali Ray (UK Funky Remix) (Nathan Lawrence)
06. Donsurf “Dance With Me” (Dance Regular)
07. SAMIEL “Yes, OK!” (Roska Kicks & Snares)
08. Altered Natives “Rass Out” (Fresh Minute Music)
09. Omar & Zed Bias “Dancing” (Acapella) (Tru Thoughts)
10. EVM128 “Gamma Riddim” feat. Sticky Dub (IG Culture Remix) (CoOp Presents)
11. Tom Esselle “Lou’s Groove” (Rhythm Section International)
12. DONSURF “Beautiful People” (Broke Mix)
13. Jorja Smith “Little Things x Relax” (Bootleg Blend)
14. Groove Chronicles “Faith in U” (DPR Recordings)
15. Roy Davis Jr. & Peven Everett “Gabriel” (Edit) (Large Music)
16. Y U QT “U Belong 2 Me” (Self-Released)
17. Sempra “Play” (Future Classic)
18. G3 “I Prefer a French Exit” (Little Corner)
19. Gemi “WIFEY DUB” (Self-Released)
21. Finn Irregular “Find a Way” feat. Rara Zulu (EVM128 Remix) (Tuckshop Recordings)
22. New Sector Movements “Bless” (Cengiz Remix) (First Word Recordings / CoOp Presents)
23. Obongjayar “Who Let Him In” (September Recordings Ltd)
24. Lordamercy & dego “What Does It Take To Come In First” (2000Black)

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