Shift K3Y – Touch OUT NOW 
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Columbia Records debut single “Touch” OUT NOW 
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Listening to Lewis Jankel discuss music is a head-spinning experience. He talks with an intense and communicable enthusiasm about the power of music, which he compares to magic, something he practiced as a teenager. “You can create something that’s completely beyond your five senses,” he enthuses.
It’s all a bit extraordinary, but in fairness, so is Jankel’s career to date. He baulks at the term “prodigy”, but if he wasn’t one, he sounds so much like one as to makesno difference.
He began playing jazz fusion aged 7, around the time a teacher at school discovered he had perfect pitch. He joined a proper, gigging jazz-fusion band as bassist two years later, the same year he started using Logic. But he’d made his performance debut aged 6, fronting The Blockheads on a live session for Radio Two, after telling his dad – Chas Jankel, the late Ian Dury’s most celebrated musical foil – that he could do a better job of filling in for the recently deceased Dury than him.
“When Ian Dury died, the Blockheads were going to do a Live Lounge thing on the radio, and they didn’t have a singer, and my dad was going to sing. I was really rude, said to my dad, “you don’t sound anything like him, how is this going to work?” As a joke, my dad said “well do you want to do it?” and I went “yeah, why not.” It was two days away. I went into my room and learnt ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful,’ learnt the keyboard part and the guitar solo on the piano and all the words and we did it. I had no idea, but I was just thrown in right at the deep end, and I handled it and I didn’t make any mistakes.”
For all his talent and confidence, Jankel’s early musical career didn’t go entirely smoothly. His youthful jazz-funk band broke up, when the older members left school to go to music college. He dropped out of one school himself
 “I was going out a lot, just became a bit of a teenager, my parents were like, ‘if you’re going to fuck around then we’re not going to pay for you any more, you can take things into your own hands” – and ended up suffering from depression.
However, he soon returned to music with a defiant mindset. ”I was just like, you know what? I’m going to do what I want to do and I’m just going to make music forever and fuck everyone else. I basically just locked myself away and did as much producing as I could do.”
It is perhaps worth noting at this stage that Jankel is 20 years old. He’s an intense individual and his conversation slaloms dramatically from one artist or genre or indeed century to another: over the course of an hour, we variously go from DJ EZ to the four part harmonies of Bach’s 18th century chorales to the genius of Calvin Harris’ ‘We Found Love,’ to the late Austrian jazz keyboardist Joe Zawinul, to trap to Johnny “Guitar” Watson to Leonard Bernstein. It’s a bit exhausting trying to keep up.
Having dropped out of college he locked himself away, eventually emerging with the first Shift K3Y EP, Step In the City. But it was his third single, ‘Let You Down,’ that was “the turning point”.
“It just completely blew up, and everyone just sort of got into it. Whether that’s because it was part of the trap movement or because it was a good song, I’ll never know. Then I made ‘Frozen,’ which was like, OK, I really want to show people that I can sing. ‘Frozen’ had these big vocal harmonies, arranged in the same way as you’d arrange a Bach Chorale.”
Meanwhile, his support amongst the club scene began to grow, with support coming from the likes of Diplo, Breach, MJ Cole, Bassnectar and Gorgon City to name a few whilst his remixes for Tinie Tempah, Iggy Azalea and AlunaGeorge garnered recognition from BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, amongst others, with early adopters of his including the likes of Zane Lowe, Annie Mac and Mistajam.
There is a long-held argument that a gulf exists between the worlds of the dance producer and the performer: they’re vocations that require different skills. But Jankel says he never wanted to be
“Just another DJ, just another guy sitting in his bedroom making tunes.”
“I’d always come to it from that point of view, I like watching bands, I like watching artists. I like watching Johnny Guitar Watson, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, People that just get up onstage and play one note, hold that. Michael Jackson: he’ll just stand, in complete silence, just standing in the light, he called it bathing in the moonlight. So, I’ve always come from that understanding of being grounded in your performance. I’ve always thought why am I going to just throw away all the things I’ve learnt and sucked up over the years, to just be a DJ.
I like DJing and I love producing, but that’s not why I do it. With a DJ, at the end of the day, you’re cuing records. It gets to the point where the most interaction they have with the audience is dancing, or looking at the crowd. It’s like, you’ve got a whole stage here, you’ve got thousands of people here, why aren’t you using this? The reason is, I kind of assume every DJ can play piano and understand harmony and all that stuff because I can. That’s the kind of thing that separates me, in a way.” He laughs. “I don’t mean that in an arrogant way.”
The DJ sets where he picks up the microphone and sings (“when I do that, the look on people’s faces, the suprise of ‘oh my God, he picked up the mic, and he’s in tune and he did a vocal run and he just hit that note and now the drop’s there and now onto the next tune, oh my God’ – that’s it, that’s the entire thing”) are, he says, just the start.
“What I want to do – which I still don’t think has been done – is combine the feeling of that true essence of club music and that kind of euphoric “I’ve never felt this before” with the seriousness and the skill and the showmanship of a great band or a great performer and singer, because nothing compares to that. Nothing in the EDM world, the DJ world compares to seeing an artist in the flesh.”
He goes back to his earlier theme of creating something beyond your five senses.
“I guess in some ways, music was always kind of an escape for me. I can go and play piano and think I’m…” His voice trails off and he searches for the right name. “Frank Sinatra,” he laughs. “I’ve kind of reached that point in my life where I’m confident with my ability, I know what I want to do, I’m making the steps to do so and people seem to understand that.”
At 20 years old, it already feels like Jankel has been on quite a journey, one that’s taken him from being holed up, depressed, in his bedroom to supporting Skrillex in the US, and turned him into something more than a DJ: an artist, who sings and writes and records his own music. It’s tempting to say that sounds like a happy ending, but perhaps that’s wrong: after all, Shift K3Y’ story is just beginning.