CES has its fair share of keynotes, product releases and hands-on time. But when the sun sets in Las Vegas, the strip is illuminated by tourists, bright lights and, of course, concerts. Yesterday, CNN Underscored had the chance to sit down with Kygo ahead of his concert at the Encore's Beach Club where we got to talk to the 28-year old producer about the rebranding of his own proprietary audio gear brand, "X by Kygo," and a new smartwatch collaboration with Skagen.
To set the scene, we're in one of the cabanas at the Encore Beach Club, about 12 hours before Kygo is set to take the stage. It's an audience of CES- attendees ranging from journalists to industry analysts, along with fans who ventured into Vegas to see the man behind dance-pop hits like "Higher Love" and "It Ain't Me." He's just returned from St. Barts where he got a bit of time off. He's clearly pumped about both the smart watch, Skagen Falster 3, and his updated audio line, which includes true wireless earbuds, over-ear ANC headphones and a speaker.
As for why Skagen was the correct partner for the smartwatch, Kygo, who is Norwegian, points to their shared roots. "We both go for the Scandinavian elegant design, so I feel like it's a very good match," he says. "[The Falster 3] is very much my style."
The Falster 3 boasts a number of high-end features in a slim and clean build. It's running Android's wearOS with the latest Qualcomm chipset powering it. I got to play with it a bit, and the performance was zippy. It's an active watch with the ability to take cardiograms, and resistant to both sweat and water. Since it's a Bluetooth smartwatch, you can, of course, pair it with Kygo's latest earbuds and headphones from the "X by Kygo" brand.
X by Kygo, owned 100% by the producer himself ever since it first hit the market in 2017 as Kygo Life, relaunched this week at CES 2020. It rolled out a pair of "Xellence" true wireless earbuds with an estimated 10 hours of battery life each; "Xenon," ANC over-ear headphones with some special features; and a "GPX1 or Grand Piano X1" home speaker with the Google Assistant. All the products have a premium feel.
The current line (available here) is getting a rebrand with the new X logo, which glows on the upcoming true wireless earbuds and over-ear cans, which ship in both black and white as part of the full redesign. The Xenon's also come in silver. "It's a very distinct design," Kygo says. "You can see the headphones from far away, and that's been our challenge: How do you recognize it from afar? It's just so cool with X, it's almost a little mysterious, like what's the X?"
Kygo obviously enjoys these products. He's been rocking the upcoming Xenon at performances and says he just used them on his most recent flight. He also has them on for his performance later that evening.
"In the beginning, we'd done audio and clothing, but I felt like what I really wanted to do was focus on the headphones," Kygo says. He continues, "I've always been interested in sound and sound design and just being able to decide how headphones should sound. So I get them, and I listen to them, and then I send my feedback -- 'I want more high-end' or 'That's too much bass.' And it's so much fun to be a part of the whole process."
Although he feels he found the perfect sound for his own ears, he also wanted a product that enables people to tailor them to their own personal preferences. "That's why we have the app, the equalizer," he says. "And we'll be working on it further to enable specialized EQ-ing, and it lets you make your own preference."
I'm personally stoked about the customizations with the iOS and Android app, as many headphones don't give you those options.
They're also pretty comfortable, which Kygo says is important if you're wearing them through hours-long live sets.
Kygo also reveals that he is an iPhone user (currently X but upgrading soon to the 11), and he confirms that his Falaster 3 smartwatch will work iOS for phone calls, thanks to some software magic from Skagen.
Kygo is clearly invested in his brand and products and really works on the development. CNN Underscored is looking forward to getting our hands on the Xenon ($199), Xellence ($299) and GPX1 ($549) in the coming weeks for full reviews. GPX1 and Zellence are expected to launch in April or May of 2020, while Xenon are available now. The Falster 3 is available now from Skagen.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.