Following the release of Billy Kenny’s EP, The Hood, this past Friday, we were definitely ecstatic to hear those same tracks vibrate through Q Nightclub that evening. It was a night full of “good vibes house,” groovy patrons, and funky beats. Everyone was feeling what Billy was throwing down, and elevated the positive atmosphere until the very last song. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask Billy Kenny some questions prior to clockin’ in for the open-to-close.
Have there been some favorite moments from the Planet Earth tour so far? How does playing on tour differ from playing at a festival to you? Is there a certain vibe you try to go for depending on where you are playing?
BK: Yeah, one that springs to mind was playing at Ibiza’s brand new “Hï”, formally known as Space. To play at Space was a dream, and although I never got to play at the original one, this definitely allows me to mentally tick that off my list. Festivals are a big part of tours; I’ve done around 5 so far on this tour. If you mean how do club shows differ from festival shows, I like to think I can play both as well, but my home is, and will always be the club. I love the intimacy, the positively claustrophobic sweatbox full with pure music lovers that aren’t distracted by pyrotechnics, other stages, huge lights, and more. I still adore both atmospheres for different reasons though!
Your Shambhala set was seriously one of our favorites of the whole weekend! So groovy, weird, diverse, and full of good vibes! Can you describe your process that goes into putting together a set?
BK: Ah, thanks that’s an awesome festival, and I’d wanted to play there for so long! The only thing I usually ever prepare for is my intro and sometimes my outro. Of course, I have a hunt for new music every chance I get, but I love having the freedom to be able to play what I want in the moment, rather than following an order of tracks I’ve planned prior to stepping up on the decks.
To jump off that, The Hood EP released today [September 29, 2017]! It’s got that This Ain’t Bristol vibe we love! What are the steps you take to putting together an EP? Whether for yourself or other artists on the label? Do you have a favorite track you enjoyed creating or recording off The Hood?
BK: Yay, happy release day! I try not to sit down and write with something too specific in mind. For the same reason I don’t like to plan a set from start to finish, i prefer more freedom and natural, in the moment creativity. I probably had the most fun producing The Hood Girl, since I had a good friend of mine, Juli, with no experience in recording (that I know of) come and lay down those dope vocals. I wrote the lyrics the day before and asked her to come round and give it a go. She’s got the perfect attitude for it and crushed. She was honestly just being herself; it only took a couple of runs and I thought we’d be there all day!
Is there any equipment you prefer to use when creating music? Do you have any tips for people looking to dive into djing, producing, and the industry?
BK: Although it’s something I’ve just started getting into, I’ve always been a bit of a noob when it comes to hardware because it’s all so expensive. Now that I’ve managed to turn this whole thing into a career, I’m investing in some analogue stuff for my studio. Having said that, until recently, I’ve only used Logic X and as many plug ins as I could get my hands on.
One tip which my uncle (a successful musician, singer and lyricist) told me a long time ago. There’s only two ways to become really successful and that’s to either do it differently or do it better. Other than that, stay humble, carry a positive vibe, and surround yourself in positive, creative, like-minded people.
Who are some artists on This Ain’t Bristol that people should keep an eye out for? [Check out the links below for awesome EPs and a killer mix]
How did you start delving into electronic music? What was that moment that made you want to pursue this further?
BK: I have quite a musical family. My uncles and aunts, great grandfather, and family friends all have some kind of stamp somewhere in the musical industry. Most were on tour whilst I was growing up, but I got to play around with equipment now and again in my uncles studio. Once I sat down with something I’d jam for hours alone because I loved it.
Nothing really ever took off until soon after I moved to Germany following my first international show though. I did quit my full job in 2011 to pursue it, so you can imagine how long I was broke for and that just makes all this so much more worthwhile for me. I never imagined to be even doing this interview with you or anyone else a few years back.
In an interview with Mass Musings, you describe how your tastes grew to involve DNB and other styles. Is there anything you prefer to play, or a sound you’ve always wanted to experiment with?
BK: Yes, Kayte (Mass Musings) is a close friend of mine and an awesome person! DNB was shown to me around 2002 by my cousins and a young uncle I have in London. We knew what DNB was up North (Leeds), but it hadn’t really taken off at that time, so I got an early start at a young age. Although nothing has been revealed or released, I have been dabbling around with some deep tech kinda stuff, which I’m not sure what I want to do with just yet.
[DMNW Sidenote: We’re stoked if and / or when that happens!]
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be? Do you have a tactic when planning a collaboration?
BK: Justin Martin, Claude Vonstroke, Redlight, Dusky, Tiger Stripes, and Breach come to my head first. It all really depends on how the other person works too. I mean, there’s different methods depending on where that artist is based, what he or she prefers to work with (which DAW) and more. I personally prefer to sit down with someone and work on something in person, but have worked with people over the net just as much.
What are some goals you have for yourself and This Ain’t Bristol going forward? Are there some things we should expect to see from you and the label in the future?
BK: Many more stage takeovers in the EU and North America, brand new artists we’ve been keeping an eye on for a while, lots of cool new merch, and more! My personal goal for the label right now is trying to create a real community surrounding the brand. To personally connect and have others connect in our name – that’s something I’ve dreamed of since we began.
We can’t thank Billy Kenny enough for taking the time to respond to our questions, and let us see more into his creative style. Q Nightclub was definitely on fire that night, with tracks off the new EP, along with some of our favorites including I Operate with Abby Jane and Rave Cave with Kry Wolf. In addition, we heard some tracks from This Ain’t Bristol, like Maximono’s A$$ Crack, and other familiar tunes including ITB and Bugatti.
Many of those in attendance at Q also had the opportunity to chat with him after the show! He definitely is as humorous and full of personality as his artistic style reflects! We are looking forward to the next time Billy Kenny hits the northwest (hopefully with one of those This Ain’t Bristol stage takeovers!), but until then, we may just have to put This Ain’t Bristol on repeat.
Who clocked in with us at Q Nightclub this weekend? What were some of your favorite moments and tracks from the open to close? Share your thoughts in the comments!