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Drum And Bass HQ Interview: Keeno
With the remarkable Futurist LP following up last year’s amazing Preludes EP, Med School’s Keeno is hot property right now within the Drum & Bass Scene. We caught up with Will Keeno to talk about all things that are good in life. Music, food and balloon rides.
As a huge part of the Med School family how did the initial signing to the label come about?
It took a few years from initial contact with Med School until I signed exclusively. We were both waiting for my style to emerge and for me to create something unique. I think everyone (myself included) was surprised by the reaction to my debut EP “Nocturne” back in 2013 – I guess I just wanted to see what would happen if I ran with it and it was Med School who gave me the chance to do that!
Let’s talk about your musical background. What were your early influences?
I come from a classical background from as early as I can remember. My brother played the piano (much better than me, too!) and then I spent 10 years singing full-time in a choir from the age of 8. Music was the centre of my tiny universe and it was composers like Debussy, Ravel and Rachmaninov that really moved me. But when Facebook became a thing and it was possible to have music on your phone, my perspective of music shifted and I just listened to everything I possibly could from Opeth to The Beatles and from Bach to High Contrast.
When do you think it all came together with support for you? Was there a Specific track that you feel people gravitated towards?
Yeah, “Nocturne” was the solo track which I think most people know me for. Also, mine and Whiney’s remix of the classic “By Your Side” by S.P.Y was the tune that got both of our music into clubs around the world. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of exciting projects and trips around the world – it’s been truly overwhelming.
You were studying Classical music at University before going into your production full time. Do you ever see yourself returning to full time Education to start where you left off?
In all honesty, I hope I don’t have to return to full time education because well, exams are not the best are they? I left University because I was unable to progress – I felt held back and my creativity was suffering as a result. At the moment I feel really inspired and driven to create new things and to push my abilities further so it looks like I made the right choice, so far! I only get one chance at being Keeno – there’s always time to go back to University, if I want to.
Who’s music are you a big fan of at the moment?
Right now, I’m listening to a lot of older Calibre and High Contrast. I feel like there’s been a lot of creativity on the sound design in d’n’b lately and not much progress on the more soulful side. Outside of the d’n’b sphere, it’s mostly Classical stuff I gravitate towards – it’s there I find the most innovation and creativity despite being composed sometimes hundreds of years ago.
Studio wise, right now what is the one piece of equipment, software or hardware that you could not live without?
My homemade acoustic panels. I recently just moved to Bristol and for the first time in my life have a whole room just for music. The only downside is that there’s neighbours to worry about. So instead of spending ££££ on building a room within a room, I spend £200 on materials and built my own acoustic panels and, surprisingly, it’s actually worked! They make it MUCH easier to produce and take the edge of those booming bass notes for my neighbours!
Let’s talk more about Hospitality in the Park which is a huge thing for Drum & Bass and music in general.
Here’s our top 5 Hospitality In the Park Questions
Hospitality in the Park boasts a huge food area, what will Keeno be eating there?
I’m a burger fan, personally. Over the course of the day, you’ll probably find me doing a circuit of the food stalls trying to find the best one…
Will Keeno be making a special appearance as part of the London Elektricity Big Band?
Not me, I’m afraid – will definitely go and see it though. From what I’ve heard it’s going to be incredible!
What will be your fairground ride of choice at Hospitality in the Park?
I’m not fussy – all of them!
Is it true that there will be actual balloon rides at Hospitality In The Park?
Yes, a little birdie tells me there’s a custom built Hospital Records Hot Air Balloon ride going on… sign me up!
We recently saw you in Camden Stables Market playing live with Oscar Corney which was amazing. Which live performances are you looking forward to seeing at Hospitality in the park and why?
Firstly, London Elek’s Big Band – cannot wait. Secondly, Levelz – even though I lived in Manchester for nearly 2 years I STILL haven’t seen them all together. Lastly, I’ve heard Gentleman’s Dub Club are not to be missed. Looks like it’ll be a busy day on my feet whatever happens.
Keeno will be at Hospitality in The Park on 24th September
For the full line-up see below.
The London Elektricity Big Band Ft. Lianne Carol, Emer, Dynamite MC & 12 piece brass band
Fred V & Grafix
Critical Soundsystem Ft. Kasra Critical, Mefjus & EmperorDNB
Gentleman’s Dub Club (Live)
Hosted by: Dynamite MC, SP:MC, LowQui Mc, MC Fava, MC Mota,Linguistics
RAMPAGE Stage (In Alphabetical Order)
Calyx & TeeBee
FuntCase b2b Cookie Monsta Official
Radar Records Soundsystem (James Marvel & Doctrine)
Rockwell b2b Rene LaVice
State of Mind b2b Special Guest TBA
TC Ft. Jakes
Turno, Logan D & DJ Dominator
Hosted by: Jenna G, Krafty Mc, LX One, MC Mota, Youthstar
Dub Phizix and Strategy’s Well Good Do Stage
Dub Phizix & Strategy (Broke’n’£nglish)
D Double E
The Mouse Outfit (Live)
Jenna & The G’s
Dj Randall b2b Uncle Dugs Foundation Set Ft. General Levy (Official)
Children of Zeus
Strategy DJ Set
Hosted by: T-Man, Sparkz, Skittles, Truthos Mufassa, CHUNKY, Black Josh, Dr Syntax, Dubbul O, Tyler Daley, Konny Kon, Toast