Jul 27, 2015

Inigo Kennedy: Monumental Soundscapes

A true hidden monument of the British techno scene, Inigo Kennedy has always preferred following his intuition rather than trends and this is probably why his aesthetic remains so authentic and distinctive. Stories and figures make dreamy appearances in the imagination while listening to his cinematic music. We met the producer in an attempt to unveil the genesis of these images.

Can you explain why you chose the name Asymmetric? And if you have to put in words the aesthetic of your label, what would it be?

It was always difficult for me to find names for my tracks. I ended up scanning books and articles to pinpoint words that would click with me and asymmetric was one of those. I liked the idea of it. It combined something architectural and design orientated as well as something abnormal. It symbolizes something unbalanced, unusual and unexpected. It’s a great word, however, people misspell it often (laughs).

Asymmetric seems to be your own platform, what is the importance for you to have a space where you can express yourself deeply as you want? And why did you decide not to have other artists on it?

The label started as a vinyl project and it was really a way for me not to have anyone to interfere, I didn’t have to chose what would fit a label or distributor’s identity. It was my very own thing, a channel where I could put my music without any restrictions. This is also why there was never any other artists on it. Quite early in the digital age I decided to become a free digital label, then I could be even more broad.

In words, how does the concept of asymmetry in music sound for you? At which level can we find this concept in life?

People tell me sometimes that my records are hard to mix, and I always took that as a compliment (laughs). To be honest I never had problems mixing them myself, I don’t know what that says about me, maybe my head is a little bit asymmetric… I never wanted to apply a straight formula on my music to fit clubs or dance floors. I don’t feel the need to put kicks or do something on the fourth beat or the sixteenth bar. I like polyrhythmic music. How it relates to life is difficult to say… Life is chaotic and we try to make order from this chaos, but a lot of what we do is not necessarily straight or expected. 

What is the importance for you to have video material for your music?

It never really featured high on my agenda to be honest. It became popular for other people to do videos with my music, some of them are really nice, like the one The 29Nov Films released for the remix Regis did of Requiem. It’s nice to see, but I never pushed to be directly involved, I never had the time to explore that direction. I think it works on one level, but on another level I think one of the powerful things about techno music, like any other instrumental music, is that it gives you the freedom to imagine your own story and the video takes away a little bit of that. It plants somebody else’s idea in your head, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. I prefer focusing on the music, but I still find it great that people are passionate about music and video and it’s true they can work as a good promotional tool -even though some are not very professional looking- but that’s the democracy of internet. I tried to work with video artists in the past and people have been asking me to use my music for art installations, but it’s not that common.

You are using resonance, echoes, vast soundscapes like one would hear in a cathedral, could we say that your aesthetic is monumental? Is there any kind of religious influence in your music? 

My sound is dense, I guess we could say it’s monumental, it’s a great word. For my EP Cathedral, the name was an evidence.  I’m not religious even though I grew up in a Jewish Orthodox family, I think I’m too scientific to go with that flow. However I couldn’t say that there is no bigger picture or some kind of collective energy, but I wouldn’t explain it with a religion. Humans are always trying to explain physiological sensations. Techno and the loudness and the darkness of the club environment create physiological feelings. It’s a great medium to experience a connection with other people. It’s true that I use a lot of reverb in my music, I use it as an instrument more than as an effect. Part of it is probably because I grew up with shoegaze, indie music and reverb drenched guitar music which I still love. I always liked this aesthetic, that melancholic sound, it’s strong and emotional. I like getting lost in this dreamy atmosphere and I hope it does that for other people as well.

Is your music then based on emotions rather than a conceptual sound development?  

Yes, it’s how I work. I create tracks quickly, if I haven’t made the track in two hours usually it’s not going to happen. Of course, it’s not completely done, but it’s a process of performing rather than thinking. I’m trying to capture the feelings of the moment. If it’s not correct, there is no going back. I’m trying to make the best of the mistakes and sometimes it ends up being the best part of a track. I used to work with a lot on hardware, but now I’m more in the software world. It has a lot to do with my lifestyle changing, having a family, etc. At the same time the software became a lot more ambitious, versatile and organic in the past years. Sometimes it’s hard not to fall in it because there are so many possibilities, you can spend a whole day trying stuff and realize at the end that you haven’t done anything. I grew up with computers, when I was a child it was the real beginning, so it was really interesting to grow up learning with them and understanding them. However I really liked the intuitive feeling you could have with the hardware, it took me a long time to get to the same place with software. I had a few hardware synths that I profoundly miss, but I’m going to get them back out when I move to a bigger place next year. I’m going to quickly be complaining about how difficult their interface is and how crackling the cables can be, how frustrating MIDI can be (laughs)… But the emotional attachment I have to them is really strong.

Some artists prefer to work with aliases to develop conceptual identities, but you chose to keep your real name. Would you say it’s a way to express fully who you really are and the emotions that you feel deep within?

I worked with some aliases in the past, probably because there were so many records coming out. It was more a marketing approach although each project had its own identity. Now I like to stick with my own identity to which I can be identified. I don’t find it restricting. Right now I don’t have any big concepts that would merit an alias, not that it could never happen again. I cannot say what makes my music distinctive, people tell me some elements are very recognizable, but it’s hard for me to say what defines my musical identity, I’m too close to it. 


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