How do you define your sense of belonging to the electronic scene and clubbing?
I've been around long enough to have seen a lot come and go but more than ever I suppose I feel like a part of the techno scene globally; in as much as my music is recognized and that's a humbling thing in itself. At the same time I've always remained quite focused on my own music and my own reasons, almost in isolation at times, so I've seen the scene ebb and flow; sometimes in the same direction as me and sometimes in completely different directions. It's inevitable and healthy but for me, it's always been important not to chase some scene and reinvent myself to fit some latest movement.
How did the scene develop in your country and which events were the trigger?
I'm from London and spent some years in Manchester in the ‘90s while at university. The UK was always a hot spot for music and the explosions of the rave scene, acid house, techno and so on so it was an incredibly lucky place to be and an amazing time to live through! To be able to trace from synth-pop to electro and early hip hop to hardcore and rave and then see the direct influence of Detroit and Chicago and the way techno became defined. The early and mid-’90s were so full of raw energy and to me like the punk scene shook up the world in the ‘70s, it is techno that shook up things in the ‘90s.
Which sounds and influences represent you?
I grew up loving synth-pop and in my teens got heavily into shoegaze and indie and I still follow those scenes quite closely after 30+ years - their amazing stuff coming out of Russian and Italy for example! There is a lot of similarity in the melancholic and dystopian aesthetics of that music to the techno that I make and enjoy.
Which are the national and international labels that deserve a mention from you?
It's always hard to pin-point labels but there are some that I've followed quite closely this year and the past few years e.g. Detroit Underground, Axis, Suction Records, Edit Select, PoleGroup, Voam, Erratic Tapes, Skam and of course Token as it's a big part of what I've been doing for the past decade or more. That said, Bandcamp has become an amazing place to find music that isn't necessarily tied to labels and I'm sure that will only grow in the next few years; I have found amazing music there this year and in some ways it is reminiscent of when I grew up in the scene and it feels like you are digging through records to find something unique and unusual.
Among the artists, who do you think helped with the growth and the development of the scenes?
Between past and present
There are many artists, of course, too many to say who have had an impact on the scene but when you listen to true pioneers like Jeff Mills or Laurent Garnier and you hear such rich history and knowledge it is simply another level.
Clubs and venues that have particularly affected you?
Many clubs and places but it's really about moments in time which, in many ways, could happen anywhere with the right magic. A huge highlight in recent years for me was playing for the first time in Medellin, Colombia and having the responsibility and honour to close out the Saturday night; it could not have gone better and that feeling is impossible to predict or explain. Some of the best nights have been in the smallest places with maybe 100-150 people, could be a bakery in Stockholm, a basement in Poland or an industrial building in East London, and you really feel like you shared something special. Then, of course, there are the special locations like Berghain where you really have to give 11 out of 10 every time and when it goes well, and you are in the zone, then it's an amazing and inspiring thing - trying to connect with a lot of people in the same way you can in a smaller environment.
How is the present? What strengths and problems do scenes face up?
It goes without saying that at the moment the world is facing an unprecedented set of problems far beyond the music scenes. We have all had hopes and dreams and every week or month the reality is far from those. I don't think we are even halfway through the current global pandemic or its immediate effects. I can see for sure in the UK for example that the music scene will have been completely decimated from top to bottom but there is also a huge wave of music appearing, like spring shoots appearing in the soil, and people doing what they do where possible because it's a passion. I can't imagine it could be for another three to five years that we might be able to look back on what is happening at the moment and for that to happen almost from nowhere is a brutal shock. I'm hopeful that another positive change to happen might be that the way music is distributed and monetized might become more equitable towards artists at least. Here's to the future.
Inigo Kennedy's 10 All-Time Favourites (slightly more than and in alphabetical order):
Aphex Twin - Polynomial C
Autechre - 444
Dave Clarke - Wisdom To The Wise (Red 2)
Fuse - Substance Abuse
Humanoid - Stakker Humanoid
Jeff Mills - Phase 4 + Waveform Transmission 1 (LP)
Joey Beltram - Drome + Places (LP)
Morganistic - Fluids Amniotic (LP)
Plastikman - Sheet One (LP)
Point Blank - Meng's Theme
Speedy J - The FUN Equations
Surgeon - Magneze
Underground Resistance - The Seawolf