We chat with Keeno ahead of one of his biggest summer’s yet!
He’s an original drum & bass success story, in just a short few years he’s propelled himself from a new-comer on Med-School to an international drum & bass act with a sick discography of tunes. He’s now a leading name from the Med-School camp and frequently represents their sound on huge platforms including Radio 1.
This summer looks set to be his biggest yet. He’s a tonne of high profile appearances alongside the big guns of the scene at some of the best festivals on the circuit. We managed to get him for a quick chat ahead of his big summer!
Hey how are you?
Hello! I’m doing well this morning and it’s due to be hot and sunny all week!
What’s got you motivated right now?
I feel like I’m making progress lately - it’s spurring me on to achieve what I set out. It’s helping me feel creative and enabling me to just relax in the studio and write how I feel. There’s a lot of creativity buzzing round my head.
How’s your schedule looking this summer?
Extremely busy July, quieter August and then picking back up again in late summer. I’m especially looking forward to HOTB and Liquicity. It’s two brand new experiences for me and a chance to test out some of my new tunes.
You’ve got a space on Med Schools stage at Hospitality On The Beach, how long you gonna be there for?
I arrive Thursday morning and am flying home on Sunday morning so plenty of time to attempt to get rid of that studio tan!
Aside from your set what are you planning on doing whilst there?
I heard there’s some amazing waterfalls nearby that my girlfriend & I really want to go check out - if anyone knows how to get there from Tisno without a car, I’d be grateful! Apart from that, I plan on catching up with everyone - so many faces to see!
Have you been to Croatia before? If so what did you get up to? If not is it somewhere that’s interested you and why?
Yes, I was at Outlook Festival in 2016 at which I played 3 sets in 2 days. Pretty crazy. I remember the drives from Zagreb >> Festival and Festival >> Venice, too. I was just staring out the window at the scenery. I’m definitely interested to go back and have a real explore, one day.
You’re also performing at this years Hospitality In The Park, on the same stage as LTJ Bukem & dBridge, are you working up to legendary status yourself?!
Ha! I’m a huge admirer of those guys - I saw dBridge play 2 hours just the other week on Thekla in Bristol. His varied selection really kept people guessing and I loved that I knew about ⅓ of the tunes. Hospitality in the Park is always a highlight - the Med School love is strong there, definitely.
Moments like that must help push you to doing bigger and crazier things - what was the first instance for you that boosted you?
I remember being at Hospitality @ Brixton shortly after my 18th birthday with Whiney and hearing London Elektricity drop our recently completed “By Your Side” remix. At the time, it really helped us have faith in our collaborations. We kept at it!
You’ve propelled yourself from one of Knowledge Magazine’s ones to watch in 2013 to a house-hold name on the international drum & bass scene, crazy few years! What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in this time?
It’s definitely been a whirlwind! The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that creativity and inspiration can never be triggered by the same thing twice.
Who or what has helped and supported you to get to the place you’re at now?
I’d say the majority of my support comes from, in no particular order: my fans, Med School & Hospital, Liv, my family & friends and the thousands of random messages I get in my social media inboxes. Sometimes I find it difficult to give myself credit for my achievements because I’m always thinking ahead to the next improvement. The list of humans above have all lifted me in some way.
In those years what’s been personally your biggest achievement?
Personally, “All The Shimmering Things” & my “Bristol Mix Sessions” are the things I’m most proud of lately. The LP just feels more like a Keeno record than any other, to me. Everything about that release I felt - it wasn’t a product of clever marketing/big vocalist features but just a selection of tracks from the heart.
More recently, my Mix Sessions have been keeping me on my toes. I saw an opportunity to provide people with fresh liquid mixes each month but with an informal feel to it. It’s just me & studio guests in my home in Bristol jamming to some tunes. Honestly, I love them for so many reasons but mostly because I can play any song from my record collection and just see what happens! Over time, I hope to expand and develop these sessions into something more.
In the time is taken you to get to the position you’re in now you’ve released 3 well acclaimed albums - do you live in the studio!?
Yeah it’s mad - I totalled up my discography not long ago and it’s much bigger than I thought! It definitely doesn’t feel like I live in the studio. When I work, I work with focus and direction. I don’t sit there and hope for something to happen. Most of the thinking is already done - I just assemble the pieces on screen. My quick workflow helps my workrate I guess?
How do you tackle writers block?
Getting outside - even if it’s pouring with rain.
One of your most acclaimed pieces of works is the Music for Orchestra: Drums & Bass, and is said to be inspired by your move to Bristol. How did the city influence those tracks?
As soon as I moved here, I felt like a weight had been lifted. I think it was because there was just so many stored ideas flying around my head that I just needed time and space to action them. Bristol has given me that in spades. Here, the music is much more breaks focussed. Total Science, Break, S.P.Y, DLR… they’re all here. Musical osmosis has occurred, I suspect.
What drew you to Bristol in particular, over other cities such as London or Manchester?
In all honesty, it was a financially driven decision to move here initially. Liv & I knew we wanted to move in together but didn’t really know where initially. We knew a few people here so had a look online for flats and immediately realised our money would go further here than in London, for example. I lived in Manchester as a student for a while but there’s not enough parks/woodlands for my liking.
You launched the Med-School DnB 60 on BBC Radio 1, no pressure there! But that has propelled you to being one of their leading names - you must have close ties to them?
Med School and I have been working together for some 6 years now - I’ve seen the label go from a small collection of weird and wonderful music to it’s own actual thing! They give me the freedom to write how I feel and are excellent at bring all my crazy ideas and turning them into a tangible product we’re all proud of.
What first drew you to Med School?
Initially, I sent my music out to everyone and anyone who’d take it. Med School came straight back to me - simple as that. I’d been listening to their catalogue for a couple years previously but to be honest, I didn’t think I’d get a reply!
As a DJ you’ve played some of the best all around. What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you on the road?
My suitcase got dropped in the ocean on Gili T in Bali (inside which was my camera + laptop) by one of the ferry crew taking us back to mainland Bali. Fortunately, it floated but yeah.. Not fun.
With all that travelling, how do you keep yourself entertained?
I listen to Classical Music and try and rest as much as I can.
A-side from all the drum & bass what else are you up to this summer?
I’m going to Scotland for a few days, the Peak District & Italy this summer - mostly for hiking/biking/BBQing.
If you weren’t in the music business what job do you see yourself doing?
I reckon I’d try and get into sustainable building or animal conservation. Something where my creativity would be challenged.
If you could fill a swimming pool with anything, what would that be?
Keeno is performing at Hospitality's On The Beach and In The Park events this summer, get tickets on the Hospitality website.
Facebook - Twitter - SoundCloud