DJ KENNY KEN – (JUNGLE/DRUM&BASS PIONEER)
KILLA KELA: You are held in such high regard and love in this scene. You have definitely earned your legendary status.
DJ KENNY KEN: A lot of people have said this to me over the years but, I’m just humble, I don’t go on like I’m some top dj or whatever, I’m just Kenny. Don’t get me wrong, I love the respect, I love the love I get off the ravers. Even when I was coming through the ranks back in the late 80s early 90s, I didn’t let it go to my head because all I was interested in was playing my music and doing a good job.
KILLA KELA: Let’s go back to those times, what was it like?
DJ KENNY KEN: When I started raving, I used to go to a lot of acid house parties. one day I was at a Sunrise rave and Grooverider and DJ bones were playing. The way they played just got to me, I said to myself i’m gonna do this. I want to be up there doing what they’re doing. the way they were bouncing off of each other, it stuck in my head and I wanted to be like them.
KILLA KELA: How did you make that transition from a fan of the music to being a DJ?
DJ KENNY KEN: At the time I was working on London transport at the Oxford Circus station. Blackmarket records were just around the corner . I was a fan of the music, I was collecting it but I wasn’t really DJing. When it finally got into my head that I wanted to do this, I gave up my job on London transport which was a good job and I took a chance.
I would go to raves and clubs and talk to the promoters and say listen I can play better than the DJ, give me a chance, man. Eventually, on a Sunday in Chelsea on Kings road, this guy was playing his music and I said to Dave the promoter I can play better than this, give me a chance. I got a chance to play for free with no wages and if I was good they would consider keeping me on. They liked me and booked me, little did I know when I was going down there to play I thought it was just me but it wasn’t it was Jumping Jack Drost and Ray Keith as well, the three of us all played, all of us busted up the place so they ended up kept the three of us.
KILLA KELA: What was it like hearing jungle for the first time?
DJ KENNY KEN: When I first heard early jungle I was talking to Grooverider and he played a couple of tunes but it never had that fall to the floor thing in it. When you hear a classic jungle there’s not enough kicks it feels like you’re ah you’re hanging on the edge. So, I said to Groove I can’t really get my head into this. Then someone gave me a tune, I can’t remember what it was and I fell in love with it . At the time, it was called Jungle Techno. We were still playing hardcore and techno. The scene was going through that transition and that’s why they called it jungle techno because they were still playing the techno beats. But, once I just got hooked on the jungle that was it.
KILLA KELA: Let talk production, what’s your process? What software do you use?
DJ KENNY KEN: I use Logic. People have tried to convert me to others but I always find myself going back to Logic. Basically, when I make music I always visualize the way the tunes are going to drop, how I’m going to be standing behind the decks, how the crowd is going to be reacting. I think about things like that when I’m making music.
KILLA KELA: What would you say is your secret to success?
DJ KENNY KEN: I think it’s not just about skill you’ve got to put in the grind too. Even now I don’t just sit on my laurels, I don’t think oh I’m Kenny Ken and I’m going to carry on getting work because I’m who I am. You still have to bring something to the table because there’s a lot of young djs out there now who are really good you know and that’s who you’re playing against.
KILLA KELA PODCAST #361 – DJ KENNY KEN
Today on the Killa Kela Podcast we have the pleasure of talking to a man that needs no introduction, OG junglist DJ Kenny Ken. A pioneer in the junglist movement he has more than earned his legendary status. We are talking dubplate culture, the early jungle scene, mixtapes, production and more. This is DJ Kenny Ken’s podcast enjoy!!