login :: register :: search              
Jon Kennedy
Demonic Drums
The premise was to put a 12inch out with solid and beautiful downbeats and not to veer off into Latin, Nujazz or some other punk-ass bollocks that most artists do later in their careers for monetary gain. Jon ..
Jon Kennedy: Demonic Drums         by DJ Verb
When being possessed goes horribly right...

Englishman Jon Kennedy is not only a gentleman, but he's also a scholar; of mellifluous folk-drenched beats with a heavy Hip-Hop feel. After making a cross-country connect with the excellent, Brighton-based imprint Tru Thoughts (facilitated by fellow Northener Mr. Scruff), the Stockport-bred maestro followed up his inspired 2001 debut We're Just Waiting for You Now with two more fine efforts on the now-defunct Grand Central (2003's Take My Drum to England and 2005's Useless Wooden Toys).

When not trotting around the globe rocking turntables or remixing everyone and their moms, Jon stays busy fortifying his new label, Jon Kennedy Federation. Its inaugural release, Jon's own Demons EP, is not only another wonderful beat journey from a largely unsung music veteran, but a harbinger of many a funky thing to come on JKF. Jon took a minute from roaming far and wide to tell Ground Lift a little bit about how he does.

You're originally from Stockport, right?

Yes indeed. A little suburb of Stockport, a town called Dukinfield.

So you're a Northener, then. My impression of that area (lopsidedly American as it may be) is that the people there are more laid-back and congenial than down south. Did your surroundings play a big role in shaping your musical style?

I find Northern folk to be very honest, salt-of-the-earth, I think it stems from their Grandfathers working in factories and mines and passing (down) stories of hardship and graft. My musical style is just what it is. I have no idea why it sounds that/this way.

Isn't Mr. Scruff from Stockport? Is that where you first ran into him?

He is and yes it is.

He more or less put you on. How exactly did that all take place?

A girlfriend of mine's parents lived next door to Treva Whateva's wife's parents and as you know Trev does a lot of work with Andy (Mr. Scruff)

Were you a musician or a beatmaker first?

Primarily I'm a drummer and have been in bands in the Manchetser circuit from the age of 16.

What kind of bands? Were you into the whole Factory Records kind of sound, being in Manchester and all?

I was in rock bands paying similar styles to Hendrix and Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and Infectious Grooves. I was a little late for the Factory Records scene. That's more my brother's scene, he's 5 years older and a fucking amazing guitar player (who's) now sound engineering for the likes of Emiliana Torrini, Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) and Fish ( Marillion )

Being a drummer, do you naturally start with rhythmic elements when composing a track?

I suppose, yes. It definitely has to have the correct feel whether it be a break, bassline or jew's harp riff.

How would you say your style has evolved over the years?

I hope my production is improving mainly. I've never had amazing equipment or fat studio rigs. It's very basic and sometimes this shows in the production. But at the same time this is what gives my music the "unique" sound.

Has your studio setup evolved in kind? What do you use mostly?

I have aquired better leads and methods of recording but it's all basically the same as it was 8 years ago. I use Cakewalk in the main (studio).

What was the motivation behind starting Jon Kennedy Federation? Was it the implosion of Grand Central or a general desire to call your own shots?

I was offered a distribution deal in the USA and needed a label to house my music. Grand Central are dead and other labels were not willing to help. So I took the step of creating my own little company; The Jon Kennedy Federation.

Demons has a strong blues/folk kind of vibe that I like a lot. It may very well be mostly live, but many of the elements sound sampled or looped. Was there a different mindset going into this release than for previous ones?

All the instruments you hear are played in some fashion, be it through a sampler or from my own or others' hands. The premise was to put a 12" out with solid and beautiful downbeats and not to veer off into Latin, Nujazz or some other punk-ass bollocks that most artists do later in their careers for monetary gain.

Well, no one can ever accuse you of that. Is there some you'd like to do musically that you haven't tried yet?

Maybe a fat as fuck drum and bass track!

How do you go about translating your tracks into a live performance with musicians?

I get behind the drums and draft in select people to play the parts back in... pretty simple, kind of fill-in-the-gaps.

Are you planning on going in a more live direction in your future studio exploits?

It is fun but it's very hard to logistically pull off sometimes and the budget is also hard to work on. We'll see.

Are there other artists coming out on JKF?

There are other artists indeed on JKF namely: Covershocks, Chuckie Steel, DJ Ezi, Dopedemand, and Noego.
Besides them, who else do you like on the scene right now?

I'm feeling the Freefall Collective, kinda breaks stuff from Bournemouth in the UK. There's a ton of bands that are not well known at all too. I often play these on my radio show Snare Force One.

What else do you have in the pipeline right now?

I'm working on a lot of remixes for various folk all over the world. Building up a good collection of vinyl for DJ sets and pushing my JKF label. I also have my radio show Snare Force One which has been snapped up by a few stations. Im busy enough to be creating, recording and remixing everyday,which is nice.


More more info on Jon Kennedy, check out his website www.jonkennedy.co.uk, and if you'd like to listen to his radio show, Snare Force One, click here or here.

:: Post new comment :: 1 comment ::

  :: email this article to a friend