David Keno – Youth EP [Mother Recordings] (Exclusive Interview)

David Keno’s latest release ‘Youth’ on Mother Recordings is no less excellent than his previous work, combining big drops and soulful synths into a playful mix.

David has played a significant role in the electronic music scene for as much as a decade, with remixes crafted for the likes of Samuel L Session, G-Man and Alex Bau. He’s toured the world DJ:ing and in 2007 he started his own label ‘Keno Records’ which has been an important platform for producers like Beatmines and Patryk Molinari among many.

We got the chance to ask him a few questions about his music and upcoming projects.

How are you, what is good, what is bad?
I’m alright thanks. Still recovering from a tough weekend in Moscow but I’m allright now and already in the studio at work.

Are you a summer or winter person? What were the highlights those summer for you?
Both seasons have their good sides. Winter is fine to go snowboarding and also the christmas time can be very nice too. Although if I had to pick only one it would definitely be summer. In a perfect world Winter in Berlin would last 2 months. It is just too long for my taste.

How did you link with Mother? Who contacted who? Were you a fan of the label?
I have been working with Mother recordings from the very beginning. Nhan asked me to join the label when he first started it and I stayed with them since. I know that everything Nhan does he does with passion and that’s the most important thing when you run a label. You have to love what you are doing otherwise it won’t be successful.

Did you write something specifically for that label? Or did you send them tracks you had already done?
My last 2 releases I wrote just for Mother Recordings. I always kept sending them stuff but they rejected everything, so I got a little bit angry and sat down just to produce something they can’t reject any more. And it was exactly right, Moonshine turned out to be a big hit and Youth/Play has a pretty good start as well.

And tell us about them – what inspired or influenced them? Where and when did you write them?
I was actually very inspired by the whole Mother crew. My productions were missing this special funk and sexyness that we all love so much and which needs to be there to fit on the label. So I felt the need to keep up with the other guys and that pushed me to get better and I think it worked. Maybe I need a good competition to keep going I don’t know.
My writing often starts at home or while travelling just on the laptop and headphones. When I have found a nice idea I take it to my studio to mix and finish it. My workflow depends on working from different places.

What gear did you use – are you a hardware or software guy? Does that matter?
I have a lot of toys in the studio and at home which I use a lot but if everything burns down or gets stolen tomorrow I can still work with only a computer. So having hardware synths and outboard fx is nice to have but it also works without them these days. It definitely helps with my creativity. Using a different synth for example brings me different ideas for example. The biggest and most fun toy at the moment is my modular system. The sounds that come out of it are simply crazy and I would never achieve something like this with only a computer. But in the end it’s always just you that makes a good track. There is no excuse these days to make bad music. It’s not about the tools you have but about what you make with them.

Your bio says you are a sample master – how many did you use for this? Can you tell us about how you treat them?
No idea who wrote this but I like it. The track Play is a good example of my sampling. I like to use the Ableton Push to sample mostly old tracks and make something completely new out of it. In this track I took the bassline from “Golden Earring – Radar Love” and rearranged it. Then I put an own bassline under it and that’s the main element of the track.
The rest of the samples are small cuts from old hip hop records. When I listen to music I am always also looking for useful samples. This can be dangerous when I am driving my car and try to record something on the radio at the same time.

Do you have self imposed rules when it comes to sampling? Anything off limits, anything you mustn’t use?
Yes I try to limit myself from stuff that has been done by others before or when the samples are too famous or modern. It can be fun to make edits but I think it has been done too many times the last years and I am a little over it.

How much does being in Berlin influence your sound? Do you think if you lived somewhere else you would sound different?
That’s not an easy question. I think it definitely had an influence on my sound. If I wouldn’t have lived in Berlin the last years my sound might have turned out less clubby. By going out a lot I think I picked up a lot of techno and tech house.

What else have you got coming up/are you working on/are you looking forward to?
Up next for me is a track on Snatch called Crackhouse.

David Keno’s ‘Youth’ is out now on Mother Recordings
Grab it here – https://www.beatport.com/release/youth/1857798