Extension _ Interview with Inigo Kennedy
You are very into photography Inigo. Why do you enjoy it so much and are there any certain aesthetics that you seek to combine between both mediums of expression?
It’s a bit of a challenge and it forces you to look at things a certain way too. I think it satisfies a bit of a latent ability to see patterns and order. It’s also just a really satisfying and enjoyable thing to do. I got into it via my dad really. He used to be a keen photographer and had a darkroom under the stairs at home when I was a kid. I inherited some of his kit after he died, a Canon AE-1 and A-1 and that started me on my way. In similar way to learning the music-making ropes on hardware, there’s something to be said for learning photography with film SLR cameras.
For sure the aesthetics are similar. Drawing order out of chaos. Finding patterns in different ways.
How would you explain the relationship between mathematics and music?
I don’t know that I could explain it. It is just there. It’s a bit chicken and egg though; you can find rules that describe musical relationships but that doesn’t mean that’s why the relationships are there in the first place. It is also warped by cultural perceptions too; the mathematical basis behind Western harmony is quite different to Oriental harmony for example. All those dozens of different tunings and scales can be tied to different mathematical representations, giving rules for what is harmonic and what is dissonant.
It is almost like making up the explanation for a painting 100’s of years after it’s been painted though. The way harmony works is pretty fascinating when you start to see the same relationships and ratios all over the place in nature.
You said in an interview in 2003 ‘that there is hardly any techno scene in the UK at the moment’, how has that changed now, 10 years later? Is there more of an evident ‘punk attitude’ now do you think?
Yeah, I think the scene is pretty healthy at the moment although not just in the UK. Things in general were a bit stagnant a while back I think. There are some good things happening now; braver music.
You’ve mentioned previously that London has changed and become more and more transient in nature with ‘less community spirit and trust’ between people. To what extent do you think techno events are successful in creating a sense of community and trust between attendees?
They do but it’s quite insular too. I suppose it’s always been the same; clubs and genres are fairly insular experiences on the global radar, but there is definitely a sense of community and trust. You’ll find the best of friendships have been made through club nights and techno allegiances; people do seem to look out for each other as a rule. There is a bit of a leveling effect to simply letting your hair down.
You play in Berlin quite regularly, how would you characterise the difference between the London and Berlin techno scenes?
I think things in Berlin feel a bit more creative and liberated and a bit more mainstream too. It feels like there’s more positive support for art in the city in general. Feels like there’s a common will rather than more of an ‘us against them’ kind of feeling. That’s maybe just the naïve opinion of an outsider looking in though. There are quite a lot of differences culturally and socially born from some seriously polarised things happening at similar times; the fall of the Berlin Wall bringing a lot of people and ideas together versus the genesis of the Criminal Justice Bill in the UK breaking things up for example. It kind of shows in the way the scenes proliferate I think.
Is your interaction with the crowd symbiotic in nature, in what ways do you react to the crowd while playing a set?
Difficult to say really. Being in the zone is a pretty amazing place to be; everything flows and it feels like you’re not having to think. But that’s not necessarily symbiotic. It could turn out you’ve had quite a different experience. It goes the other way quite often in that I feel like it’s been a bit of a struggle but apparently the opposite was true. That sounds almost like anti-symbiotic, but there are also definitely connections made and it’s brilliant to see faces that are lost somewhere you think might be similar and it does make me react too. It’s the interaction after a set that can be brilliant too sometimes.
Last time I played at Berghain, for a Token label night, I finished with ‘Pitch-Hiker’ by Pill Driver and big bearded ball of sweaty man rolled up and said he’d been there religiously for so many years and never believed he would one day hear that track there. His night was well and truly made and that was a great feeling! Post hoc symbiosis?