Highly respected, producer, DJ and label founder Inigo Kennedy recently released his new album ‘Eyes Closed In The Sun’ on his lauded Asymmetric Records imprint. The incandescent body of work is the result of twelve month’s unanticipated studio time for Kennedy in which a vast catalogue of new, personal music was created. Having had unprecedented time to completely immerse himself in his artistic process, and with a fully-fledged long-player as the end result, Kennedy’s renewed Asymmetric energy felt ripe to share with the world.
We recently had the chance to speak to Inigo about the process behind the creation of the album, the positive feedback he received from both peers and fans, and his interests outside of music…
Hey Inigo! Thanks for taking the time to speak with us following the release of your album.
Firstly, your label ‘Asymmetric’ is the imprint that will house this LP, having initiated proceedings all the way back in 1999 as an output for your artistic material. I gather it was initially fostered as a vinyl-only label, before welcoming the digital revolution in 2004. Can you shed some light on what drove you to form the label; and later, what made you decide to move into the realms of digital music?
Timing really. I was prolific in the late ’90s and so was the distribution company I was working with. So many records came out and I was working under a few aliases at the time also like Reducer and Tomito Satori. Pretty much everything was a P&D deal (pressing and distribution) so I wasn’t involved in the mechanics of manufacturing or distributing the releases but I definitely felt like there was a middle man to cut out in terms of direction and ultimately financially. It was the former that set me on the path to forming Asymmetric and making that true to my most personal stuff, unfiltered. It was the latter, and the demise of the distribution company, that really brought the decision to strike out as a digital project and more or less set the music free – end result 21 releases over eight years and almost 100 tracks to download for free. It was a peak time for the netlabel scene too. The first major wave of digital music.
It’s been reported that this latest body of work from you was the result of a year’s worth of studio time, I’ve no doubt in thanks to the ongoing effects of the pandemic that surrounds our daily lives. What can you tell me about your mindset throughout this period? Did you struggle at all to use the time effectively or were you productive from the get-go?
I wouldn’t say it was a year’s worth of studio time, that would be a luxury and a half, but the result of what time I could find to make music over the past year or so; despite all the stress and madness going on with COVID, juggling family life, regular work, homeschooling and everything else. It has certainly been a rollercoaster, as it has for every person on the planet, but I’m thankful to have been in a reasonably OK situation and to have been able to have made any music at all. I was actually quite surprised to discover just how much I had made – to an extent also that it was quite a diverse range perhaps due to there being less pressure from the merry-go-round of club nights and that strong influence. Saying that, I have always been quite diverse and if you look at the back catalogue of Asymmetric that is very evident. I’ve always made music, at least since I was a teenager, so it serves a fundamental purpose for me and I’m sure is a major boon for my mental health. That has helped a lot through this past couple of years. The anxiety early on in the pandemic was quite crippling. I didn’t have a project in mind, I rarely do, but it had been talking about restarting Asymmetric for some time and gradually the idea crystallised and I started to focus on selecting tracks and getting things moving. I’m super happy with the result and momentum it has given me.
Oscar Mulero: “The album sounds amazing, I loved it! Great work as usual.”
Dave Clarke: “The best drums I’ve heard I think since ‘Idioteque’ by Radiohead”
Paula Temple: “Just heard the previews and they’re just stunning. Congratulations on a beautiful album”
You’ve received a plethora of complimentary feedback from a group of well-respected artists within the scene for your album ‘Eyes Closed In The Sun’. What does it mean to you to have your fellow artists respond so positively to your work? How does this compare to receiving feedback from your fanbase?
I value and appreciate both without doubt. It’s amazing to receive plaudits from your own heroes and I would count all those you mentioned as heroes. Dave Clarke for example is one of the main reasons I got into the whole thing to start with; he was a huge influence on me in the 90’s both as a DJ and a producer. Equally, receiving a random message from a fan from the other side of the planet is such a nice feeling and makes the world feel closer especially recently when it has felt like a very disjointed place.
Having taken a listen to the album myself recently, I personally found an affinity for a few key tracks, in particular, the break-encompassing ‘Glitter’ and the titular ‘Eyes Closed In The Sun’. With the LP comprising so much diversity in terms of style, do you yourself have a track you are most proud of? Which tracks have you seen the most positive reception towards?
It still surprises me that the feedback I receive is so diverse too; a different track connects to each person. That’s a great result in my mind. Having filtered down to a shortlist of tracks for the album, maybe from 50-60 in total, I would be hard-pressed to pick out a particular one as I’ve already picked them all. That said, ‘Eyes Close In The Sun’ is also a stand out track for me and that is what made it become the title track of the album. It’s also the oldest of the tracks there and in fact, comes from before the pandemic; I’d actually made it with KHIDI (in Tbilisi) in mind just before I had a gig there and it was pretty spine-tingling when I got to play it there. I love ‘Glitter’ too, it’s got a great energy and very typical juxtaposition of heaviness and melody that is my thing. Lastly, ‘Disintegrate’ was a 100% certainty as soon as I had made it. It was almost accidental in how it came about but that’s how I like to make music. It’s a track where I played the melody live and it really captures a particular mood because of that.
Outside of music, I gather that you’ve got a number of hobbies to keep yourself entertained and healthy, both physically and mentally. As well as being into strength training, it’s my understanding that you’ve also got a pension for dressmaking! How important are your non-musical interests in your overall wellbeing? Please also give us some insight into your dressmaking journey!
I’m not sure I can really take credit for a penchant for dress making but it is something I started to do recently with a fair bit of success; I think my wife would agree with that too as she’s got a couple of dresses and some leggings that turned out really well (*) and there are a stack of orders from friends and acquaintances. It’s something I really wish I had more time and space to do more of; it’s therapeutic, creative and useful which is no bad combination. It really does demand a lot of space, more than I expected and I quickly learned how important it is to have space and take your time being precise in the early stages especially when cutting the material. Then there’s the huge challenge of learning how every different material behaves when you are working with it. I didn’t make it easy by starting off by working with lycra. I could go on about it for a long time but, as with music tools and production, there is just so much mind-blowing guidance to be found on YouTube, etc. and if ever you are stuck there is always an answer.
I’ve grabbed some pattern books and working with Japanese drape patterns is high on my to do list. I’ve always juggled a lot of different interests and hobbies and have been able to do pretty well at more or less anything I’ve applied myself which I’m aware is a lucky place to be in and don’t take it for granted; chucking a curveball challenge at myself like Olympic weightlifting was almost inevitable. Being from a long line of engineers and teachers has no doubt helped. My brother is a national expert in antiquarian horology (watch-making) as it goes so it definitely runs in the blood. Electronic music-making has always been a great combination of tactile creativity and intellectual stimulation; a great combination that tickles both sides of the brain nicely.
Thanks Inigo – all the best with the release and in your upcoming endeavours!
Written by Jeremy McCarthy