Mon. Jun. 21, 2021

Kenny Dope: Dope on Wax!

Interviews with Kenny Dope have been something of quite rare along with time. Could it be that our man felt too shy for this? Havin’ known Masters At Work for ages, I can only remember of a couple of answers he would give during our interviews. Obviously more inclined to leave Louie (Vega) dealing with this matter. This until a memorable first face to face conversation we would have back in 2004 before the release of the vol.2 of the ‘Pure’ compilation…

Times are changing, and people too. With Louie Vega and Kenny embarked on their respective projects. As if, apart from their work together, they’d felt the need to prove themselves that they were able to deal with the conception of their own work. Thus enabling them to increase their need for each other for the time they might be getting back together at work…

“The new generations haven’t been brought up with vinyls, not to say 7 inches. They’ve come along with computers and don’t give a sh** about all of this, as long as they get the track!”

Kenny DopeYou’ve got the reputation of an avid music collector and, as such myself, compilations come up as another way to share music we love. Thus eventually telling people a bit of ourselves…
“This exercise is a sort of medium in itself, allowing to increase the exposure of music. Should it be already released or awaited in the pipeline. Doin’ compilations offer different possibilities of expressing myself and go further than what I’ve done in the music field. This brings me back in the daze when I was doin’ mixtapes. I loved it and that’s what brought me to who I am today. It’s also something that allows you to do a bit more than putting a record onto the preceeding one.
I like to tell myself that everything can happen like rearranging the rhythm part of a track. Or put an a cappella over a different beat…”

This meaning a post-production work while mixing…
“Not necessarily. I’d rather say some spontaneous work. That stuff that comes to mind instantly like when I was doin’ mixtapes. This said, I liked working with a small digital record – the 16-80 – that allows you to make overdubs. Although it may take some time depending on the complexity of the things that you add.”

In other words, a way of putting your trademark over the music that you’re spreading…
“Exactly. I want to leave my own input. Unlike these too numerous mixes leavin’ you with the feeling that it’s the same record from the beginning until the end. On top of it, it’s supposed to expect what I want to hear while listening to mixes. I mean, new rhythm lines, special F-X. Well, something happening at the end of the day!”

How would depict the current state of House Music with all these labels that have disappeared one after another?
“It’s nothing but what’s been happening in the record industry. And if House Music has suffered more from it, it’s due to the fact that it’s a far smaller niche.”

How come hasn’t it been able to reach a higher level after all these years?
“I guess, we may say that some House tracks have become pop successes in Europe. But what about the other places in the world? I think it has had a lot to do with the times we’ve gone through. There are not that many producers nor new faces. Added to this, the fact, that there are may be not so many tunes with instant effects as in the past.
A lot has been done already, so that DJ’s in search of newies got into some state of starvation. This said, we in America are not anymore leaders the way we were at the time. And the arrival of people coming from different countries is up to give us some more energy one day or another.”

Isn’t that also a matter of lack of (real) promotion?
“The main question is Internet. A lot of people do not buy their records (whenever they do) the way they used to do before. You can find there anything you want on Internet. So that people please themselves while exchanging files. Times are changing. They’ve already changed and we need to constantly adapt ourselves to this situation…
D’you know where I generally used to go for record shopping? In London, coz’ they don’t know how to sell in NYC!

Meanwhile, you can do what you want while surfing on the web. You can go that whatever site you want. Listen to the music at any time of the day, make your orders and go to another place. Do your thing on your own without risking to be disturbed by someone like back in the day while in the middle of people at a classic record shop. Benefiting from secured payment systems with the goodies delivered to your door…”

Do you yourself download mp3 files?
” mp3 have become reality but nothing to me could ever replace the sensation of the wax! I’m a purist and I want the thing. I want the artwork and I want the credits in order to know who’s done what, how and where…
This said, the new generations haven’t been brought up with vinyls, not to say 7 inches. They’ve come along with computers and don’t give a sh** about all of this, as long as they get the track! One of the main reasons being that it usually costs 20 Bucks to buy an album where you may only find one or two tracks worth the listen. Meanwhile they’re made available for downloading for just a couple of dollars. This meaning that the current concept of most of the albums around is totally out of the scope and needs to be rethought…”

And if not, see the record industry keep on disappearing, one label after another…
“Internet, downloading… The problem is that the labels haven’t made themselves ready for this. And this has already gone too far!”

CD players, Final Scratch or Serato to name but a few… the DJ tools have also changed a lot in the meantime…
“The only reason why I’ve been working with CD’s is that they’re not so heavy and I could carry them with me in the cabins while traveling as opposed to get my vinyls in the trunk with the risk of seeing them broken. If not stolen as it used to regularly happen back in the day. As for these tools like Serato which allows us to work from a laptob, I’ve more or less ended up getting there. Even though they’ve never been of real excitement for me…”

Chosen few
The Unreleased Project (Freeze Records) – Kenny Dope
All In The Mind (Henry Street / Positiva) – Kenny Dope presents The Bucketheads
Nuyorican Soul (Giant Step / Talkin’ Loud) – Nuyorican Soul
Kenny Dope presents Black Roots (Toy’s Factory)
Kay-Dee Vol. 2 (Kay-Dee Records) – Kenny Dope & Keb Darge
Dope Jams – The Kenny Dope edits (Strictly Rhythm)

Interview: Kenny Dope

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Masters At Work: House Masters!

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Story teller, record pusher, compiler & web designer...
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