Wholly reliable source UrbanDictionary.com... describes a 'keeno' as "someone who wants to get stuck in to something new, but often goes wrong due to a lack of experience." Then it talks about impressing girls for awhile and ends up a bit weird and squiffy...
Well UrbanDictionary - we'll stop you right there! Will Keen may only be 22 years young, but there is none of that going wrong biz at play here.
Orchestral, cinematic, beautiful - Keeno deals solely in the art of writing and producing breathtaking drum and bass. Magnetic caught up with him after the February launch of his second album on Med School, titled Futurist, to talk Bristol, birthdays and the key to being as happy as that happy bloke - Larry.
Firstly, big congrats! What did you get up to to celebrate the release?
Thank you! I had a gig in Slovenia on the same day as the release and it was my birthday! So I spent 9 hours traveling to Slovenia to have “Happy Birthday” sung to me by a bunch of people - a pretty unusual way to celebrate an album release but fun nonetheless!
The title Futurist - did it come from reaching out to fans for help with an album name? What were some of the other standout suggestions?
The suggestions definitely helped the process but the name came from my own head. I got loads and loads of suggestions but the one that stood out most was "Songs In The Keen Of Life" - maybe album three?
Can you break it down for us - what or who is a Futurist and why did you choose to name the album that?
The “Futurists” were a bunch of Italian blokes from the 1920s, but the name seemed to suit the LP because of what part of my life I’m going through. Having taken ‘Keeno’ full time over a year ago, it’s only now that I have time to look ahead and find out what I want to do with my life. I think also part of me wanted to start fresh and say to those who follow me “this is where I want to take my music,” and try not to pay too much attention to what’s popular at the moment.
Will classically driven remain your style or is there an itch to switch it up completely and go, for example, Noisia on everyone’s ass?
Aha! I wish I had the production skills to do something like that but really, the classical route is much more interesting to me and has more scope for being creative. I definitely want to take it a bit further, see where the line between the two genres is, but at the same time, keep the drum and bass elements prominent. Without the energy from the drums and sub, my music wouldn’t have the same effect.
Writing it, listening to it or shuffling around to it - what’s your favourite part of the drum and bass process?
Writing, for me. Writing keeps me happier for longer whereas DJing or skanking out can be very exhausting. I wouldn’t like to choose one though, they all complement each other so well – keeps things interesting and me guessing!
What’s your ideal setup for writing music e.g. location, time of day, atmosphere, snacks on hand?
Well, having moved house 3 times this year, I’ve had to learn how to make music outside of my comfort zone. But I’m in the process of putting my first dedicated room just for making music which is an incredibly exciting prospect. I’ve finally got some time to relax and really get down and creative. Honestly though, put me in a room with a piano and some tea, I will be happy as larry.
You’ve just moved to Bristol - dnb capital! How is it? Do you love it there?
It’s a bit early to say, having only been here for a couple of weeks and getting all my things out of boxes! It doesn’t quite feel real yet, but I’m definitely happy, excited and eager to explore a new place. It does feel a lot different to Oxford where I’ve been for the last 6 months, though, a lot more laid back.
And finally, did you feel relief at finishing the album or are you already starting to look towards number three?
I have loads of ideas I want to be getting on with, but I’m going to have to take my time. Moving house, releasing and touring a new album all at once is definitely not recommended if you like your sleep! I think it’s important I take a moment to enjoy all these gigs across Europe I have coming up and come back with a clear head. That said, there’s definitely more music shaping up already – perhaps an EP much later on this year, who knows!
Buy 'Futurist' out on Med School now.