Inflyte Radar: Ken Kelly

Brooklyn’s own Ken Kelly is swiftly finding his feet thanks to outings with imprints like Whoyostro, and this week he also debuts on Andhera Records.

The EP lands him firmly on our Inflyte Radar and serves two original tracks in Tell Me and Thinkin’ About U, with a remix from Coral O’Connor of the latter.

We sat down with the New York native to discuss the new EP, what he looks for in a label, how he’s been coping during Covid and what he’s been listening to in lockdown. Get the full discussion below.

You’re on our Inflyte Radar this month! Tell us what you’ve been up to?

Thanks for having me! Well life in NYC has gotten a lot slower since Covid, so I’ve just been trying to fill up the last bits of summer with as many rooftop hangs with the homies as possible. More recently I’m dumping all my time into promoting the 2 EPs I’ve got coming out, this one on Andhera and the follow up on Whoyostro. Oh and I started watching the Sopranos in my down time, that show is an absolute trip.

And your new Close To You EP on Andhera Records, how would you describe the originals in your own words?

Well I wanted to maintain a duality on the record to showcase the range of my tastes as a musician in the minimal and deep tech space.

Tell Me is the antithesis of Thinkin’ About U in that it only has a single bass note rockin’ out the whole song. I spent much more time on the sound design on my Prophet, making sure each sound really mattered and was performed in an interesting enough way.

Thinkin About U on the other hand could straight up be played by a live band if you wanted as the track grooves with rhodes and more organic elements, your average run of the mill shakers and a Rickenbacker bass and rhodes.

It also include a remix from Coral O’Connor, what was your reaction to hearing that for the first time?

Oh I was super excited to get this over iMessage. I’ve never had a track of mine remixed before so that was already exciting enough for me. Getting into the track itself though I love how it’s not just a rearrangement of my track, it’s its own song with its own chord progression and energy. Not to mention it brings a truly minimal club tune to the record contrasting perfectly with the 2 original mixes!

You also have an upcoming track on Whoyostro, what do you look for in a label when considering them for a release?

Yeah my next EP after this release is with Whyostro! The real answer for how I consider a label is 2 things. Legacy and Reach.

Legacy just meaning they’ve pushed a definitive sound with ground breaking new music. The kind of stuff that labels like Meta, Inkal or Origins are known to deliver. That said, I think you can be a young label, and if I love every release you’ve put out and can see you care about your graphic design and the way you are represented, I’ll probably want to sign to you.

Reach however is when we get into the business of things. If I’m giving you one of my tracks that I’ve put my heart into, I have to know you won’t let it bomb and disappear into thin air.

This is where Andhera Records who is releasing this record really really stands apart. They’re young, but they are putting their artists on their shows, they’re building online communities for artists to meet and collaborate, it feels like a family.

If you see the Summer Sampler VA that they put out you’ll also see that a lot of the artists on it actually ended up doing more collab pieces together and forming real friendships. That’s the kind of energy I love and will support. Because as the digital world consumes our screens, what will always really matter is who is dancing next to you at the club and having endless chats with you at the afters. Andhera is out doing that, bringing people together and I couldn’t be more happy to give my 2 best pieces to them.

And what can you tell us about which other labels we might see you on soon?

Well I’m happy to be able to say that I do in fact have a Whoyostro release coming out with 3 deep tracks I’m very happy with. I’ve also got a roller of a collaboration with one of Andhera’s label co-owners Ky William coming out on Greco’s label Rawsome Deep. That’s probably going to be it for me this year! I’ve got some collabs cooking up with Detroit’s Botez and Andhera alumni James Wyler that we will be shopping around soon too.

You’re based in New York, a state hit extremely hard during the pandemic, how have you been keeping positive over the past few months?

Well it’s been hard with all my favorite clubs shut down and nowhere to dance and meet up with my usual group of friends. It really was a huge part of my life until it wasn’t. That said my gang of friends have been really good at staying in touch online and just zooming each other. And through music and instagram I actually think my social circle has grown a substantial amount even with the virus hanging around. The online community is really there if you are as extroverted as I am haha.

And what are you looking forward to most when things return to normal?

This is almost too easy but it’d have to be just clubbing and festivals. Brooklyn is just such a hotbed for underground house and techno it’s really been tough to expose myself to new things I’ve never heard before. Especially with the the echo chamber of social media. I want to go back to the Good Room, Nowadays, Elsewhere, Le Bain, and obviously The Brooklyn Mirage. And I’ve missed my yearly migration out to California for festivals like CRSSD, Lightning In a Bottle, and the Desert Hearts festival (which I had tickets to this year for my first time).

Are there any EPs or albums that you’ve been rinsing in 2020?

One of the artists I met on the Andhera Summer Sampler VA, Kreacher has a track called Dreamy. I’ve genuinely listened to this track a few times every day for sure ever since it came out. There’s also this artist I’m obsessed with called Easttown and his release Nightdiving on this super underground label called Hattrick has been one of my absolute jams. Lastly I’m a huge fan of Rone White and his new belter on South of Saturn called Eyes Open has been a regular in my sets at this point. A little more tech house but who doesn’t like tech house haha. (I’m looking at you hipsters).

Anything you want to mention before we wrap up?

Keep your eye on Andhera Records.

Ken Kelly’s Close To You EP is out September 18th on Andhera Records.