Kelpe’s a hard artist to define. There’s a hell of a lot of bass involved; and then some folksy hip-hop infused with warped electronic masterpieces. And boy, do these peculiar fusions work. He was discovered almost a decade ago, by London’s DC Recordings and has since developed a name for himself in European clubs, playing with live percussion. We heard whispers that Kelpe’s about to release a new album (his first in two years) and decided to chat to him about what we can expect.
Happy New Year Kel! What are your plans for 2012?
Why thank you. Immediate plans are to finish the LP that I’ve been working on for some time then and I hope to get that released before the summer. After that I’d like to think I’ll be playing gigs to promote the album and trying to pretend the Olympics aren’t happening around the corner from home (I tried and failed to buy tickets so now I’m bitter and twisted).
What can we expect from the new LP?
I’ve been working on an LP for a while, and I still have some work to do on it but I’m really pleased with what I’ve done so far. This time, as I’m making each song, I’m thinking about the order and progression on the LP from track to track, so I’m hoping this release will be a more coherent journey than my previous LPs. In terms of sound I’m trying to push the melodic factor up higher than my previous LP – which was perhaps focussed on production more than melodies, compared to my older stuff. I’ve got lots of new equipment since I first started making music for making and editing sounds with, but also, just recently, I’ve been rediscovering some of the methods that I used for writing music when I first started. I suppose each time I make a new record I try to pick on and develop the best ideas / elements of my previous records and push them into different directions and tempos.
Anyways, before the LP comes out there will be a 6 track EP released which is now complete and ready to go. It features remixes from BNJMN, Cupp Cave and Naive Machine & should come out in the early part of this year. I also have a couple of new exclusive tracks coming out on two different compilations (Project: Mooncircle & Fremdtunes), and a couple of remixes for Soosh and Pierce Warnecke coming out soon.
You spent a lot of time DJing on the continent in the latter part of 2011, which clubs do you love to play in in Europe?
I do play in Europe loads more than I do in my home country – although mostly live sets with drummer, not so much DJing – and I guess 95% of my gigs are overseas. One of the best venues I’d played was the main room at WMF in Berlin and I’d always hoped to return there, unfortunately I recently found out that it closed down. Satta bar in Vilnius, Lithuania is great as well; it would be good to go back there again.
Your record covers are highly artistic with very intricate graphics – who’s designed them? How much of a say do you have in the designs?
All three of my album sleeves on DC were designed by Scot Bendall at Laboca, although Thogdin Ripley did the intricate hand drawn illustration on my second LP “Ex-Aquarium” (and various other designers have done the non-DC releases). I have quite a lot of say in the design I guess – I sometimes come up with some kind of half-baked initial idea and eventually wear the designer down to the bone. I’m just joking, but sometimes Scot would be working on my LP sleeves for a long time. Scot is really good at coming with ideas as well, and the Cambio Wechsel artwork was all his doing.
You seem very inspired by a lot of the old Warp artists – what got you into music when you were young? Which particular artists inspired you back then?
I’ve got two brothers who are both quite a bit older than me so when I was a kid I used to find out about all the cool music through them. But Warp and electronica stuff didn’t really come through them, I found out about that kind of music from friends. The three Warp acts that inspired me the most in my early days of making music would probably be Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada & Plaid.
You’ve remixed an array of artists’ works – including BNJMN, one of the coolest artists of 2011 – whose work would you love to remix in 2012?
Well if the new D’Angelo LP finally comes out in 2012 (I gather this is sounding quite likely) that would be a dream to remix something from that (I gather that would be very unlikely though!).