Saturday, 28 January 2012

Colin Kennedy

As Blueprint pro, father, husband and Nike SB team manager, Colin Kennedy keeps himself busy. He can put up with drunk people like a champ, is ridiculously down for skateboarding and has always got something interesting in his headphones. It seemed appropriate we should take the time to find out exactly what...

What's your favourite video overall, for music?
Easy. Video Days. Short video and completely to the point. Classic tracks - Coltrane, Black Flag, Dinosaur, Milk... They broke the mould on that one. However, it was Spike Jonze's magnum opus in skateboarding, so of course it was good.

Have you got a least favourite, not including the Rhythm video?
Easy, any recent video that chose to not licence music and just took the first thing they could get their hands out without licence and completely missed the point about what makes a skate video. If you're not a big company, take the risk on the music, it'll most probably be worth it.

Did the first skateboard videos you watched influence your listening preferences?
Absolutely. More often than not we would have dubs of skate video soundtracks direct to analogue cassette from the VHS copy, with the skate sounds included. This was my listening preference, but to come back to the question, it certainly guided me towards punk and hip-hop, because more often than not that was what was used on skate videos.

Is there a song you play in your head to get you hyped when you're trying something?
I don't try so many things anymore, but when I do the main thing my brain is doing is a  basic risk assessment. Last time I can actually remember a track fully influencing a trick I was trying was actually at the Berrics. It was Slayer playing and I ended up cracking my canister on the floor. We turned the music off after that.

What's your favourite album of all time, and why?
This is impossible to answer but in a Desert Island Discs style, I'd like to proffer that Brian Eno's 'Another Green World' ticks a hell of a lot of boxes.

What's your earliest musical memory?
The Alan Parsons Project - 'The Turn Of A Friendly Card'. My Dad owned it and used to play it quite frequently and hence so did I, as I got a little older. So many recordings that are vivid memories to me from the past are synth-based or have some sort of electronic influence.

What was the first album you bought with your own money?
The Communards - 'Communards'. I think my sister convinced me to buy it as she had already spent her money on another record. It grew on me. The synth influence was always there and it has stayed with me.

What's your favourite album art?
Public Enemy - 'Yo! Bum Rush the Show'.

What are you listening to just now?
Lately, some of the Berghain techno, Marcel Dettman. Some of the podcasts at Resident Advisor, Martyn, Mike Huckaby. East Village Radio was a great tip off from Mackey. That's a completely random station from NYC so it's often nice to not make a choice and have a freeform listening session. Caribou's 'Swim' Album is still a favourite and is still on steady play.

Do you get to buy much stuff on tour?
All the time, but digitally. I rarely go into music shops and no longer have any nostalgia for physical formats; files are good for me for the time-being, and a lot easier to manage. I use the phone to download podcasts and music when I'm on the move, and it's still a trip to me that this technology is so readily available. Pick up a song over the air whilst at the airport? Beautiful and seamless technology.

What do you think about the composed-soundtrack thing for skate videos? Was the Mark Jackson stuff an early example of that?
It depends to what extent someone might take it to, and the context. More often than not the celebrated scored videos haven't got me too excited. I'm from the old school of thought on working the footage 'round a great song. Mark Jackson was a close associate of Blueprint so it was a natural progression to get him involved in things in the past, but I wouldn't say it was scoring akin to other such videos, like 'The End', for example.

Do you start getting a song in your head for a section when you're filming, or does that come after?
Not at all. Magee has always been a pessimist with a vision, concept and idea for a video but he would never be public about these decisions until the bulk of the footage was in the bag. You were filming up 'til you were about 70% of a part then you might be able to talk music. It was an ingrained mindset.

Blueprint has a really strong identity despite - unlike some other companies - being 'associated' with any type of music. How do you reckon this was achieved?
Dan's aspiration to just get it right and make the videos palatable and interesting. It was a cohesive vision but the brand is communicated through the diversity of the team riders. I think the team brought a lot of those influences to the plate, and we all travelled and spent a lot of time together filming those videos, so each of our tastes and influences would cross pollinate and naturally Dan picks up on those influences.

Anything coming out soon you're excited about?
I would say the new Shed album. I don't buy many full techno releases anymore but I have always picked up his long players as they seem to have that re-visitable album quality to them and a good palette of sounds and dynamics.

What was your first gig?
It would be hard to pinpoint the actual one. There was a time when there was a rash of gigs going through Glasgow and that was perhaps the most memorable time, more so than any particular gig. Fugazi, PE, Beastie Boys, Rollins Band. Stereotypical skate sounds of the time but dynamite gigs.

What gig in history do you wish you could have been at?
I really never thought I had this nostalgia in me until recently. I was watching the Stone Roses press release interview about their Heaton Park 'reunion' gigs next year and although I am a fan of the first album, their gigs were notoriously a shambles or complete pish, but it did get me to thinking there are so many great bands that I listen to now that are in most cases not together or around anymore. Such an example would be Sabbath at the height of their career.

What's the best gig you've been to?
House of Pain, Cypress Hill and Funkdoobiest at the Barrowlands in Glasgow. Not so much for the music but for the insane Glasgow crowd and the chaos and atmosphere in there. They have an expression in Scotland for this - 'the place wis jumpin'. Absolute dynamite, tension and noise.

Do you go to clubs?
Rarely, I would go more given the chance; but I love to if the music is to my liking. Just rare to find someone in my generation who's still down to go. I can still throw down to the early hours. 

What's happening with the music you do just now?
It's in a perpetual state of flux in my computer. Same old same old. Nothing new there. 

What's your favourite band/label t-shirt?
Always has to be the 'DK' Dead Kennedys logo. Classic.

What band do you wish you could have been in?
Iron Maiden, mainly for the tours. They have their own private passenger jet that Bruce Dickinson flies with the whole crew and stage set. Absolute insanity. 

Anything you'd like to recommend?
To never disregard the importance of challenging and 'different' music. Without it, there is no music.

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