Q & A: Kelpe


Excepts from our interview with aquatic-obsessed British producer Kel McKeown, a.k.a. Kelpe.

Click here to read the full Kelpe feature, or download a pdf of XLR8R 116.

XLR8R: What is the ideal listening environment for your music?

Kelpe: Portable closed-cup headphones on a bus is good. Or any warm vehicle with a good stereo on a cold day.

What track are you most proud of on the new album?

The track “Whirlwound” is my favorite, hence it being the first proper track on the album. Although it is quite a simple melody, I really like what’s going on rhythmically, and I am pleased with the drum fills I did on that track, and the guitar that my friend Adam played.

Where is your studio located? What's the weirdest thing in there?

Currently, my studio is located right in my bedroom in Stoke Newington, London. The most unusual instrument I have is called a shruti box, a kind of Indian drone-machine squeezebox. Most recent acquisition is a little Moog–not very weird, but it can make some nice gnarly sounds and that’s why I love it.

What would be your dream band/act to open for?

I’m struggling to answer that one as I think it would be hard to open for anyone I respected too much–I would feel too belittled.

What's your favorite sea creature?

Dolphins are pretty amazing but everyone likes them. The stuff you see on Blue Planet that you get really, really deep down and look like aliens are amazing too, especially those that glow. As you can tell, I’m no expert.

Are you much of a folk fan? Do people have the wrong idea about folk?

Yeah I like some folk, especially from the Pentangle family. I have no idea what idea people have about folk–it’s trendy isn’t it?

What track or album changed the way you thought about music?

Maybe The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid opened me up to the idea of a different kind of music–completely beat-less and stretched out over long periods of time to wash over you in a subconscious way. Most of the stuff I listened to prior to this would really rely on beats to keep things moving and always demand your attention but this band (and many others of course) has the courage to discard all that.

What changed between your last album and this one, in terms of mood or process?

I tried to do something different with this album, without being too radical a departure from Sea Inside Body. It took me a long time to decide and get it done, so I’m sure there will have been big changes in mood. I think when I was making Sea Inside Body my slight lack of experience and perhaps confidence meant I had to keep the tracks quite neatly structured so I could keep control of them but I would like to thing I let things get a little more out of control at times on this new album.

When you were a teenager, what act did you fantasize about being in?

Probably the Beastie Boys, and then Pavement.

What is your weirdest habit?

At the moment, worst habit is Googling my album far too much and seeing what sites have it for free download. I shouldn’t get annoyed by it, as it just happens, but of course I do a bit.

What is your favorite flavor of crisps?

I quite like plain salt as long as they are nice and crispy.