By Catalina Briceno
CALGARY – Billy Kenny has cemented his footing within the electronic dance music industry and is making waves with his solo work and his Hannover-based imprint, This Ain’t Bristol.
Kenny’s passion for music stems from an early age. At 16-years-old, Kenny was already booking venues and showcasing his vinyl spinning skills.
“I got into grime music really early and it was a huge thing at the time. I DJed for a lot of grime MCs and moved from that to speed garage. I went into bassline and tiny bit of dub, then to jacking house, into what I do now,” Kenny says.
Transitioning from heavy bass drops to rubbery basslines, Kenny was set to dominate dance floors and was presented an opportunity do so by starting a label through the This Ain’t Bristol event imprint in 2014.
“This Ain’t Bristol was This Ain’t Bristol before I became to be a part of it. I was the first international artist that they booked at the event. It was just a party…. I became really good friends with the crew and I moved over four months later and we collectively decided to start this record label,” Kenny clarifies.
Everyone involved with the label is from Germany, with the exception of Kenny, who hails from Leeds and Nick Hill, from Bristol.
Despite having international status now, it was a challenge to get people on board with their first project, a compilation featuring an impressive list of names including Ardalan, Abby Jane and Kyle Watson.
That same year, Kenny decided to chase after Dirtybird Records, where he immediately caught the attention of Barclay Crenshaw, also known as Claude VonStroke.
“The debut was April 2015, but [in] December 2014 I sent [Barclay] seven demos and he liked them all and maybe a month later he said, ‘Look I can definitely tell you’re going send me something that we’re going to go with, but I think these aren’t the ones.’ A week later, I wrote “I Operate,”” says Kenny.
It is no doubt that This Ain’t Bristol is influenced and inspired by Dirtybird. Kenny says the challenge is keeping the labels separate from his own work. The key to attaining that distinction is doing everything himself.
“I’m trying very hard at the moment to do everything myself. I’m not sampling anything, the vocals are my own, whether it sounds like me or not, it’s always my voice.”
His vocals can be heard in various tracks like “I Operate,” “Hula Hoop,” and “Das Ist Sick.” Kenny also reveals he has start to delve into singing and will experiment with that in the future. Currently, he just wrapped up the tracks, “The Trip Report,” “Hood Girl,” and an official remix of Claude VonStroke’s pounding, anthemic track “Barrump,” which will be released on the Dirtybird Campout compilation in October.
Although there is no word on a release date for his collaboration with Mija, Kenny reveals plans to accompany the track with a music video. He is also back in the studio with Motez, testing out possible tracks.
A plethora of those unreleased tracks were exhibited during his set at Shambhala Music Festival this year, which left attendees thirsting for more. Many on the popular event’s group page declared his set as the highlight of the weekend.
Although it won the hearts of many, Kenny has decided not to post the entirety of his set on SoundCloud, he will soon release a recap.
“We’re also talking about [doing something similar to Dirtybird Campout],” explains Kenny, referencing the three-day electronic festival in California.
He concludes thoughtfully, “I think first, we need to make sure that we have a nice stamp in the market to attack something like that.”
Catch a special five-hour-long set September 30 from Billy Kenny at the HiFi Club (Calgary).
Billy Kenny, DJ, HIFI Club, Musician