‘Dark cinematic chuggers’ | Interview with Klens

Techno as it should be. Despite the young of his age, Klens is a rising diamond and his new track Dance With Me is an omen of great things to come from him. Read our interview with the UK artist below!

Describe your sound in three words please!

Dark cinematic chuggers

How did you become engaged with music?

I was heavily involved with music from a young age. I learned to play the saxophone from around 8 years old and was involved in swing bands and orchestras whilst at school. However, during my teenage years I lost interest in playing music because I felt that the saxophone wasn’t all that cool (something I definitely regret now). It wasn’t until I was around 19 or 20 that I discovered electronic music production. I initially started making very rough club edits for a few DJ sets by syncing two songs in Traktor and recording the outcome. This got me interested in what else was possible and I bought a DAW to see what was what.  Over the past 7 years my interest in music production waxed and waned until about 3 years ago when I started to make a concerted effort to improve my skills and develop my sound.

Dance With Me is characterised by a dark atmosphere. What was your inspiration for the song?

The song has always been based around the vocals in the track that say ‘dance with me’ and ‘be with me’. The original idea was meant to be a short interlude or intro for an album I was trying to create at the time. In that original project, the vocals were swimming in heavy granular processing. I found the semantics of the phrases were in complete juxtaposition to the haunting atmosphere I had created, it was really eerie and gave what should be quite inviting statements an ominous twist. I actually didn’t revisit that project for about another year or two as the album I was working on never amounted to much. Fast forward to me purchasing my first eurorack modules and I was in need of material to mangle. Those vocal samples were some of the first I put through it and after some tweaking I came up with the morphing vocal loop that became the main feature of the track.

How do you feel about collaborations? Is there an artist you’d like to work with?

I am all for collaborations, I think they’re a valuable part of learning. There is something about working with someone else on a shared project that opens your eyes to new techniques and different ways of doing things. It’s very easy to get stuck in your ways in music production, especially if you don’t have somebody to bounce ideas off. Something I like to do is swap samples with other artists on Instagram and see if we can come up with a short idea to post as a video. Having someone else determine the starting point for a musical idea makes you think about things in a completely different way. I’ve found myself using techniques I would never normally use when creating alone. If I had to pick one dream collaboration it would probably be Akkord, they have massively influenced my taste in dark electronic music.

What should we expect from you in the near future? Are you focused solely on techno or do you play with other genres too?

I like to work on a variety of genres, I’ve found that my ideas begin to stagnate if I make one genre for too long so I try and switch it up as much as possible. The counterpart to the Dance With Me release, Saber is an example of my (even) more experimental side. It’s a short, minimal track that it is centred around the accumulation and dissipation of distortion and noise. Apart from that, my current works in progress include a deep, minimal dubstep track, more experimental/abstract pieces and my take on a reggaeton beat.

You mention that Dance with Me is set at 100 bpm. It works for us perfectly. However, are you concerned that it may not be dj set friendly?

Given its origins as a soundscape/interlude, I never planned for the track to be played in a dj set. Whilst it definitely has club elements, I find that I’ve always struggled to write techno-style tracks at a fast bpm. There’s something about the lack of space between the kicks which I just can’t seem to click with. I’ve always been better at making dubstep style tracks but always wanted to be able to make techno. It’s only recently that I’ve found this sweet-spot at around 100 bpm where I can use four to the floor kick drums but still incorporate those intricate sound design elements that require a bit more space to be heard.

What is your favourite album from the previous year?

Although it’s different to the music I make, Gidge – New Light has to be my favourite album from the previous year. The production quality and emotion in all the tracks is sublime. I’m a big fan of euphoric electronic music. Artists like Jon Hopkins, Moderat and Rival Consoles are some others who have shaped my taste in music over the years.

How would you describe the Nottingham music scene? Apart from London, which other places in the UK do you appreciate in terms of good music concentration?  

My experience with the Nottingham music scene has been relatively limited given I only came here to do my post-grad studies. There’s a night called Wigflex which is a stalwart of the scene here and they put on consistently good parties. I have to shout-out my hometown of Manchester for it’s incredible scene. Nights like Zutekh and Micron were some of the first parties I ever want to, along with the now closed Sankeys club. Since then, newer nights like High Hoops have taken on the mantle and are leading the way. I highly recommend going to one of their events if you ever get the chance!

Thanks Klens!

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