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Keene talks about Panama and their new record on Cacao Records.

KEENE talks about Panama and their new release

KEENE is the duo formed by the brothers Lloyd and Kevin Keene, who since 2010 have become a referent for house and techno music in Panama.

The KEENE sound is clearly seductive and elegant, taking elements of Deep, House and Techno genres. That unique brotherly complicity is poured into what they do, with their combined musical and technical talents eliminating their possible weaknesses. Both are perfectionists that have found their personal way of making music, a process that is an organic as it is electronic, and you just have to see the dancing throng while they dj to understand it.

Besides managing Late Night Music’s roaster of shows in Panama, KEENE moved to Berlin to focus on their production. Currently settled their studio and headquarters at the prestigious Riverside Studios in the heart of Berlin’s creative district and started a Berlin-based label called Cacao Records. In 2018 they have embarked on a new club dedicated to electronic music at a basement of an old building in Panama City’s old town.

Connect with KEENE on Soundcloud | Website 

Hey KEENE, how are you, what’s good and bad for you right now?

 All good here, after one of us (Kevin) was away for the past four months, we are back together in Berlin and looking forward to the nice weather and to keep on working on pending projects. 

What’s the scene in Panama like – what are clubs like? What sounds are popular?

It is a very interesting one. We will definitely have to see how the impact of this pandemic will reshape it, but the best way to define it is an interesting one. Panama is a young country with a quite small population (3.5 Million), but with a great tradition of artists and music, so this has influenced and shaped the electronic music scene as well. We could say that after the corona crisis there are no clubs left. Some will emerge afterwards for sure, but as we speak, there are no clubs left. Sound wise, there are a few crews promoting Deep House, Organic House, others Minimal/Micro House, others promoting techno, but most of these niche events compared to what we see here in Europe are small. The big events tend to feature House and Techno with international artists.

How did you work together on this new ep – internet or real life?

Well first we (KEENE) did a demo version, then talked about it on the internet with Barbie, she liked what we had and she sent us some vocal parts. We added some new elements and then David Mayer took what we had and made the final version. We could say it was most through the internet. 

Who does what? What does each of you bring to the table?

In our case it really depends on the project. Lloyd usually works on the ideas and writing, while Kevin is taking care of the production side of things and finalizing the tracks. 

How different is it to make music with others vs just working as a pair? Does it bring out a different side in you?

Definitely! The most special thing after all these years is that we have been able to learn a lot with these collaborations. It has opened our eyes and ears to new ways of doing things, styles and more technical aspects of music making.

What inspired the new one Luna, Rojo y Palmera? 

The first draft was inspired by a late night walk in Bali earlier last year. But then things went in a different direction when we started evolving more people into the project.

Buy KEENE, David Mayer & Barbie Williams single “Luna, Rojo y Palmera” released on CACAO here

Tell us about your label Cacao – what is the musical vibe, what do you hope it might become?

We started the label almost 5 years ago with our brother and former partner Gonzo from Guatemala. Back then the concept was to release music that was made and focused on the dancefloor. Which has kept some of that essence till this day. Thus now it has evolved into a platform where we open up more freely on a creative level, even being sometimes part of the artwork process and how it’s going to be communicated. It reflects a lot on our style of musical selection when DJing since we love to choose from a wide array of genres when we perform. For us it’s also very important to work and connect with people we feel close to by their music taste or we already know each other. We hope that we can make more events in the near future and also to bring a bit more of a cheerful sound and vibes in the years to come.

What would you like to see change about the dance world once we all return?

It would be interesting to see, at least in countries like Panama, a different approach from the authorities and the society in general. The music scene in countries like ours survives despite the nonsense regulations and constant blockades coming from the authorities. If this could change, we could start building healthier scenes where artists can flourish. On a global level a more conscious and inclusive approach for the industry in general. This has been an issue for so long, but between all the noise it was more difficult to address. It has given time and the interest for action. 

What else you working on/have you got coming up?

A lot! Mostly new music. Both sides, on our own, and by other artists on the label. Also, a lot of collabs and remixes hehehe. But also a few new visual collaborations and events.

What are you most excited about once we can play and dance in clubs again?

To get lost in music on a proper soundsystem. To share with close friends, to dance, kiss each other and sweat. We kind of took for granted that we could see certain people so often. I guess that will be one of the most exciting things about being able to play again. Of course, with all this music we’ve made, it would also be beautiful to share it and see them enjoy themselves. 

 Thank you.


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