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Alex Kennon on his Ibiza residencies and music production

The resident of Mosaic and Labyrinth at Pacha plus opening for Solomun + LIVE speaks of his path.

Having secured two major residencies on the island, Alex Kennon is making quite a name for himself, both as a DJ and a producer. Holding residencies at both Mosaic and Labyrinth at Pacha this year, he is also opening for Solomun + LIVE at Destino on the first and final dates. All this before he turns 30. We sat down with him to hear about his ascent and how he got to where he is.

Alex has come quite a way from Barletta, a small beautiful town in a lovely corner of Italy, to playing multiple parties on Ibiza. In less than a decade, the Italian-born, Spanish-living Alex Kennon has transformed his passion and knowledge of classical music into an electronic music living and lifestyle.

As we sat down in one of the prettiest spots on the island, La Calma in Marina Botafoch, I could not but stand amazed by the humility and poise with which he carries himself.

Starting with his two residencies, Alex classifies Mosaic as "a musical cult, really," a party that "explores, pushes and reaches the limits of Ibiza." This party brings the music to people who like it or want to learn about it. At Mosaic, he continued, the "super line-up is composed of artists you do not see all the time but are excellent and touring the world."

With Labyrinth, it is a whole different story, "anyone can appreciate the very fresh concept by Hot Since 82." Here the very solid line-up has a 360-degree view of electronic music. The party started this year and has been successful from the start, even the weeks coinciding with Sonar Festival in Barcelona.

Alex moved away from Italy when he was 22 years old. Having lived in Spain for the past seven years, he has spent the last six on Ibiza for the most part and the winters in Barcelona. As he reminisced about the massive sound system with which his father would blast music, uncaring of the grumbling neighbours, it became clear that this passion developed within him when he was still a child.

His first Ibiza memory arriving at the port was when he was mistaken for a woman. He was 23 and ½ then and already had his signature long hair. As he walked ahead of his friend, a promoter for Cadenza, Alex was mistaken for his friend's his wife from the back, just to then see Alex turn around.

Within months of moving to Ibiza, he got his first gig on the island at Bubbles on Thursday. After a few months, he was already playing at Ushuaïa Ibiza on the island then directly at Privilege in 2013 followed by a residency at Pacha on Friday nights with Insane. Within five years, he had played all around Ibiza.

Having played most places on the island, he now aspires to the garden at DC10, one of his favourites because "that place is the atomic bomb with its atmosphere," as well as the Terrace at Amnesia.

Alex Kennon is not only a DJ, however, but also a very accomplished producer. Last month on 23 June, his newest tune Dr Beat was released on Get Physical presents Ibiza 2017.

The track brings together his past and current lives, presenting the sounds of Ibiza with a sample from Italy with the voice of a famous Italian game show host, Iva Zanicchi. You would not notice unless you know.

Two more tracks dropped last Friday on Bedrock, the very important label brainchild of John Digweed. Having sent John lots of music throughout the years, Alex was very excited when the last two were immediately picked up.

A very trippy melodic techno Sensual takes you on a journey, Alex dropped both of them for the first time at Labyrinth that same Friday.

His diverse background and eight years of classical guitar lessons provide the strong foundation on which he bases his music today. While he regrets leaving it behind, he is now studying piano, blues and jazz to be specific, which continues to inform his productions.

As a single shoe floated in the water of the marina, the victim of who knows what kind of carousing the night before, I asked Alex to describe his musical style. Alex does not consider it an easy question. Even though his style remains the same, some details change depending on the set, night, crowd and venue. Nevertheless, he is glad to tackle it as it pushes him to understand.

He likes movement above all, with elements of acid and old school. More than progressive, his music is often groove-trippy. Although he likes to play that style, he ends up doing so only half the time, alternating between house and techno.

What he can say is that his music style is far from mainstream tech house, "not the tracks with vocals in the drop, even though the dancefloor loves such tracks because they are easy." Alex goes for another level, always aiming to construct bigger things.

He builds his sets by comparing the reactions of the different crowds, "I understand if a track goes well by playing it and testing it on the dancefloor, although I can usually guess beforehand, too." He never plans his sets, preferring to keep them spontaneous, but chooses 150 tracks on Fridays and plays with them from memory.

So how does he choose them? By trying new and old, "the old because what is supposed to be recovered are the old things" and the new from the promos he constantly receives: "Most of the promos I receive are no good. One out of 10 is the bomb." These days "anyone can just cross loops and attach them, and although it can be a strong record that even reaches first place on the charts, technically it is nothing."

One of the most exciting parts of the summer is playing at Destino opening for Solomun + LIVE. While he has played there before he had never done so alongside Solomun whom he always considered a legend. Then, he continued, "things interweave so you feel like the conjunction of energy makes things happen."

"Destino is like a bonbonniere. It's a pity one cannot party there every day, but it may be more elusive and authentic this way, having only limited dates and making each one all the more special."

Having already played for the opening of the four Destino dates, he had been looking forward to the beautiful experience. "Destino is like a bonbonniere. It's a pity one cannot party there every day, but it may be more elusive and authentic this way, having only limited dates and making each one all the more special."

His favourite time of the year is the end of April, beginning of May plus the end of September. “I'm always searching, all year I am the kind of person who always wants to find something new and experiment."

Alex spends most of the year travelling. This year he travelled every weekend. One of the highlight of 2017 was his BPM experience going B2B with Ryan Crosson, one of his fave selectors, "playing with him was a great thing."

He would love to play with Dixon, but, he continued, "I would have to lock myself away for a month brainstorming because it would not be easy to play after him and his super selective records." Besides Dixon, his favourites are "Adam Beyer technically, Maceo Plex as a producer and Hot Since 82 for his way of expressing strength, joy, cheerfulness and the overall way that he transmits music, as well as Nic Fanciulli, who is also a dear friend."

When asked about a life-changing moment, something that changed him and his life direction, how he is inside, he said, "Being away from my family changed me. In Italy, family is very important, but you find that out also at a distance, gaining strength with whatever little time there is available."

Alex tries to stop by Italy, even if only for a layover, as much as possible, often five or six times a year but still finds that it is not much compared to being close to them every day: "You realise that they age, like all of us, and you lose many things, stories, situations, so need to do something to live the moment and spend as much time as possible with them now instead of regretting later."

"Like a swing, one goes back and forth, but it is important to always be oneself. I learned because being the copy of someone doesn't take you anywhere and is futile. Then if you can assert who you are, people will recognise as such."

The most important thing that he learned in his career is "to respect people, be humble with those who are humble with you and not with those who aren't. Respect is being humble and working hard. Like a swing, one goes back and forth, but it is important to always be oneself. I learned because being the copy of someone doesn't take you anywhere and is futile. Then if you can assert who you are, people will recognise as such."

As for his greatest aspiration, he doesn't really have one, except perhaps "always to learn, advance and grow."

Alex Kennon has played dozens of dates this summer. The rest of the summer he continue to play alongside Hot Since 82 at Labyrinth on Friday 18 August with Maya Jane Coles and Ida Engberg, on 22 September with Adam Beyer & Ida Engberg & La Fleur and on 29 September with Danny Tenaglia and Art Department.

For his Mosaic by Maceo, you can catch him on Tuesday 12 September with Adam Beyer and Daniel Avery, on 26 September with Maceo Plex, DJ Koze, Red Axes and Pearson Sound.

You can also catch Alex the closing date of Solomun + LIVE on 5 October ahead of Solomun and Recondite.

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