K.E.E.N.E. (Cacao)

by the partae
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Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
That’s a bit complicated at the moment hahaha… Technically we are based in Berlin, but we are spending most of the time in our Hometown Panama because of a new club we are about to open. Here the scene here is super interesting, young and new in a very small country, with a lot talented people and a cool crowd who likes to party.

How did you first get into music and what brought you to the point of being label head for Cacao?
The journey is long. Specially because we are just two guys, each with their own paths. Our project together started in 2010, and our main drive was to play the music we love, create the events and venues that would make us feel comfortable expressing ourselves. The Record Label came later also as part of the artistic expression. We started the project with our brother Gonzo-Gonzo from Guatemala as a Central American label based in Berlin; Looking to release music that would fit on a dancefloor from our point of view. Music we would actually play. A very simple plan, but more than that, transparent and honest.

Originally being from Panama how did you come to be also based in Berlin?
Well its kind of interesting. Maybe we should ask backwards, how not?? After many years of working hard trying to push forward our career and the local scene, we also spent many years going to Berlin during summer, so we felt it was the right move. If we wanted to grow and learn we had to, and it proved to be the right move in every sense. Also on a personal level.

You have a studio in Berlin, please describe the setup, instruments/programs/equipment used?
We don’t have the studio in Berlin anymore. Here the setup is more or less like a travel setup: Infinite amounts of pluggins, a Maschine MK3 + a Komplete Kontrol S25 + a Isla Kbot. Mostly Ableton and Native Instruments Software.

How is this studio space usually operated?
For now we do most of the things separately. Before one of us would start with an idea, then we would have an arrangement session together. Then one of us does the mixing, then send it for a final mixdown to an engineer. Most would happen in the main stations because everything was really well located close to it. Maybe not the big KS64 but that was not the usual tool for note input, so everything was mostly done in the main station.

In the last 2 years you have had great names on the label such as You, Zombies In Miami, Tigerskin, Mathias Kaden and more.. How do you usually come to work with different artists?
Most of them are friends or friends of friends. At this point its easier since we already have some background and catalog they can check.

What do you look for when selecting artists to work with?
Mainly we try to choose artists we admire and play often, sometimes just ideas that come across from gigs together, but mostly is just from artists we normally play and admire in general.

Your 2nd anniversary release ‘ There’s Always Cacao In Exotic Places Vol. 2’. Including tracks by Tigerskin, And.Id, Sosandlow, Boot Slap, K.e.e.n.e., Los Cabra, Cali Lanauze and Jonny Cruz, this release comes out on 14th September 2018. What did you look for in each track when compiling this compilation? 
The general line of the A&R is to deliver a dancefloor tutti frutti, quality first, but depending where and when, this is music we should be able to play all year long. On top of that we’ve been able to get some gems from heroes and friends.

How did Cacao start and what is your intention for the label for the future?
As mentioned before, we were a couple of friends who wanted to release dance-floor oriented music from their point of view. Mainly as part of our artistic expression. We feel “The Future is Now” so we want to put more effort on making more showcases here and there, start to get more on time with the release delivery dates and general MGMT of the label. Nothing too fancy to be honest. Maybe 2020 will be more interesting and wild, you’ll have to ask again then 😉

What do you like to do outside of music?
Kevin is into Skateboarding while Lloyd is into Football and reading nerd stuff. But there’s not much time for too many things outside of music.

Who are you listening to at the moment?
It’s kind of late here, but have been listening a lot lately to Skalpel and Martin, Medeski and Woods.

What do you have planned for the remainder of 2018/2019?
Mostly gigs, our next EP on Cacao Records, something coming out on Culprit LA, launching the Silo Club here in Panama and that’s it. Hopefully we’ll manage to finish some records for the first half of 2019.

Favourite food and place to hangout?
Lloyd: Asian + in Berlin I like to ride the bike around the river in Rummelsburg, here in Panama I tend to find myself a lot at a bar called El Apartamento.
Kevin: Asian and in Berlin I remember spending lots of nights at a bar called Primitiv with my best friend Faidra, very close to were I live. This was in winter though. In summer I enjoy going to parks and lakes around the city. In Panama I like to go to beaches, rivers and mountains on my free time, always looking for new spots to visit since its a very small country.

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