We catch up with one of the stars of the flourishing Israeli prog scene, Khen, as he releases another acclaimed EP on the legendary Sudbeat label.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us!
1. We last caught up with you back in 2014, just as ‘Highway of Regrets’ had created a stir and a bit before your first Sudbeat EP, and now you’re back with another one. What have been some of the highlights of the past two years for you?
That’s a tough question. There are a lot of things I’m very happy about. The ‘Sweet Breakup’ EP on Sudbeat that you mentioned is one, my debut release on Lost & Found, ‘Secret Shining’ and my EP on microCastle, ‘Pollen Spreader’, that had a huge remix from Luca Baccheti, were also big for me. Gig-wise the Lost & Found showcase at ADE was super cool and my first visit to Argentina, were I got to play Bahrein, was insane. Such an amazing and passionate crowd in that country.
2. You recently got to meet the legendary Jean-Michel Jarre – can you tell us a bit about how that happened, and what it meant to you? How do you think his work has influenced contemporary electronic music?
He was in Israel for some meeting with my older brother and stopped by a school where I teach, BPM Collage, in Tel Aviv. True honour to meet a true legend like that and such a nice guy too. Very cool to meet someone like that who’s been and still is such a huge inspiration to so many people in electronic music.
3. Like Argentina, Israel is currently one of those places that seems to have a really strong crop of close-knit producers – including the likes of yourself, Chicola, Lonya, Sahar Z, and of course the Guys. Why do you think there is such a concentration of talent in Israel at the moment?
Yeah man, they’re such talented producers and DJs but first and foremost really great friends. Being able to have that kind of talent a text or call away is really a blessing.
Why we have so much talent is really tough to say, but I think I’d chalk it up to the type of warm people Israelis are. We like a good party and the kind of vibe we have here fits nicely with melodic music.
Thanks a lot for those kinds words. I really appreciate it.
‘Secret Shining’ was kind of a love song. That’s the kind of emotion that inspired me when I did that one. For the microCastle EP I already had both B-sides done . For ’Pollen Spreader’, I wanted to use a warm, analogue sound and was inspired by one of my favourite synths that I have in the studio.
‘Emergency Routine’ was made after an incredible show I had in New Caledonia. It’s in the South Pacific and is basically a group of 12 or so islands. Needless to say I came back home with a lot of inspiration.
The lead track ‘Sunflakes’ is really a typical Khen track that really showcase what my style is all about. Melodic and super groovy.
5. You’ve been involved in some amazing collaborations in the past couple of years, including the likes of Guy Mantzur, Sahar Z, and Sonic Union. How do you find the process of working with someone else in the studio different from working by yourself, and which do you prefer?
I find it really interesting and inspiring to work with others. I usually have two different approaches depending on who I work with.
For instance, when I work with Sahar or Mantzur we always sit together in the studio. We do everything together. With others I prefer to send stems back and forth but both approaches have pros and cons and their own unique magic.
6. Do you have any more collaborations in the pipeline?
I have a really big project that I’m working on that I’m announcing at the end of the summer. That will have some really big collaborations.
7. Your first original release of 2016 has just seen the light of day – an EP for Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat called ‘Never Lose Your Innocence’ EP. Can you tell us a bit about the EP?
The ’Never Lose Your Innocence’ EP as a whole really makes up everything that I really feel connected to in dance music right now. On one side it’s very melodic and emotionally charged, and on the other is also combines a certain sense of funk and tech groove. I think the mixture between the two really represents me and my style well. The feedback on both, the lead track in particular, has been so great and I’m happy so many people I really respect support it.
8. Of the remixes you’ve done so far in your career, which is your favourite?
That’s like picking your favourite child! I have two that really stand out to me and that I like to this day. One is the Hernan Cattaneo & Soundexile remix and the other is ‘Natural Fear’ for Interaxxis that I worked on with Sahar. Thinking about it I there’s one I did with Mantzur for Nikko Z that feels special too so include that one as well.
9. If you could remix any track whatsoever, what would you choose?
Push – Universal Nation. Classic old school Trance banger.
10. Do you listen and find inspiration in genres of music other than progressive/techno/electronica? If so, what kinds of things do you listen to?
Pink Floyd and Rodriquez.
11. Where are some of your favourite places to DJ, and where can people catch you playing over the next few months?
Argentina and Budapest. I just came back home from a mini-tour in Argentina. I played B2B with Sahar at Bahrein in Buenos Aires and Dorian Gray in Cordoba. Had the best time ever and the vibe was crazy. Best crowd in the world!
In Israel I love the Monochrome parties that happen every year. This year it’s Guy Gerber, Ellen Allien plus me and Guy J B2B headlining. I also have a bi-monthly residency at a place called Aria Lounge in Tel Aviv. Super nice intimate space. Come through if you’re in town!
12. What can we look forward to from Khen in the remainder of 2016?
After the remix for Dousk & Jorgio Kioris and the Sudbeat EP I’m giving a really big track out for free that I made recently. I want to give back to the fans for supporting me. More info on that soon. After that it’ll be time to share more details about my big project that I mentioned before that has been taking up most of my time.
Great, thanks again! Khen’s ‘Never Lose Your Innocence’ EP is out this week on Sudbeat, and you can pick it up here.
Stay in touch with Khen: