INTERVIEW: Keith Kenny

Pic by Amiee Blasko

Hi Keith, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been doing well.  I’m very excited to have the new album out there now.  Thanks for inviting me into VENTS world!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Broken Misery”?

Definitely.  This tune was mostly inspired by a TOOL song called “Aenema” which I had been covering during the live show a few years ago. The melody is repetitive and trancey, the lyrics are dark and sad.  It’s one of my heavier tracks and has a great drive to it!  It’s a blend of the Nine Inch Nails industrial sound that I love with my style of percussive guitar playing and drum loops.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I was recently going through a divorce and so a lot of that was coming out in the songwriting.  “Broken Misery” was actually inspired by some lyrics that my friend Ian Luberecki jotted down while I was showing him the riff and the music.  He knew what I was going through at the time and was kind of channeling my energy.  It came together quickly, and I worked it out on stage for a while before I recorded it in the studio.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

It was really challenging.  The video crew that I was working with, Morning Editor Media, had found this underground location in NYC.   We were looking for something with an industrial vibe and this place had these giant wheels that used to power the first subway system.  It was perfect.  Once we made the decision to do it, the whole other challenge was getting our gear down there, filming it quick, fast, and in a hurry before getting caught.  We had to do it in stealth mode, but we pulled it off!

The single comes off your new album Lifetime Ago Motel – what’s the story behind the title?

Well, it stems from the title of a track called “A Lifetime Ago” which I think is a good summation of what the record is about.  It’s about experiences that happened in what feels like a past life being viewed with a new perspective.  The idea of adding the “MOTEL” to the title was to illustrate that it was only temporary.

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process was definitely cathartic for me and the recording was painstakingly slow.  There was a lot going on for me musically during the time because I was on the road a lot and taking on some other recording projects as a producer, so I was kind of working on it in the background.  Every now and then I would need to take a break from it because some of the material was pretty heavy.  It really took to the pandemic which brought all of that to a screeching halt and gave me some time to put the finishing touches on it. 

How did the domestic environment influence your writing?

I would say it was more of the lack of domestic environment that influenced this album.  All of it was written before the pandemic happened so there was a lot more going on which I think comes through in the different styles of genres and moods that the record illustrates.

What role does NJ play in your music?

New Jersey has always been my home base for music.  It was definitely not the easiest music scene to break into because there are so many talented musicians here, but I think it gave me some good work ethic in the beginning.  I feel lucky to be a part of the music community here and that keeps me inspired to keep working at it.  

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Most of these songs kind of poured out of me just because of what I was going through with the divorce and all.  It seemed almost impossible to write about anything else at the time so I would take a break and then come back to it.  I was hoping to find some different attitudes during the whole process so that it wasn’t a one-dimensional record.  Looking back on it now, I’m happy that I gave myself the time that I needed to write from different perspectives of that experience.   

How would you say this album changed you as a person?

I’d say that my overall perspective has been the most transformed during the whole process.  Before I was working on this album, I felt like I had everything under control and that is really just an illusion.  No matter how hard you try, life is going to throw some curveballs at you and I think your response to that is much more telling of who you are as a person.   

What else is happening next in Keith Kenny’s world?

I’m looking forward to playing some shows for REAL PEOPLE in REAL PLACES!  There are some outdoor events and limited capacity shows coming up over the summer.   It’s a little too soon to know if touring will be a possibility just yet but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.   I’m starting to hash some ideas out for some new songs so possibly another record in the works. 

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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