Insomniac’s Metronome series features mixes from some of today’s fastest-rising electronic stars, as well as championed legends. It takes listeners deep across a wide range of genres, movements, cultures, producers, artists and sounds that make up the diverse world of electronic music.
In the minds of every serious dance music enthusiast out there, the UK is considered to be somewhat of a holy place where niche subgenres start out as tiny ripples and eventually turn into tidal waves that wash over regions in the farthest reaches from their origins. Seattle, Washington, is a considerable distance away; yet somehow, a 15-year-old Kendoll managed to get turned on to the naughty nature of UK garage and grime.
The foreign-born beats she stumbled upon were reason enough for her to try her own hand at DJing. One thing led to another, and she would quickly outgrow those unassuming stomping grounds and later decide to relocate to Los Angeles. Surrounded by a thriving underground, she made significant headway straight out of the gate by diving directly into music production at Icon Collective, a fast-paced program where future stars are seemingly made on an assembly line.
Armed with a network of like-minded homies, a certified mentor to show her the ropes, and a burning passion for taking low-end heat to the dancefloor, Kendoll had every tool at her disposal to become the next “it” thing to hit the L.A. house scene. Even though her story is still unfolding as we speak, with Night Bass, Psycho Disco!, and Audiophile releases already stacked up under her name, it’s safe to say she’s not too far from living out her wildest dreams.
Every year around this time, Kendoll likes to get into the spirit of Halloween with a mix that falls very much in line with the dark and dank vibes that exist year-round in her own productions. She was kind enough to let Insomniac snatch up the next installment for our Metronome series, doubling as an introduction to the type of head-splitting grooves that will make Kendoll your next obsession.
For those who haven’t had a chance to get to know you yet, please break down what Kendoll is all about.
Kendoll is about pushing the boundaries of house music. I try to stray from the cookie-cutter house music sound, and as my skills progress, I plan to push the boundaries even wider. A lot of my influence comes from UK-style grime and garage, and I try to incorporate that into my own sound as much as possible.
When did you first realize music was a path you wanted to pursue, and how long did it take you to fully commit to this lifestyle?
I was about 15 years old. I attended my first rave, and I realized that whatever it was that I was doing, I wanted it to be in the electronic music scene. I always felt like I had a good ear for music when I was younger, so I started DJing, and I caught myself creating songs in my head and wishing I was able to put my thoughts into reality. I got Ableton, and was able to form cohesive tracks shortly after, but found myself wanting to be fully educated on anything and everything music production. One day, I decided to fully dedicate my life to music, moved down to L.A., graduated from Icon Collective, and have been grinding every day since then.
Who are some of the artists you consider to have had the biggest impact on your sound? Are there any tracks in particular that made you want to start producing?
I remember when I was about 18 years old, I was surfing YouTube, looking for new dubstep tracks to play out (I used to DJ dubstep), and I found a Jack Beats track. I don’t entirely recall which one, but I ended up going down a rabbit hole of UK garage, finding tracks from Cause & Affect, AC Slater, etc. That’s when I really knew my direction. It’s cool to me now, because I have the honor of releasing on the same label as my idols.
What advantages were you granted as an Icon Collective graduate that you might not have otherwise had?
The connections and relationships you build at Icon Collective make up about 50 percent of the best part of that program. I gained relationships with my teachers and had the pleasure of working with other students and learning their tricks. It’s funny, because everyone has a little bag of tricks when it comes to Ableton, and you get to make yours bigger by working with others. You learn everything there, from sound design to creative psychology. It also is such an inspirational atmosphere to be around others who are just as passionate as you are; it really motivates you to work harder.
Have you had any mentors or colleagues who have been instrumental to your upward trajectory?
Petey Clicks from Night Bass was my favorite mentor I’ve ever had. He really helped me grow into the artist I am today; he taught me a lot about the music industry and having patience with my career. He also taught me some really cool, simple tricks when it comes to producing house tracks that I live by when I’m working on my music. He’s always there to listen to anything I’m working on and give great feedback.
You’ve already landed releases on quality labels like Night Bass, Psycho Disco!, Tons & Tons, and more. Which of your tracks are you most proud of?
I really liked my “Stop Calling Me” track, because I thought it was funny. Also, I love conceptual music (the phone-ringing noise and what not). I had a blast making “This Feeling” and “Rabbit Hole” on my Psycho Disco! releases. Those tracks really just flowed for me, and it was fun dipping into the funkier, tech-house side of things.
You’re currently on the road with 219 Boys, Grensta, Tombz, and Wood Holly for the No Boundaries Tour. What has been your favorite stop so far?
We have a couple more stops coming up, but I have to say, the Seattle stop took the cake by far. I may be biased because it’s my hometown, but we got the honor of playing at the Monkey Loft, and I got to play on the rooftop stage with a beautiful view of downtown Seattle. It was really a great night, and it was so cool to see all my hometown supporters. I absolutely love touring with those boys, by the way.
Tell us about the mix you’ve put together.
This will be the third mix I’ve put out for Halloween. I absolutely love this time of year. I really thrive when it comes to spooky house bangers, too, so it just works perfectly. I’ve got about three unreleased tracks on there coming out on a pretty cool label at the beginning of next year, along with some unreleased stuff from Tombz, Dillon Nathaniel, and a couple other of my favorite artists. The intros and outros of these mixes I have a blast with, as well!
What do you enjoy most about Halloween? Do you have a particular childhood memory that really stands out from the rest?
I’m a pretty big horror fan. I love unsettling/spooky/gory films and haunted houses and whatnot—also, just the season of fall in general. It’s always been that way for me. I grew up in Seattle, and this time of year is so beautiful and cozy.
What can we expect from you next?
I have quite a few shows coming up in November and some unannounced shows in December, as well. I can’t say much about the labels I’m releasing on here in the next couple of months quite yet, but definitely keep an eye out. I will be having a steady release schedule coming out here in the next couple of months, so be sure to check my SoundCloud!
- Kendoll Metronome Mix Track List
Kendoll – ID
The Sunday Club, Zendlo “Heavy Metal” (VNSSA & Eric Mark House2DNB Flip)
Kendoll – ID
Jack Beats “Roast”
Kendoll “Stop Calling Me”
Distinkt “Kung Fu Kick”
ID – ID
ID – ID
Hot Goods “Pursuit”
Cause & Affect, Taiki Nulight “Bad Boy”
Flava D “Pick Pocket”
No Hopes “I Don’t Trust”
JAXX DA FISHWORKS, Shinichi Osawa “1995”
Wongo “Right Now”
Synch Buton “Horns N Bass”
Kendoll – ID
Taiki Nulight “No Attention”
Chris Lorenzo “Foot & Mouth” (Zero Remix)
TS7 “Motion Shift” (AC Slater Remix)
Dillon Nathaniel “Riot”
DJOKO, Thalo Santana “Flow Gravity”