intriguing interviews (#II009): ‘Londy’
it’s midweek, two days to go, then the weekend can officially start. as most of us are sharin’ the same thought by gettin’ back home earlier than 5 pm, it’s the after-work joy that engulfs you on your spot of labor. the jauntiness that is mesmerizin’ your thoughts, the flabbergastin’ cogitation, the drink, the meal, the moment of refreshment.
speakin’ of it, we’d like to present you your refreshment, your coke, your glass of wine, with this episode of the ‘intriguing interviews’-anthology.
this time, we had the pleasure to have a talkfest with one of our most favourite artists right now, whose music let’s you forget about any stressful thought that you had from 9 till 5 & takes you in aural spheres that your body was lookin’ for.
yes, folks, we’re talkin’ about full-time virtuoso ‘Londy’ & his popsicle-meltin’ creations. as we started to reminisce about how we have stumbled over this gifted individual, we had our next jaw-dropping moment while (re)-perusin’ his discography.
after that, we knew that we had take the opportunity to exchange some thoughts with Akeem around the perception of artistry, the influence of japanese footwork on his music & his goals for the future.
besides, we had the chance to take a look on his other main projects, such as his ‘Footwurk: The Legacy’-documentary, which is dedicated to the Chicago underground dance culture (more about that later), as well.
such a talented bloke, people. ok, enough with the introduction, let us start the talkfest:
as we first stumbled over you & your music, we were in a state of awe, which does not happen that often. but why? one reason could be your approach on the sound design, another one the pithy usage of the vocal chops. yet, as some might not have found about you, would you mind to introduce yourself to the audience?
of course, but first i want to thank you for taking the time out to interview me. I really appreciate it. my name is Akeem Pennicooke aka ‘Londy’. i’m a music producer, filmmaker and game designer living in Boston, Massachusetts. i work as a motion graphic designer for a small creative ad agency. in my free time, i like to tell stories and smile.
cheeerio. Akeem, as we were listenin’ to your stuff lately again, there was always the same question that popped off our head, how in the world did all this start? could you tell us a bit about your first approach to the realm of music? has it been a coincidence or were you determined to cross each other paths?
well, i grew up in Jamaica so all i really ever listened to or heard was reggae and dub from the 90’s. sometimes i would hear ‘Whitney Houston’ and some 90’s pop songs from the USA.
around 1999, i moved from Montego Bay, Jamaica to the US, but i don’t remember the type of music i listened to when I got here.
fast forward to 2007-2009. i moved from Miami, Florida to Cleveland, Ohio. me and my brother were huge fans of ‘The Grand Theft Auto’-series so we played it all the time. i used to listen to the radio station in the game called ‘MSX 98 FM’.
i didn’t know what a mix was or what jungle or drum & bass was until i heard ‘Omni Trio’ and his piece ‘Renegade Snares’. i was like ‘what the fuck is this?’ so, i did my research and found out that ‘Omni Trio’ (aka Robert Haigh) is a producer/composer that played a major role in the UK jungle / drum & bass-scene.
from that day, me and my brother Junior (aka ‘King Challice’) set up a sound system in our uncles basement and started mcing over drum & bass, jungle, and grime tracks, as well as reggae. i used to mimic ‘MC Det’ and my brother mimicked ‘MC Skibadee’ but he also wrote and sang his own music.
those were some good times. i remember trying to mix drum & bass with two dvd players and a ‘Gemini Disco Mixer Model DAC X-2000’.
in the end, i stuck to making beats, because i was a shit mc. my brother is actually the one who gave me the nickname ‘DJ Londy’. i dropped the ‘DJ’, because i didn’t know how to deejay at the time. so yeah, ‘Renegade Snares’ is what started it all for me. i produced then drum & bass, future garage, and dubstep all the way up until 2013. then i started producing footwork. now, i’m transitioning back to the future garagy / bassy-stuff i used to create in 2012.
this explaaaains a lot. we can literally feel that all these influences has shaped your taste & approach to music, or let’s say, to art in general. speakin’ of which, we’d like to know what type of music you’re approachin’ around your free time, similar to what you produce or something waaaay different that we didn’t expect?
to be blunt: everything. i don’t hear one specific genre, but i’ll name some artists & genres that are on my current list.
‘Thomas Chauke’, (xitsonga)
or, ‘Cassiano’, (soul, funk)
& ‘Zxari’ (folk-fusion).
we really dig the variety, the textures that can be heard in each piece of these artists. you can really feel what they’re tryin’ to convey. tell us, what kind of emotions you’d like to bring up with your music? is it jauntiness?
i would say love and laughter. then of course, happiness and sadness.
so, we can say that your music is about yourself. you, as an artist, who puts his emotions on a piece, that when it is played out, it brings up that specific moment that you have been through & the feelings you had around that period, right?
i think that the most important thing about that is to tell a story and to store a memory, which means that if i want to feel a certain way or be in a certain mood, i’ll go back and listen to that particular track. i’ll use ‘Midnite Call’ from my ‘Japanese 魂 3’-extended play as an example.
i was going through a lot when I made this track and it wasn’t anything to be happy about, but this track makes me really happy because it was created for when i visited Japan. it sets a mood and creates a vision i hope to experience…if that makes sense? (solar edit: it does.) even though some things are shit, this track can take me thousands of miles away. years from now when i will visit Japan, i can play this song and say i made it years ago for this exact moment.
some beautiful words, no, we’re not goin’ to say that we cried a bit, but it literally touched us. focusin’ on playin’, are there specific rituals that you do before performin’ somewhere? like watchin’ something, breathe in & out or meditate a bit?
water is always good to drink before performing. other than that, i really don’t have any rituals.
we think that this might be one of the best ways to handle the preparations. so, when you start your set, do you use an uncommon gear, a controller, or do you stick to the classic way?
anything that will allow me to perform at my best capability, so that would be either CDJ’s or controllers.
let us use a time machine & we will use it for gettin’ back to your past. what we’d like to know is if we’re goin’ to see a specific event that has occurred that motivated to pursuit the concept of an artist or one project that you’re completely proud of, whether if we’re focusin’ on your private life or on art, especially on music, film makin’ or game design?
if it is about one moment, then definitely when i graduated from college.
if you’re asking about film making, then i would say when ‘Footwurk: The Legacy’ finally came out.
(solar edit, added from the description: the film based on Chicago’s underground dance culture. footwork is a genre of electronic music and a dance style that originated in Chicago, Illinois in the 1980’s. known for its fast-paced movements, uncensored lyrics, and intense battles, footwork is an escape from Chicago violence. in the film Mikey, a former gang member redirects his energy into becoming one of Chicago’s finest footworkers. through footwork, an outlet for Chicago’s impoverished community; Mikey inspires his friend JuJu to turn his life around in an unforeseen way. Footwurk: The Legacy follows the story of Mikey, JuJu and the Nyau spirits that lead them.)
if it’s about game design, then i would name ‘Juke Town’, Chicago’s first footwork game, that i created/was working on.
we are intriguuued. we dig the idea of the game, hopefully the concept behind it will be realised. but tell us, with all the sheer talent that you have, the time that you have to take for finalizin’ these projects & the motivation that you need to have all the time, we’d like to know if there is someone who guided you the most, to be this adept individual that you are nowadays?
if i say any names, i’ll have to talk about each person, so i’ll just give you a vague answer: there are 13 people that really nudged me into becoming who i am today. in those 13, the most important is my dad. also, i want to give a big shout out to everyone who has been listening to my music and supporting me over the years. as far as what guided me, that’s hard to say. i’ll just leave a quote that my dad always says to me: ‘do what you love and do what make you happy because tomorrow is not promised.’
lovely quote. really inspirin’ & it does hit the nail. Akeem, there has been one extended play that we’re playin’ on repeat, or better the series that you recently have finished. could you tell us a bit more about the background of ‘Japanese Soul’-series? how did it happen & what does it stand for?
first thing, i want to say is thank you to the whole japanese footwork community, but most importantly shout out to any country that values, appreciates, and gives credit to black people’s artistry. the ‘Japanese Soul’-series was a 3-part ep dedicated to the japanese footwork community. each of the records took a couple months to complete and was based on soul/funk music released in Japan during the late 70’s and 80’s. i’ll be releasing one last ep in the series called ‘Japanese Soul: The Lost Files’. The release will contain tracks I wasn’t able to publish in time for the other EP’s and will be around 2017.
awesome. really lookin’ forward to hear what the record will sound like. you mentioned already the year 2017, so we’d like ask you if you can tell us what your future plans currently are about? do you anticipate something special that you’d like to mention?
future plans? well, i’d like be an entrepreneur. then work on my films and of course, make music.
we think that you will succeed in every project that you anticipate. but, let us ask you a thing, since most of the artists, who are not only doin’ one type of art, do you believe that it is possible to do music for living? or, would that be something for you to focus on?
music is my second hobby…so for me, no. for anyone else, it depends on how much time you dedicate to your craft and how innovative you are in finding ways to make money
the final question of the day (insert: drum-roll), is there someone you’d like to do an art collusion, a collaboration?
if there would be one that i’d like to collab with, then probably ‘Robert Manos’.
that has been the official part of the interview, yet as we’d like to show the ‘human side’, we did allow to add a section into the section (oh hell, that sounds like something created by the illuminati, huh?), which we just named: ‘Solar’s R/Vapid Ten’. this sec-into-section contains vapid questions, which can be answered by the interviewed artist voluntarily.
so, let’s see ‘Londy’s answers:
your favourite vegetable?
your favourite food?
jamaican food. red snapper, rice & peas with extra sauce on the rice, cabbage & fried dumpling.
banana or apple?
strawberry or cucumber?
Disney or Warner Bros?
none of them, they both used to make racist shit.
DJ Rashad or RP Boo?
mhmm, can’t choose one or the other. both are incredible artists.
i would not be a musician, if…
i don’t think i am a musician at all. being a musician requires years of study, patience, practice, dedication, blood, sweat & tears. i’m a producer. people who only produce should not call themselves musicians, just as producers shouldn’t call themselves composers, unless they actually can read notes & notate them on staff paper. there’s a huge, clear difference. it’s an important topic, because my girlfriend is a dedicated violinist & vocalist.
if i would start right now with producin’ a song,
i usually start by searching or chopping up a sample. or messing around with a synth. it really depends on the mood. after that, i work on my drums, add a bassline, then BOOOM.
if i would be an object…,
a mixing board.
if i would be an animal…,
definitely a goat.
follow Akeem Pennicooke:
another pithy wednesday for all the music lovers outside. much love & appreciation for Akeem, his work & the support he deserved to get. keep an eye on ‘Londy’, because there is more to come. but if in case that you can’t wait that much, grab yourself a copy of the ‘Japanese Soul 3’-extended play, because otherwise you’re goin’ to regret it by missin’ the chance 😌
if u want to send some cat pictures or simply to say hi, holla at:
the end of the tale, but not of this book.