Ruairi Kennedy, otherwise known to us as Klose One, is a name that needs no introduction. An ever present figure in London’s underground scene, he’s one of a select few selectors who’s reputation as a DJ’s favourite DJ is nothing short of justified. Honing his skill set over almost two decades, Klose’s exposure to 90’s rave and London’s pirate radio, reggae, garage and dubstep scenes has made him one of the most versatile in the world! Nowadays, house and techno form the core of his sets but never without venturing too far away from 2-step, grime and jungle sounds and his associations with Swamp81, Fwd>> and Rinse FM. The past few years have seen a steady rise onto a variety of festival line-ups from Bestival to Secret Solstice to Glasto and Hideout. This is set to continue, with his first appearance of 2018 seeing him play for KOOKY at May’s instalment of Forbidden Forest Festival in Derby, we caught up with Klose to find out a little more and see what else the summer of 2018 has in store for him.
Hi Ruairi, firstly thanks for speaking to us. For those who don’t know, where abouts in London are you from and how did your DJ alias Klose One come about?
I’m from north west London originally but live in northeast these days. The name stuck from when I was younger originally coming from graffiti days where “Klose” was my tag – added the ‘One’ in as at the time it suited my DJing style where I was crowbarring in as many genres into one set as possible resulting in a lot of the mixes being described as that was a klose one.
Growing up, who and what were your musical influences and what impact have they had on the way you play today?
My parents were a big influence and were responsible for me hearing house music and DJ mixes. Along with lots of other stuff from an early age, it was from those days I decided I wanted to and became obsessed with DJing – that along with pirate radio and local record shops. That’s what carved my style and what I play and I feel like in those days you were limited as to what you could buy therefore, the specialist record shops you had access to really defined what you ended up playing. I always use my love for mixing reggae and bashment from the fact that the nearest record shop to my home growing was Dub Vendor on Ladbroke Grove, and that being the sole reason I had ever got into that music is a great example of this. This, along with the pirate scene at the time being mainly garage and jungle/d&b and the record shops Uptown, Pure Groove and Blackmarket.
You’re well known for being “a DJ’s DJ” and get booked to play everything from Garage to Techno, what do you most enjoy playing?
That’s an impossible one, I like playing so many different styles. A lot depends on the situation and vibe but ideally, I like playing longer sets so I can go to a few different places in the set and it makes sense.
You’ve successfully held down a Residency on Rinse FM for quite some time now, do you plan for your shows? If so, how? and does this influence the way you play out in the club?
Yes, I put quite a lot of planning into my radio shows, and mainly play similar stuff to what I play in clubs so that planning also goes into my club sets by default. On radio I will usually know exactly what I’m going to play and in what order, but obviously you can’t do that in the club so generally I’m always thinking a few tunes ahead and also in groups of tunes that I know will flow and complement each other – which is usually from folders that I will have worked out for radio so they both go very much hand in hand.
You’re known for regularly performing all night sets particularly with your ‘On One’ parties. Are you a fan of longer sets, and what is it about all night sets that you enjoy?
It’s where I’m my happiest DJing. As mentioned before one of the things I love about playing all night or even just a long set, is the ability to take the set to different paces that you wouldn’t be able to or wouldn’t make sense in a shorter set. Also, the struggle of being between 2 other DJs playing different styles can be really frustrating personally – I like the music to flow and make sense for the dance floor – so can often find myself spending half my set building to where I’m playing what I want to play and it making sense.
‘The Residency’ seems to be coming back, certainly to London clubs – Let’s imagine you’ve just been given the opportunity to curate your own, you can invite a different act every week for 4 weeks, who would you pick?
Personally, a residency to me is just you playing all night and building that relationship with the regular crowd and the club – maybe the occasional B2B and in those cases close friends or people I have played with lots. Harrimann would probably be my 1st choice as we have held down numerous residencies over the years.
Similar to fellow supreme selectors like Ben UFO, Jackmaster and Oneman, producing your own music has been kept fairly minimal, do you have plans to dip back into production anytime in the near future?
DJing is always number 1 for me but I do enjoy the production side. My project OneOneOne with Claus Fuss should have some new music dropping soon, and I have also been working on a few collabs which there will be more info on soon
What advice would you give to any DJ looking to build a career without producing their own music?
It’s not an easy thing to achieve but I do believe it’s important as the best producers don’t necessarily make the best DJs, and vice versa. Putting a lot of effort into mixes and radio and building residencies with clubs or brands are probably the best advice I could give
2017 was a busy one for you festival wise, has your demand increased this summer?
Yes, it’s looking good.
That’s impressive considering many DJ’s/Producers get booked based on the popularity of their own music. What do you think enables you to stay in demand in such a competitive environment?
I guess the reputation of my DJ sets, as that’s all I’ve ever sold myself on.
You’re playing for KOOKY at Forbidden Forest Festival this year alongside the likes of Hannah Wants, Sonny Fodera and Danny Howard, are you excited to play? And how do festivals rank for you in terms of gigs? Are they up there with the best?
Yes, can’t wait it’s my first time at Forbidden Forest and I’ve heard good things!
Love playing festivals and it’s always such a different vibe to clubs.
Here are a few quick-fire questions to finish…
Favourite ever gig?
Probably closing Bestival’s Spaceport stage in 2016, by far the biggest crowd I’ve played to and most positive feedback I have ever had from a gig.
What are your Top 3 Bashment Tracks?
Popcaan- Everything Nice
Jamsey P – Nookie
Singing Sweet – When I See You Smile
Your one-to-watch for 2018?