7 Questions before Movement: Keith Kemp

“7 Questions before Movement” is an ongoing series in which we ask the same seven questions to as many artists playing at this year’s Movement Detroit festival as we possibly can. The goal of this series is to familiarize festival goers with the styles and personalities of artists they can expect to see at the festival (because let’s be real – there’s always at least a few names we don’t recognize right away). First up on our Movement 2014 interview roster is Detroit’s own Keith Kemp.  

1. Have you been to the festival before, as a performer or just as a listener? If so, what is your most distinct memory from the experience?

I’ve attended every festival since it’s inception. Wait, I might have missed one year when I lived out of state…

As an artist I performed a DJ set in 2002 and then performed live in 2005. I’ve also had a unique perspective of the music festival in that I was the stage manager at the Beatport stage for about 7 years.

All 3 of those experiences combined have given me amazing memories over the years so it’s really really hard for to pick a moment in particular….but as a massive Richie Hawtin fan, I’ve been really really lucky to either be running the stage when he’s closing the festival, or hanging out behind the booth for some of the others.

What stands out the most, for me, was finally seeing Nitzer Ebb play live and then watching Richie close the festival from the very top of the bowl, overlooking all of Hart Plaza. That might have been the last year we put the main stage acts on the top of the bowl, and it’s been pretty hard to top some of those experiences since…

2. Do you have any favorite classic Detroit techno tracks or artists?

I’m a huge fan of Detroit, and I don’t really play any favorites towards a specific style of electronic music from my city. Aux 88 are just as welcome as is Kevin Saunderson, Blake Baxter, Marc Houle, Recloose or Mike Huckaby… but, if I had to pick, I think Carl Craig is my favorite Detroit artist. If I’m stranded on a martian planet with nothing but one disc from Detroit, I’d have to pack Model 500 – Sonic Sunset. If that disc is scratched, the backup is Plastikman’s Musik.

3. Based on what’s been announced so far, which artists playing at the festival are you the most excited to see this year?

All the heavy hitters for sure – Mills, Dixon, Dice.. Being a techno person I’m always excited for the entire line up of the underground stage. As a music fan I try to catch as many people as possible.. you are just as likely to see me pop up behind the main stage or dancing in the crowd to someone I haven’t hear before. I’m also hoping to hear some drum and bass this year…

4. To give readers a sense of the style of music you play, please name three tracks you’ve been showcasing in your sets lately.

How about 3 artists that are blowing my mind right now: Truncate, Omar S, Joshua Harrison…

Omar S


Joshua Harrison

5. What was your most recent release, and where can readers find it?

My most recent release is a track called Heart Bumps; it’s part of a 4 track various artists compilation for a Detroit-based label called Cryovac. You can order the 12″ online or pick it up in person from Detroit Threads. If you see me around town you could always ask me for a copy – I usually have the colored vinyl 12 on me – one advantage of releasing music on a small vinyl only label is that I always have a lot of records for promotion.

6. What kind of equipment will you be using for your set, and why do you prefer it?

I will probably play digitally this year, which amounts to this set up: Apple Powerbook, 4 decks of Traktor, 2 x NI X1 controllers, 1 x A&H Zone 92 and Redsound Looper.

Why do I prefer it: I’ve been utilizing this 4 deck set up for the last couple of years because it’s the best way for me to express myself and my DJ skills. I’m constantly practicing, as well as developing new tricks with this set up. I don’t see myself changing anything, only adding vinyl and my looper back into the mix when the time is right and the system is appropriate.

7. Can we expect to see you play at any afterparties this year?

That’s the plan. I’m 100% available for bookings, so please contact chad@blankcode.com if you are interested in adding a Movement/Paxahau/Modified artist to a bill.