Olly Keen with bass
Olly Keen with bass

My First CDR: Oliver Keen

One of four impressively musical brothers raised in Dorset, Oliver/Olly/O. Keen first came to our attention as the fair-haired half of Soundspecies. As well as his ever-so-deep bass playing, his own musical voice has been partly shaped by time spent travelling in West Africa. His Bamana Project and current group, Electric Jalaba, echo this influence. Adding to our My First CDR… series we exchanged some Qs and As.


When and where did you first attend CDR? What do you recall?
2003, Plastic People – I came down from Uni one week (in Manchester) on the recommendation of brother Henry. It was dark, we got high and I got blown away by some amazing tunes.


What has CDR meant to you?
A monthly target for at least one finished tune. 12 a year, not bad! A proper club system to test my mixes on. A hang out to meet other creative people, other people at various stages of struggle/success in balancing making music and paying rent.

Have you collaborated with, or hope to, any artists via CDR sessions?
Yes, many, in various ways – whether it be creating music together or taking part in events organised by people I met there. Tony W[ach], Om Unit, Breakplus, Duchy, Ben Hadwen, D.Ablo, Analog Jones, Gawain [Hewitt]…


Any other noteworthy CDR memories?
Hearing your tune, getting a clap, reading the write ups from Dayo/Ben V etc on the blog the next day! Also, playing to 500 odd people at Tate Britain for CDR Late at Tate was pretty out there!


How is your work life/creative life tussle? Any tips or tricks for managing to keep making music?
It’s a tussle for sure! It’s just about staying inspired to do it. If you are burning to get in the studio, you’ll find time between work or sleep or whatever else to get in there.

Please describe your current production set up.
Currently – a 24 track ‘Soundtrack’ 80s Analogue desk on loan – plus usual setup: Mac, Logic, Recycle, Plug-ins, mostly just loads of instruments and amps

Logic is the centre of the studio. I know it’s not ‘classic’ or analogue or whatever, but I do love it! I also wish I had my own Analogue desk now, it has changed the way I make music and is currently at the centre of my studio. I love mixing down in real time and making adjustments on the fly and EQing with proper analogue EQs and send effects.


Any projects or tracks your working on at the moment that you’d like to let us know about?
My band: www.ElectricJalaba.com Check it! [We agree. You can buy their mini-album here for a mere skydiver.]


Finally, have you any advice or words of warning for producers/musicians developing musical works in progress to play at CDR?
Nothing to worry about.

oliverkeenrecording.co.uk         soundspecies.co.uk       electricjalaba.com

Watch on: That memorable night where Soundspecies, Dorian Concept and Mark Pritchard performed for CDR Late at Tate Britain.