For the release of Pumas Mix Pack, we met up with London and Rinse FM DJ Chennessy to talk about music, footwear and more.
Taking inspiration in Puma’s strong connection to African football the packs colours pay homage to the detailed patterns used on previous Puma Jerseys used for the African National teams.
The packs focus is on both the RSX and Future Rider models with each of the 4 pairs featuring a multicoloured knitted mesh, mix of suedes, leathers, detailed African jersey inspired laces and thermoplastic seals creating an interesting array of layers and textures on all models
Shop the Puma Futurerider & RS-X3 now at Footpatrol! Shop here!
Footpatrol: Chennessy before we get into it, thanks for being here. Before we get into music and Djing let’s talk footwear. Are you a big collector yourself?
Chennessy: I’m what you call a hoarder, I’m more of an hoarder than a collector. I prefer going for things I like rather than what is considered unique or rare, unless both of those things match what I like. I fell out of love with drop days due to the fact that I like my footwear to be accessible and to represent a moment in time, I also want it to be a part of the community conversation rather than just having the prized possession. Don’t get me wrong I do have a large collection of footwear, but also I’m trying to do something more meaningful with the stuff I don’t wear as well.
FP: What are your thoughts on Pumas Mix pack? There are some crazy colourways and prints on both the Riders and RSX models.
C: My thoughts, I really like the colourways. I love the build of them, the pattern on mesh and the lacing. These Future Riders are the ones I really like. It’s a bit of me, they’re loud!
FP: Have you been wearing the RSX or the rider? I have to say the RSX is one of the most comfortable shoes out at the moment.
C: Puma wins on comfort right now. I have the Future Riders in another colour way, they are a comfortable shoe. So is the RSX they got a real nice ankle support on them. Puma definitely are winning in that area.
FP: Moving on to music, for those who haven’t heard you DJ how would you describe your sound?
C: I’m quite lucky to have multiple outlets, I have radio and I also have the night club as an outlet.
In the clubs I pretty much cover everything that you would hear in London from past 10/15 years. From the emergence of the sound that is now, like Afroswing down to Garage. Also touch on the American influence, the Trap sound, drill, R&B, Dancehall and Afrobeat. I pretty much get all the sounds that we engage with or identify ourselves with and put them together in an interesting way, sometimes contrasting but very complimentary. I like to play with a little juxtaposition in my sets and keep the audience on their toes to really keep the energy in the room up!
On radio I’m fortunate enough to get to play all the stuff I don’t get to play in clubs. I use that as my full experimental sound bed taking advantage of loops, a lot of unsigned acts, stuff I listen to on a day to day and different textures and sounds that have gravitated towards me over the month.
FP: Do you have a preference between the 2 do you prefer DJing in the clubs or on the radio?
C: Its 2 separate feelings. To have that negotiation with the people going from the crowds energy back to myself, that’s a very unique interchange that happens.
On radio it’s more me just running free. Each have their own perks, with radio it gives me a chance to be more experimental and get to the destination in a longer period of time.
FP: What was it in particular about being behind the decks that made you want to become a DJ?
C: I was just curious, it was a time before there was really any audience for it, it was all about the MC. It was like kick ups once you get the hang of it you look for other combinations of tricks you can do. Through there it was about refining that skill till I got it to a level where I was very confident with it and once I had that confidence and understanding, it then became about the communication between myself and the audience from that moment on. It was about curating the vibe!
FP: So it’s really about the feeling for you more than anything?
C: Fully the Feeling!
FP: You’re part of Rinse FM. How did that come around, is it something you’ve been doing for a while?
C: I have been on Rinse for about 2 years. I started in 2018. I started when I went on Jyotys show for a guest mix, had a lot of relationships over at Rinse FM been quite fortunate to keep a lot of good relationships in a lot of places. Through my relationship with the station as well they invited me back for a guest mix and offered me a monthly specialist show, up until Emerald was taking a break there was an opening for the drive time shows as well so they asked me to come down and do that also. I couldn’t do the four days of the week but I said I would definitely do one day a week, so I’ve been doing that for about a year as well.
FP: It’s not the only thing you do though right, you also have Birdnoise and Slocal. How did they come about? Let’s start with Slocal first.
C: The easiest way to put it is that it’s a collective, it’s built around an ethos, progress gang one step at time, it’s a constant pursuit. It is a level up mentality that imbedded into us all, we are all individuals but when we bind together we create these ill moments. This all started through Nate he had the idea, and he bought in the people that he thought would help execute the idea the best way. That translated in the form of merch, touring across europe with the music, going to different territories and doing club nights there, and doing mini activations for ourselves. We were throwing some epic parties in London with talent around the city who just so happened to be our friends as well. But yeah, it’s all in the name of the constant pursuit.
FP: I want to move on to Birdnoise as I know you have the 3rd birthday coming up, did you approach this with the same mentality as Slocal or was this something different?
C: Birdnoise is fun for totally different reasons. That started in 2016/2017, I was being invited to play in Germany quite a few times – shouts out to Bass Gang, JD.Reid and SixNerf Click. What they did was offer me such a high level of hospitality and welcoming, but I had nothing to give in return in London to reciprocate it. I felt it was important to try and create something that reimburses the DJ network across europe, that allowed that conversation to happen for other people that I thought we dope as well. That’s how Birdnoise started, it then became a very deep DJ focused night in the Hip-Hop and R&B world where it was normally about the hosts and other elements, I just wanted it to be about the DJs coming and flexing and also the people. I wanted it to be a different ecosystem, it wasn’t about the tables and all this other stuff people typically like, I want it to be about the emerging sound that we all knew just coming up from London rather than just the commercial side of things.
FP: When it comes to selecting the DJs do you have a process?
C: There’s no formalised process. It works in a couple ways, if I see someone and I’m excited about how they play I try to find a way where I can bring that excitement to Birdnoise. Some DJs do an epic warm up set, know how to set the pace and know how to set the tone of an evening. Some DJs will have an epic Dancehall set, some DJs have an epic turn up set. It’s all about trying to find the best way to curate the evening.
When I’m out and about listening to new DJs I’m always placing them in where they could be because of the amount of Night life im involved in. With that, I always listen to different things so I can have more of a balanced line up so the night can feel like more of a journey.
That’s how I curate nights, I know I can finish the night at any given time but I want to make sure all the corners are touched so that by the time I get on the decks I can then run free.
A lot of the DJs I bring into Birdnoise I caught them when they had no bookings. I saw the raw talent, being a DJ you can recognise that. Then I think BOOM you know what would be dope for you – in my head I’m thinking maybe you won’t play at this time but maybe giving them a slightly earlier set or maybe a 1am slot to a full crowd of people. When you play for another DJ it brings a different kind of spirit to you.
FP: Well Chennessy thanks again for being here with us, before you go is there anything we can look forward to from you in 2020?
C: Yeah a few things, Birdnoise, Slocal, 92 Bricks and please say the God Bless.