Kenny Hawkes, one of the true british techno pioneers, sadly passed away in 2011. As a DJ he was instrumental both locally and abroad, particularly through running and DJing on Girls FM. With releases on Rekids, Paper, and 2020Vision and Luxuary Service amongst others, Kenny’s music was both current and timeless, as the following selections demonstrate.
As a kid growing up in Brighton, Kenny soaked up the sounds of Motown, Ska, Hip Hop, Dub Reggae instead of going to school. As soon as he hit 18 he disappeared off to Southern Europe, where he spent endless evenings developing his DJ skills by playing at some of Europe’s most notorious after houurs clubs.
Kenny returned home in the early 90s, skint and unknown. One morning whilst lounging about and listening to the radio, he stumbled across a Pirate Radio Station called “Girls FM” that played Downbeat, Dub,Soul,Techno and Garage. At that time the station only had one DJ, but they were looking for more. It wasn’t long before Kenny joined up and moved to London with the station – which he ended up managing – and in no time “Girls FM” was attracting up to a million listeners a month.
Due to Kenny’s natural grasp of quality dance music, “Girls FM” became the most legendary underground dance music station that London had ever heard. It soon boasted 22 DJs, one of whom was “Luke Solomon” who soon became Kenny’s greatest friend and fellow resident at London’s longest running mid-week house club, “Space” at Bar Rumba.
Space closed its doors for the final time in February 2002, after seven brilliant years as London’s tour de force within the global house community. Kenny and Luke prided themselves on bringing into the fold the world’s greatest spinners – such as Harvey, Stacey Pullen, Tom Middleton, DJ Heather, Fransois Kevorkian, DJ Sneak, Pete Heller, Mark Farina, Colin Dale and Derrick Carter – where they would play for a pint, a packet of crisps and their cab fare home.
The sets would offer a diverse and rich musical palette. One week there’d be Kenny Carpenter playing a classic New York style Garage and Disco set,the next Andy Weatherall would be dropping Dub Reggae right through to Hypnotic Tech-Funk.
After Space, Kenny DJ’d abroad every weekend, travelling to Belgium, New York, Portugal, Paris, Australia, Chicago and Spain to San Francisco, and Southern Asia. In-between travelling and DJing, Kenny he found the time to turn his hand to production, which has enabled him to translate his DJing vibes onto vinyl.
RIP Kenny.. Sadly Missed…