Anna and the Annadroids (who performed at the very first Off the Grid) with Kenny Lectro
One of Columbus’s most popular DJs, Kenny Lectro has established himself as one of the city’s premier creators of mixes that guarantee an incomparable dancefloor party. Below he talks to Wex Education Assistant Marisa Espe about DJing for Off the Grid, his connections with the Wex, and the power of soundtracking the “awesome.”
You’ve still got time to get ready for the hottest contemporary art party of the year on March 12: Off the Grid tickets available online and at the door.
How long have you lived in Columbus? Can you describe a fond Wex memory?
My family and I moved to Columbus in 1989—the same year the Wexner Center opened! Twelve years later, I saw my first Wex show on one of the most serendipitous days of my life. I was living in Athens, attending school at Ohio University, and I was browsing the stacks at the local record store when another student walked in and began talking to the clerk about a show that very night. My ears perked up when he name-dropped Autechre and I heard him say he wasn't sure he would go if he couldn't find a friend to join him on the drive. I took off my headphones and walked over to introduce myself. Thursday, May 10, 2001, I met Michael Beam and we became fast friends on the way to the Wex that afternoon. When we arrived we learned it had sold out. Michael had a ticket, but I didn't. I had to use the bathroom after the long drive and while I was washing my hands an older gentleman confessed to me that he knew nothing about Autechre and he was just here because his teenage son wanted to see them. I told him my story of how I had arrived there that day and he said he had an extra ticket I could have! That was the beginning of many incredible adventures seeing shows at the Wexner Center and also the start of a life-changing relationship. Michael Beam has been producing a world-class radio show called The Beat Oracle for over fifteen years and in 2008 asked me to be a part of it in Columbus, Ohio along with another college friend, Joseph DeMatteo. Being a part of The Beat Oracle has enabled me to realize my dreams and hone my craft as a Future Music Specialist.
Can you describe your artistic practice? Describe how you make your selections?
My artistic practice is ongoing and never-ending. I'm always listening to music and seeking out the most cutting-edge tunes whether they were made today or 25 years ago. When selecting songs for the radio or an upcoming party I always ask myself, "Is this awesome?" If the answer is yes, then I will include it in a mix. Awesomeness as a qualifying factor in music is astoundingly versatile. Awesome music can be for dancing, getting lost in thought, creating art, feeling good, processing emotion, having epiphanies, and generally cultivating more awesomeness. The one thing awesome music cannot be used for is sound tracking boredom—it's a natural cure for boredom!
After I was asked to deejay this year's Off The Grid, I started to revisit music from some of my favorite shows at the Wex. Expect to hear sounds from Plaid, Clark, Prefuse 73, Hot Chip, Telefon Tel Aviv, Luke Vibert, M83, Ulrich Schnauss, The Books, The Juan Maclean, Animal Collective, Edan, Caribou, the xx, jj, Nosaj Thing, Simian, Mouse On Mars and more! Needless to say, this party is going to be awesome!