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As the Red Bull Music Academy kicks off in Madrid, Declan Lennon, aka superstar DJ in waiting Krystal Klear flies the flag for Ireland. He talks expectations, trends and the popularisation of dubstep with Dave Hanratty.
Dave Hanratty, 28 Oct 2011
For over a decade, the Red Bull Music Academy has nurtured and developed the very best talent that the world of dance music has to offer, providing workshops and showcases for those who believe they have what it takes to make an impact. One such DJ looking to step up to the next level is Irishman Declan Lennon, alias Krystal Klear, who should be taking his place in Madrid by the time you read this. For him, it’s the chance of a lifetime.
“I wanted to be in the Red Bull Music Academy from the minute I heard about it,” he says. “A few previous participants would be friends of mine and it just sounded like dream-come-true material, like going on The Apprentice and winning it. Some of the guys who have done it before have quoted it as being one of the best experiences of their lives. The timing couldn’t be better. You’re always learning, but I think I’m at a stage where, despite the fact that I am still learning, I’m also gaining a confidence in what I do and I think I’ll have as much to offer as other people will have to offer me.”
At just 23 years old, Lennon already has an enviable amount of experience under his belt, having grown up an acolyte of hardcore punk and metal and spending his formative years wielding a guitar, gigging around Ireland. Having flirted with more conventional fare, Lennon realised his real musical passion lay within the realms of boogie, funk and hip hop and thus, Krystal Klear was born. His sound draws, naturally enough, from his own roots. A rich assortment of old-school styles, it’s both an homage to a celebrated era and a clever embrace of classical themes in a contemporary fashion. Citing his father’s cassette collection as a tremendous early boon (“I’d always get a chance to mooch around his car and nick one”), Lennon appreciates the influence of those around him in his early days.
“A mate of mine, Olan O’Brien, runs a record shop called All City Records, and he took me theoretically under his wing and kind of put me in my place on a few things and taught me a lot about how to discover old music and the quality control about it. I fell in with a good crowd of people growing up and managed to learn a fair bit from them.”