Sunset Music Festival Exclusive Interview: KENDOLL

This year SMF hosted a record number of female DJs and we LOVE to see it! One of those talented women goes by the name of KENDOLL, and we had the pleasure of catching up with her on site.

She is an alumni of the prestigious ICON Collective Music Production School, and began pursuing her career shortly after graduation. KENDOLL has played at music festivals all around the world, perfecting her sound and growing her fan base with every show.

Immediately after a killer back to back set with Sinden, I got to interview the Seattle native and we talked all about new music, custom clothing, and her personal journey with music.

MIC DROP: Before quarantine you were touring a ton, what was it like for you once the pandemic started?

KENDOLL: I mean 2020 was supposed to the biggest year of my life. I had like a bunch of tours planned with a bunch of different artists and support. I had a headline tour and a bunch of different festivals, so when that ended it was super hard in the beginning, I’m not gonna lie. And that’s all I know, you know. I’ve devoted my life officially to making music, so when that went underground, it hit me pretty hard, honestly.

I gave up for a little bit to be honest. 2020 I gave up. I partied a lot. And then I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do because this [COVID] was gonna take a while. I thought it was a one-month thing, but then it never stopped. I started doing custom clothing and selling it to my fans, which brought in extra revenue. Then, I started giving teaching lessons, but I felt like there was no point in making music. You know, we had no idea when this was gonna end really. And then in the past 3 or 4 months I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I started busting my ass and now I have a bunch of music. You know, I spent my 2020 like an asshole, basically.

But it feels so good to be back. It’s crazy, you know, I was talking to Graham [Sinden] and I was like, “I haven’t f*cking played in a festival since SnowGlobe 2019. It’s 2021. Summertime.” It’s crazy.

MIC DROP: Music is clearly a family affair for you, did you grow up in a musical household?

KENDOLL: Oh yeah, they’re super supportive. I mean, I was kind of a lost cause growing up because I’m like the type of person where, if I’m not interested in something, I’m not gonna pursue it. I like killed my SATs but I never cared. My whole thing is passion, you know. If I don’t care about something or I’m not passionate about it, I’m not gonna do well. You know, I was kind of a lost cause. I went to community college and I found ICON Collective and I was like, “Great. I wanna learn everything there is to know about this program, so I can create what’s in my head.”

My parents helped me out and supported me a lot through that. But yeah, I went there and I graduated. I was one of the three people who got nominated for student ambassador out of 900 people. I didn’t win, but it was awesome for my mom to see, because she finally saw that I was really good at something. So yeah, ever since then it’s [making music] just been my thing. That’s all I have. But yeah, they’re super supportive. My dad actually has a playlist on Spotify of all of my music. He listens to it while he gardens haha.

MIC DROP: What has your experience been with Insomniac? How were you originally connected?

KENDOLL: AMAZING. Like, honestly. They’re so supportive. You know what’s really important to me? Is how they treat the people that attend their events. They make sure everyone is taken care of. Insomniac cares about the people that attend, and also, they are very attentive to up and comers. They’re not just like, “Oh who’s the biggest?” They listen to this kind of music and know [who’s out there].

MIC DROP: You’ve already played at some huge stages in your career, but what’s the festival on your bucket list? Your favorite venue to play at?

KENDOLL: Shambhala. I’ve been to a few and I’ve always wanted to play there. I set that goal like 4 years ago, but I know it’s gonna happen, you know. I just love that festival and I think I’d do really well there. That’s like a big bucket list goal. I also really wanna play in Tokyo or the UK. But as far as favorite venue, in terms of feeling like wow, I’ve done something is Academy [LA]. But, I’d probably say that or Shady Park in Arizona. It’s just a vibe.

MIC DROP: Sunset is boasting a female-heavy lineup in a genre that is mostly male-dominated, how has this bias affected your career? Positively or negatively?

KENDOLL: It really hasn’t affected me that much, honestly. When I started, I was geared towards Night Bass, you know. And every single guy on Night Bass is so supportive and just the coolest people on the planet.

I haven’t really experienced a whole lot of discrimination. I got lucky being with the right group of people. I have, however, had guys message me like, “Who makes your music?” It’s just a joke at this point, haha. Like I have videos of me making music, you know. I don’t take any of that to heart.

The crowd of people and artists that I am around are more empowering, you know.

MIC DROP: Any advice for up and coming female producers?

KENDOLL: Honestly, you just have to keep doing it. When I first started, I would work on Ableton for at least, I would make sure at least 2 hours a day. Sometimes it would be 8 hours. You have to do it everyday. You have to be familiar with it. You have to be quick. Like, for me, when I have ideas in my head, I need to get them out quickly. So it’s like, just learning and practicing as much as possible.

Also, don’t ever compare yourself to another artist. If you feel that creativity inside, that should be presented out to the world, not [you] latching onto another artist you like and making stuff like that. ‘Cause then, it’s just gonna come out like them, you know. I’ve done it before, I know.

As soon as you just ditch that mindset of sounding like a label, or sounding like another artist, that’s when your actual creativity comes out. You’d be surprised. It’s really crazy.

MIC DROP: For those of our readers who are brand new to your music, pick one song for them to listen to that would sum up your sound best? And where can we keep up with you on social media?

KENDOLL: I really like “Tension” the most. That one’s so fun. Uh, I don’t know. Or “Never Sleep”. Which, “Never Sleep” didn’t get much recognition, but I think that’s the coolest track I’ve ever made, but it got no recognition (laughs). I think it’s super cool. It’s got like a bass-line techno feel to it. I’m trying to combine genres (laughs).

MIC DROP: What’s something you’re grateful for in this moment?

KENDOLL: Being around producers who I feel like they are my family. I feel like there’s a weight lifted off of my shoulders ’cause, these people have all gone through what I’ve had to go through this past year, you know. No going out. No shows. There’s a lot of things. But just seeing people again. That’s really cool. When I looked out and saw all these people out there I was like this is unreal. It’s coming back. That’s like the coolest thing hands down about it. And honestly, you know, we just had FUN.

I had such an amazing time watching KENDOLL and Sinden’s back to back set. They murdered the set and the whole crowd jumpin’ the entire time.

Be on the lookout for KENDOLL’s new music. She’s coming in hot this 2021.

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