NEW YORK — Kenna recently spent some time in the studio with an old high school friend, tweaking his next single.
That might not seem noteworthy, except for the fact that Kenna went to the same Virginia Beach, Virginia, high school as the Neptunes. The famed production duo's Chad Hugo produced Kenna's New Sacred Cow a few years ago (see "Kenna Leaves The Shadows Of Fred Durst, Neptunes For His Own Spotlight") but just recently remixed "Sunday After You" to prepare it for a radio push.
"I think it's the door-kicker-opener song, the beat-the-people-with-the-beat song," Kenna said of the tune, which would have fit nicely on Depeche Mode's Violator. "We're excited about it. We've never made an attempt at going after radio and being really focused on it because we wanted to just develop a fanbase based on merit and music, so we'll see what happens."
Even if Hugo's second version, which will follow-up the MTV2 favorite "Freetime," is not a hit, Kenna has a backup plan.
"Pharrell might do a remix of our remix," he said, smiling. "He's like my biggest advocate and also my devil's advocate. He's like, 'You're not in your own video?' "
Kenna describes "Sunday After You" — which includes the chorus "Nothing's what it seems" along with verses like "I swear my heart is broken by your words again" — as a very personal song. That's not to say he'll appear in the video this time. That will be up to the director.
"I just want to have a really classic video," he said. "To me, you have to make a video that you can turn off the volume and watch it. The video has to stand alone without my music for it to be a true video. I would love to work with Michel Gondry (the White Stripes). I would love to work with Spike Jonze (Weezer). Or Jonathan Glazer (Radiohead)."
Before Kenna begins propositioning directors, however, he plans to finish his tour with New York electro duo Fischerspooner.
"I'm getting lucky with these tours," said Kenna, who spent the summer on MTV's You Hear It First Tour (see "Kenna, Exies, Fiction Plane Kick Off You Hear It First Tour In Cali") and with Depeche Mode's David Gahan. "I fit on every bill. I can do anything, but it's hard to convince people of that in the beginning."
Kenna will need that "I can do anything" attitude for his next venture.
"I'm climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro at the end of December/ early January, so I'm training for that right now," he said. "I'm going to reach the top and scream to God about all the things he could have done while I was growing up and come back down a kindler, gentler Kenna."