“KCTV was just going to be an extension from my make-up website, which international DJ and artist Tatu Vuolteenaho designed for me, and it just turned out the way it has,” Kenny Campbell explains, smoking his cigarette with nonchalant flair. Now run by himself, two others and co-founder Vuolteenaho, the website is an impressive “side project” for the acclaimed make-up artist, who has previously worked with Vogue Italy, Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton, to name but a few.
Subsidiary though it may be, Campbell will always find time for KCTV: “It does not demand, it’s just what I like. If I like it or want to tell others it’s happening, it goes on.” Exhibiting entirely authentic content, the co-creator of KCTV speaks about his experiences and inspirations with innate enthusiasm. London-born to a family fond of the arts, Campbell celebrates his natural creativity: “I am just me, so I must have been born with it.”
His mother did little to hinder this: “She always encouraged me to dress up and do my make-up as I pleased.” Little did Campbell know then that this would be his future career: “I was about 7, and secretly playing with my nan’s make-up, when I arrived downstairs and she said ‘Ken have you been playing with my make-up?’... I naturally said no,” Campbell laughs. “Nan replied with: ‘Go and look in the mirror’ - and, staring back at me, was a white powdered face... not a good foundation match.” Thankfully, Campbell’s technique has since improved.
Campbell’s fondness for beauty pulses through KCTV and his long-term clubbing affair is scribbled into every code. “I was always going out from a very early age,” the artist begins - “but one particular night sticks in my mind. I must have been about 15 and it was a school night. I went on my own to a club on Wardour Street called Crackers.” It was there that Campbell met 1980s’ group Animal Nightlife singer Andy Polaris, who took him to a club called Billy’s: “Wow. When I walked in, I thought: This is the place for me. There were boys with make-up; wicked looking girls - it was like something else.”
The search for ‘something else’ has seen Campbell travel the world, sampling some of the best nights out and then sharing them with his energetic audience online. Though it was work that brought and kept him in Paris during the 1980s, Campbell was no stranger to the Parisian party scene: “Clubs like Le Sept and Le Palace were amazing. It was the time of Grace Jones, so there were many shenanigans going on - it was fantastic.” But his favourite place to party? “Berghain Panorama bar,” he replies. “Tama Sumo is a resident there. You can party all weekend and the crowd are up for dancing.” Unable to draw just one from the many, he adds, “Secret Sundaze, Dane Tunnel and Chapter 10 are also favourites of mine.” This unquenchable infatuation Campbell has for the alternative party scene naturally translates to the style and content of his website.
A passion for good music clearly matters to KCTV. From the “funky dance music” of Crackers to the “electro” pulses of Billy’s, Campbell keeps a keen ear to the ground for “all types of music, as long as it’s got soul.” But inspirations for the website extend far further than clubs and music: “I find inspiration in everything around me,” Campbell explains. And what surrounds him always has the potential to change, thanks to Campbell’s ever-expanding repertoire of experiences and direction.
Celebrating all that is creative, on pulse and on trend - KCTV is an eclectic mix from a fabulously eccentric man. With diversity as its key strength, the website’s viewers are encouraged to believe that an average day in the life of Kenny Campbell simply does not exist. Holding firm to his game plan - if he likes it, he will share it - Campbell leaves little room for doubt as he concludes: “Where do I see KCTV in 10 years time? Alive and kicking.”
Words: Elizabeth Neep
Photography: Ellis Scott