Internationally-renown Eric San, who records under the name Kid Koala, is well known for his inventive style of turntablism, which uses an unusual collection of samples from sources like Charlie Brown television specials, old comedy sketch routines, people sneezing, and people reading a menu in Cantonese.
Since becoming the first North American artist to signed to UK label Ninja Tune in 1996, Kid Koala’s has released “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome,” “Some of My Best Friends are DJs,” and “Your Mom’s Favorite DJ” as full albums, with each including surprises such as video games, comics, and mini chess sets. He has performed DJ sets in Australia, Asia, Europe, Russia, North America, and South America as a member of groups such as Deltron 3030, Lovage, Bullfrog and on his own, opening for artists such as Radiohead and Bjork.
Where:The Shelter, 5 Yongfu Lu, near Fuxing Xi Lu 永福路5号，近复兴西路
Starts: Friday, October 30, 9PM
Cover: 60 RMB
Kid Koala has organized a cabaret-style tour known as “The Short Attention Span Theatre,” which featured 3 DJs on 8 turntables, a slide show, and a bingo game during intermission, amongst other quirks. In 2009, he put together 3 “Music to Draw To” performances in Montreal, which invited people to come and draw while he played records.
There was no dancing allowed, but people could enjoy a complementary cup of hot chocolate, purchase some baked goodies, and either draw or do some writing. The success of the “Music to Draw to” performances, as well as his other conceptual shows, have made it clear that there is an artistic community out there that is looking for more of a marriage between music and the visual arts.
Kid Koala has just recently finished The Slew’s one-time-only tour across North America, sharing six turntables with DJ Dynomite and performing with Chris Ross and Myles Heskett in tow, the former rhythm section of Grammy Award-winning Australian rock band Wolfmother.
We had the lovely opportunity to talk to Kid Koala on his latest project, the tour he just completed, and his newest prospects.
“Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” included a video game and a self-illustrated 32-page comic, 350-page romantic tragedy “Nufonia Must Fall” was accompanied by a soundtrack, “Some of My Best Friends are DJ’s” came with a mini chess set. You’ve organized the “Music to Draw to” performances in Montreal and the Space Cadet’s headphone/beanbag tour.
Musical talent usually only demands performance, but you’ve demonstrated all kinds of creative experimentation that engages all the senses. What’s it all about? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Sometimes I just feel like trying something different. The world would be such a boring place if every musician or dj had to make the same kind of album or do the same kind of tour. I just like having fun with flipping up the formats of things… it’s keeps me from getting bored.
Tell us about your new graphic novel. Also, why mosquitoes and not any other variety of insect?
It’s a story about a mosquito that’s trying to play jazz clarinet. It’s mostly inspired by New Orleans. I’m a big fan of that city and the musical heritage there. As for Mosquitoes, I kind of have a phobia of them. They find me everywhere!
I figured a good way to get over that phobia was to make a mosquito the protagonist of my next book. And it worked! I kind of have a sentimental connection to them now. I think they get a bad rap. They’re just doing their thing. Plus it’s good to get knocked off the top of the food chain every now and then to give you some perspective.
You’ve toured with the Beastie Boys, Radiohead, Bjork, Gorillaz, DJ Shadow, RJD2, and have collaborated with countless others. Any cities or venues you still haven’t hit up, that you hope your new album will take you to? What artists would you love to collaborate with next?
There’s this concert hall in an underground cave in Bermuda. It’s built around this small subterranean lake. Apparently it was a big jazz club in the 50’s. It’d be cool to do some kind of gig there.
DJing on the moon would be cool as well. Although I don’t know how the gravity thing would alter the balance of the needles. I’d love to do a record with Tom Waits, and it’d be cool to score a film for Woody Allen!
You were with DJ Dynomite D, Chris Ross, and Myles Heskett for The Slew’s one-time North-America tour. Six turntables. How did that happen, and how was it? Any favorite moments?
That was an amazing tour. It was a super LOUD, hair-standing-on-the-back-of-your-neck adrenaline rush kind of tour. We had mosh-pits at the gigs which usually doesn’t happen at the more club-style gigs. It was a lot fun and it felt good to perform it live for people.
We built special turntable stands so we could rock out and not worry about needles skipping etc. We had so much fun we’ve decided to tour it again next year in the UK and Europe. Hopefully we’ll be able to bring it to this part of the world as well!
As for favorite moments, my friend Mike Patton joined us on stage at the San Francisco gig and screamed over the “Battle of Heaven and Hell” track. It totally rocked. By far, the loudest project I’ve ever been a part of. My ears are still ringing from that tour.
And of course, while you stay in China, your fans here must know: what’s your favorite Chinese cuisine dish?
Woah. Too many to list… But I will say the steamed soup dumplings are the best in the galaxy here.