Kid Koala Exclusive Interview

July 13, 2012

Kid Koala at Trafalgar-Square, London - photo Nic Marsden, Music Vice“I originally was called DJ SHREDMASTER EVIL but the record label thought I should change it to something a little more cuddly!” – Kid Koala.

How did the stage name ‘Kid Koala’ come about?

I originally was called DJ SHREDMASTER EVIL but the record label thought I should change it to something a little more cuddly.

What would you say is your first artistic love? Is it turntabalism,  illustration, or art?

Music and visual art are pretty intertwined for me.  When I draw I always have some form of music in mind to keep me in a zone.  And when I record, I always visualise these little stories and characters in my head.  It’s as if I’m recording some score music to little imaginary films.

How do you prioritise your different artistic ventures? You seem to have so  many things on the go at once!

I prefer to have a few projects going at a time.  They’ll usually all be indifferent stages of production/completion. When I need a break from the recording studio, I can go draw or work on the mosquito book, or the zombie ramen puppet show, or do some storyboarding. It keeps me from getting bored and able to see or hear things with fresh eyes and ears.

You’re over in London for Canada day. Are you playing many other shows over this side of the pond, or is it a short visit?

It’ll be a very short visit!  I have to tour with Deltron 3030 in North America at the end of the week so I have to get back and prepare for that.

You’ve contributed to a number of musical projects over the past few years,  including Gorrillaz… How do these collaborations usually come about? Do you have certain artists that you repeatedly collaborate with?

When you travel you meet many people.  Sometimes you click with people and that leads to working on some projects together.  This year I’m doing a couple projects with Dan the Automator, one being Deltron 3030 Event II and the other being Pillowfight with a singer named Emily Wells.  I’m also doing a follow up grungelism record with Chris Ross and Myles Heskett (formerly of
Wolfmother) and producer Dynomite D in Seattle for a project called The Slew.

You’re here in London for Canada Day. What does it mean to you, to be  Canadian? Do you consider yourself to have a strong national identity?

Canadians are very warm and friendly people.  Even during the -40 degree winters.  My parents always told me winters build character.  I think they just told me that so I would go shovel the snow out of the driveway.

Have you noticed any big differences between the music scene here in  London, compared to say Toronto, or Montreal?

Not really, party people are everywhere!

Kid Koala with Music Vice Magazine reporter Ngawara Madison “There’s nothing tougher than trying to hold the attention of a classroom full of 5 year olds.  After that, playing to drunk adults is a breeze.”

You studied Education at McGill University. Do you ever imagine yourself retiring from music and going to work in Education?

My universes collide.  I use a lot of the pedagogical techniques I learned to refine my concerts. There’s nothing tougher than trying to hold the attention of a classroom full of 5 year olds.  After that, playing to drunk adults is a breeze. It’s funny how some things never change though.  I played turntable bingo on one of my album tours once.  Works just as well on club full of adults as it does on a classroom full of  5 year olds.
You’ve toured with some of your favourite artists, including Radiohead and Bjork. Is there anyone out there that you hope to tour or collaborate with in  the future? Any particular artists that are really ‘doing it’ for you these days?

Kid Koala: It would be great to do a recording with Emiliana Torrini.  She’s one of my favourite singers on the planet.

© Ngawara Madison, Music Vice

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