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interview

Kid Koala

Performer & Producer

Minister of Silliness! Musician, Graphic Novelist, Film and Video Game Composer, Theatre producer, Scratch DJ, Performer.

Kid Koala

Where are you based?

Montreal.

Where do you work? What do you do?

Our more hybrid theatrical productions are usually booked in seated venues like theatres, opera houses, performing arts centers… But I also do more jump up party style shows in clubs and music festivals. Currently during this pandemic, I’ve been at home in the studio, recording, writing and working on some animated film and video game scores.

What are you listening to?

Film score music, Jazz, Hip Hop, Ambient, Reggae, Blues, Classical, Indie Rock you name it!

How do you discover new music?

I still find music through actual human interaction. I get a lot of recommendations from friends who know my tastes. When I’m on tour, I’ll always ask the people that I meet what they’re listening to and excited about. On a DJ tour, I’ll ask the other performers about tracks I dig in their sets. If I’m playing at a music festival, I’ll walk around to the other stages to see/hear what’s cooking! My favorite way to find music is still digging for sounds (old and new) in the record shops. I love to hear what’s playing in the record store and talk to the clerk about what music they’re enthusiastic about.

On a few occasions, I’ve even yelled “Hey! What’s that song you’re playing?” at drivers when I’m walking around the city and hear something rad blasting out of some car speakers.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services and why?

I still mostly listen to vinyl. Always loved the sound. Plus it’s a bit of an archeological pursuit when I go dig for records. I discover such wonderful things from every era that way and try to connect the dots. I’ve been in the scratch turntable scene since I was in high school, so vinyl is still my preferred medium of choice. I even have a record cutting machine in the studio. So now I’m getting into the physics of that. Still love the fact that all that sonic information can be stored in a tiny groove. It’s magic!

Where do you do most of your music listening?

Most of my focused music listening time is probably while I’m on tour… those hours while we’re travelling between shows and soundchecks etc. I can listen to tracks on my phone and I also have a portable turntable that I bring with me to practice scratches in the hotel or to go digging in the local record shops and flea markets. When I’m at home I have these little SA PM07 hifi systems in the living room and kitchen. The same stereo I’ve had since my dorm room in college. It has a built in CD, cassette plus an AUX input so I can plug in another mixer with a turntable or digital audio player into it too. I know the sound of that system so well it’s perfect for me to check my mixes of new recordings… but really it’s just a great sounding system that I’ve kind of grown up listening to.

How do you find and listen to pre-release music?

I belong to a few record pools and mailing lists. So labels will send me listen/download links. They used to send me vinyl in the mail but labels don’t really do that anymore.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?

I try not to make music a source of frustration ever. One thing I have noticed, though more amusing than serious, is that the algorithms need more work in general. Even in my own experience, I’ve had some of my classical piano scores filed/recommended under BEATS. Or a narrative, radio show type album filed under ROCK. Or one of my ambient albums filed under BEATS/DANCE. I would think that’s a bit confusing for some casual listeners. It’s most likely happening because earlier in my recording career, I had released records on a more club oriented label, or done some scratching features on some hip hop collabs. I think people have a wide palette when it comes to listening to music. It depends on what time of day, season and activity, they’ll be searching for certain types of music to groove or chill to. So if someone’s specifically searching for BEATS and then gets a classical piano film score (not knowing it was part of a film score)… it’s kind of befuddling, but also amusing to me. The robots haven’t really learned how to curate correctly for that… yet. Context is everything.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?

My vinyl is relatively organized by context in mini crates. We have a crate of uptempo beats/workout music near the exercise machine, and a crate of more dinner music in the kitchen/dining room. The kids also have their own crate in their play area with all their favorite jams! And then there’s my studio, which has all kinds of records in it typically sorted by genre.

Byta – send & receive digital audio

With Byta you are in control of your music. Streams or downloads arrive in the 
format that your collaborators need, metadata keeps everything organized and files 
are always secure.

Explore our plans

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?

I’ll buy actual copies of the record and send it to them as a present!

Anything you want to “promote”?

Recently, we’ve been touring these hybrid live film productions like Nufonia Must Fall and The Storyville Mosquito. There’s a team of 15 of us working together to create a one take film on stage each night using 7 cameras, 20 miniature sets, 70 puppets. Everything is performed, filmed, and projected live including the foley and sound effects which is done by a string quartet and myself on piano/turntables. It’s fun for the whole family, so bring your kids, parents and grandparents if you can! If you see us coming through your town, come join us! Although we’ll have to wait for this pandemic to settle down before that happens. So in the meantime, we’ve been cooking up some fun live virtual music events and activities through my patreon page. Check it out at patreon.com/kidkoala

"I’ve even yelled “Hey! What’s that song you’re playing?” at drivers when I’m walking around the city and hear something rad blasting out of some car speakers."

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