MU­SIC

Kid Koala is game for any­thing, we talk to this hot DJ about mak­ing do and mak­ing beats.

Sharp Magazine Middle East (English) - - Contents -

WHETHER BRING­ING his brand of turntable con­tor­tion­ism to the Go­ril­laz or Mike Pat­ton’s off-the-wall side-projects, con­sum­mate Cana­dian DJ Eric San a.k.a. Kid Koala has never been one to shy away from col­lab­o­ra­tions.

His lat­est, Floor Kids (Orig­i­nal Video Game Sound­track), is, as you might guess, a sound­track to the Nin­tendo Switch game of the same name. Beyond scor­ing the game (which fea­tures char­ac­ters hand- drawn by Mon­treal an­i­ma­tor Jon­jon), San ac­tu­ally played a key part in its feel. The head-spin­ning, joy­ous dou­ble-al­bum com­bines decades of b-boy/girl styles, from early funk to golden-era hip-hop to mod­ern- day mod­u­lar synths. Not only did he dig up the dusty ’80s sam­plers for this, he also recorded drums, gui­tars, bass, and key­boards, cut­ting the sounds on vinyl and then scratch­ing over them. Bet the DJ at your favourite tapas restau­rant can’t do that.

Amid his 18-city “Vinyl Vaude­ville” tour, we caught up with San to chat about video games, sound­tracks, and his glar­ing lack of other hob­bies.

What’s dif­fer­ent about cre­at­ing a sound­track for a video game?

I’d say some of it re­minds me of scor­ing for a film, just be­cause I had to make it work with the aes­thet­ics of Jon­jon’s art­work. He did over 10,000 frames of an­i­ma­tions and all this con­cept art for the city where the char­ac­ters in this game in­habit. So he would just show me, “Th­ese are the venues that I think the kids will be able to bat­tle at, this is what it looks like.” And I just tried to cre­ate mu­sic that fit that. So that part was kind of fa­mil­iar. The part that was un­fa­mil­iar was know­ing that son­i­cally speak­ing, peo­ple that are play­ing are your mu­si­cal col­lab­o­ra­tors. It’s re­ally kind of a freeform, trick style game. That could mean one per­son goes from top-rock spin to a down-rock flip, and some­one else could just do wind­mills for two min­utes. So all the sound ef­fects I had to cre­ate for each of those moves, I had to make sure they could cut through the mix and also not get stale.

How did you make the songs with break­danc­ing in mind?

Just from my ex­pe­ri­ence of Djing at break bat­tle and break events, I def­i­nitely knew the beats had to knock se­ri­ously, so that if you heard that beat you’d want to jump in the cypher and start throw­ing down. That’s still the goal post, to cre­ate mu­sic that went with all the eras of break cul­ture, from the ’70s break an­them, ’80s elec­tro, ’90s 12-bit sam­ple stuff, turns, mod­u­lar, and elec­tronic synth beats.

Did you lis­ten to any other video game sound­tracks for in­spi­ra­tion?

I’d say the first Castlevania has just be­come a part of my thing. I’ve spent so much time on that game. I loved how it all worked to­gether, the menu screens, the char­ac­ter se­lect screens, the ac­tual rounds and box bat­tle mu­sic. It just had this beau­ti­ful nar­ra­tive to it.

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