One of Calgary’s premier stages played host to world-renowned scratch DJ Kid Koala on Thursday, November 23 in a Freq. sponsored show with guest DJ Jester.

Texan opener DJ Jester warmed the crowd with his country music-tainted jams, including Randy Travis’ Forever and Ever, Amen and George Strait’s All My Exes Live in Texas, turning each into a mixable, danceable jam. As patrons trickled onto the dancefloor at Commonweath Bar and Stage, Jester played current bangers from the likes of Mounika, Kaytranda and Childish Gambino, and a few hip hop classics—such as OutKast and Missy Elliot. Then, as an ode to the main act, he dropped the sexy, funky, ethereal Strangers on a Train by Nathaniel Merriweather—which features, among others, Kid Koala aka Eric San. | | |

As San hit the decks, the energy in the room was high. San uses sample-rich records custom cut into melodic compositions. Our performer was genuine and connected with the audience, cracking jokes about the rented turntables as he hit the crowd with a blast of white noise.

True to his moniker, San soon donned the infamous koala onesie he’s been known to perform in, telling us a humorous story of the Russian booking agent who lightly threatened that he’d “better be bringing the suit” for a particular performance. He extended the silliness by playing the theme song from children’s show “Yo Gabba Gabba”, which he shared is daughters’ favorite, all the while lip-syncing and leading the audience in a Treehouse-esque dance.

Beyond his radiant humour, San has a decidedly cerebral side, with many of his tracks waxing poetic melody. Without question, this was the style of Moon River: moody and sultry. The dance steps slowed and the crowd swayed lovingly.

And, of course, there was the conga line, led by our playful performer to 8-bit Blues. | |

Playing tracks from several of his albums, he finished the set with the crowd favourite, Skanky Panky as a cheer went up from the audience in reaction to hearing the first chords.

I had the pleasure of sitting down for a brief chat with Eric “Kid Koala” San just before he hit the stage and asked him about some of his projects. Barely containing child-like excitement, he told me about upcoming ventures Floor Kids, Nufonia and Satellite.

His creativity behind the decks extends into his various other endeavors, not the least of which is his upcoming contribution to score the breakdance battle video game, Floor Kids for Nintendo Switch, which features animation by JonJon, adding to a dozen other original tracks he has contributed to the game. | |

After the success of his second graphic novel Space Cadet and the accompanying interactive and immersive “headphone experience” concert tour based on the book, he has again put the control into the hands of the audience, offering a grand collaboration on his upcoming Satellite Turntable Orchestra tour. The idea behind the project provides attendees with their own turntable consoles and stacks of color-coded vinyl records. Based on most recent Kid Koala album, Music to Draw to: Satellite, attendees are prompted to participate at specific moments throughout the performance when different coloured lights come on and indicate which vinyl to play, turning the show into a 50-turntable orchestra.

In a most personal endeavor, San has converted Nufonia Must Fall, a silent—meaning dialogue-free— graphic novel he wrote in 2003 into a magical puppet show scored live by himself with a string quartet. Everything about the show is live, unfolding in real time, including the building of the sets, the filming, the editing, the music and the projection. The puppets are minimalist in nature; 3D-printed-like things. | | |

According to San, it’s a “story about robot that wants to write love songs but he can’t sing. It’s a romantic story like old Charlie Chaplin.” You can view a mini-trailer here.

According to San’s website, the story centres around a headphone-sporting robot on the verge of obsolescence and infatuated with a winsome office drone. The show is directed by K.K. Barrett, recently Oscar-nominated for Her and features the Afiara Quartet.

San’s work has been inspirational in the turntablist scene and his special projects involve multi-industry specialists and his audiences alike. Watching his clear enjoyment of his craft was a treat and FREQ. was delighted to host the show, with staff and contributors out for the evening. | | |

Words: Kasia Gorski

Photos: Neil McElmon/Concert Socks


About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.