Interview: Kid Sundance
Co-founder of the Boomoperators, one half of R&R Grooove Xpress, producer and dj Kid Sundance goes back for more than 20 years. His music is being played by the likes of Gilles Peterson and Bobbito. His remixes for Ennio Morricone, Frank-N-Dank, Mo&Grazz and the collaborations with Dudley Perkins, X-Plastaz and Busy Bee made the Kid from the Lowlands one to keep an eye on.
His music hasn’t been released on a frequent basis but the quality he brings is always topnotch. As is his long-awaited debut LP, Kid’s Colors where he shows his appreciation for 70’s and 80’s library and stock music in his own unique way. Enough reason for The Find to sit down with the Dutch Kid from Eindhoven and ask him some questions.
What’s your musical background and how did you get into hip hop?
I remember seeing THE video by the Sugar Hill Gang on television, buying Rock Steady Crew’s first single and the performance of Grandmixer DST with Herbie Hancock on Countdown. Before that television performance I thought that the scratching noise was done with a whip! Also radio shows back then (Soulshow and Wilde Wereld) played early rap tracks. I recorded them on tape and learned them by heart. Very soon I realized that records were a must for a producer. So I started collecting samples, even though I had no sampler. Just a wack Erres turntable.
So I rapped and beatboxed for a year in 1985 and around 1986 I started scratching with those records. Producing is a thing I picked up hanging with Divorze Posse. Speed taught me the ins and outs of beatmaking. Around 1991 I got my own Amiga. I did some tracks with TLD and Ragoo and focused on dj’ing at the Effenaar in Eindhoven. Edward Capel asked me to do some cutting and scratching in jazz improvisation sessions. Only in 1998, after finishing my education I finally bought a serious sampler: the Ensoniq ASR 10.
As a dj your style is very eclectic and not a typical hip hop style. Where does that sprout from?
As you most likely know, many producers dive into the musical history to get that sound nobody has found yet. By doing so, you end up spending your money on old records instead of the latest hip hop hits. In the past I also played hip hop combined with jazz, funk and soul, but I decided I could make a difference by playing so called ‘old’ records. I leave the latest hits to the younger generation (laughing)
“Making a typical producers album with different rappers or singers was never on my to-do list“
Why took it so long to release your first LP?
The timing of this record is just right for me. Earlier I was focusing on rap tracks. As time passed by I needed a new challenge. Making a typical producers album with different rappers or singers was never on my to-do list. And sometimes you need to marinate your ideas.
Kid’s Colors is indeed not the average hip hop record. It sounds timeless, mature and very trippy. How did the album come together?
By taking some ideas or demos. Re-producing them, getting inspired by doing so and create even more tracks in the same vein. I explained my library concept idea to Rogier and Neels from Fremdtunes in an early stage and they supported this concept from day one.
How did you get into library music and how did this evolve in the whole outlook of Kid’s Colors?
When you trace sources of certain rap hits, you’ll automatically find them. But it’s unlikely that you find those LPs on a flea market because they were never commercially available. Then how the hell did these producers on USA records find them? At that point I found out that in order to get certain records, you have to attend a record fair where people from all over the world sell their records. Nowadays you also might find a couple of those records in the better boutiques for top dollar prices. I just love the concept of library records. Strange moods next to funny tunes. No or hardly any vocals and not being afraid to experiment. Not necessarily a full song. Sometimes a minute is just fine. Sometimes I need three minutes to get to the point. UK label KPM was my eye opener on library records. Massive tunes!
How do approach making a music, from a beat/sample or where do your ideas come from?
I just start with a record, synth or drum machine. Most of the time it’s a sound that triggers me. Three notes on a vibraphone and I’m off…
What are your musical influences?
Probably everything you listen to that gets stored in those brain cells. And yes, people like Marley Marl, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Diamond D, Q-Tip, Dilla and Madlib are my favorites but I don’t think I sound like them. And I don’t want to and I wouldn’t even be able to. No matter how often I listen to David Axelrod, my music doesn’t sound like his. It’s a shame it doesn’t work like that… (laughs)
Who would you love to work with in your studio and why?
Producing a band is something on my wishlist. Being able to sculpt a band sounding the way I hear it. Add ideas and making it unique. Like the way David Axelrod did with the Electric Prunes!
Best record shop?
The best record shop? My own one of course: I sometimes sell records on fairs and Discogs (laughs). There used to be a little store in Antwerp that sold cartoons, Disney stuff, action figures and a couple of records. The shop owner only collected LPs with USA movie stars playing or singing. All David McCallum records and even more obscure stuff for a killer price.
But, I must say that visiting a flea market and running into an ultra hot Cumbia record is much more fun. The surprise factor gets extra points when it comes to diggin’ for whatever record on a flea market. “Hey this might be nice… What is this? Mmm, 2 euro well spent”
Weirdest place buying a record an do you remember what record that was?
A very small art gallery in Amsterdam. Don’t know why or how I got there but it must have been in the year 2002 situated somewhere near the Jordaan. Freaky situation I remember… A little box of crap records next to the door made me happy. Only 1 euro for Ornette Coleman – The Empty Foxhole. Ornette painted his own cover and his son only 10 years old plays the drums on it. Family Free jazz…
First record you bought or got?
Till I was 13 years old we used tapes. Reel to reel! In ‘83, we bought our first record player. Friends of the family gave us a bunch of records and these were the ones I remember; Bob Marley and The Wailers Live and Commodores Live!
Weirdest record ever bought?
On a flea market a record called Otto Sterman – De Lange Weg
The record you never found?
Pumpkin, a Dutch so-called jazz-funk group with a bass clarinet similar to The Headhunters.
What can we expect of Kid Sundance in the near future?
Off Richter Scale Type Vibo Nono Lika Lotto. That means, I hope I will still be able to cross my next personal musical frontier in the future. Stick to my guns but change the ammunition. Know what I’m saying?
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