Roger Robinson guides us through the A-Z of King Midas Sound.
We all have Macs and we all do everything that we do on them and they each start to take on a life of their own. Kevin’s own has a habit of jumping off desks with a slightly hari-kiri suicidal tendency. Kiki’s own has so many stickers that I can’t actually remember the colour, and mine is full of nicks and scratches from clumsy handling. But for everything from writing to music to artwork Midas is about the Mac.
There’s no denying the power of the Bug’s music. Even being in King Midas Sound with, him I’m still like a geeky fan. I distinctly remember him playing me ‘Poison Dart’ and ‘Skeng’ and I just jumped up from the studio couch screaming. The thing about the Bug is the crucial combination of percussion, razor sharp snares, bass sounds that seem to vibrate every strand of the body, and the cleverest mc’s with a heavy nod to dub. I’ve seen people lose it at Bug shows. Pulled muscles, fainting I’ve seen it all. SKENG SKENG ME KILLAMAN PULL OUT DE BIG SKENG.
Kevin thinks that 90 percent of music is garbage. Whack songs made for the wrong reasons. He always says that is better to take long time over a record than to add to the slushpile of garbage that the music industry is today.
Midas is all about dancehall music. From Lady Saw through to Spragga Benz to Vybz Kartel. It is just another way that Jamaica and its people continually create and recreate rules. Also the speed at which something totally local can hit an international market has ensured that new fresh ideas on Dj’ing, dancing, singing and production are constantly coming through. Dancehall seems oddly pure and uncontrived in it’s artistry because no committee of bigwigs could ever control it.
We want to be horrified at the music we created six months ago. That’s how much we want to evolve. Artists should never stand still or else things will never be pushed forward.
We wouldn’t say that KMS is heavily into fashion, but we would say that style is important to us. I think we all have our own individual swagger. In my style I try to reflect many eras of style that I’d been attracted to in my life. I call my style Sufferer chic. It’s like when your aunt sends you a suit from New York and somehow you’ve lost the trousers so you just wear the jacket anyway with mismatched pants as a statement. Kiki’s style is a mixture of eclectic, and because she’s so beautiful she can pull off anything. She’d put leopard skin tights with Adidas shell toes and it all works. It’s like Kawaii cuteness meets Kabuki makeup. Kevin likes black clothes and black trucker caps like Sons Of Anarchy meets Mobb Deep. On stage it all works and we never even planned it.
KMS is led by our gut reaction. Kevin and Kiki both have incredible ears for nuance in music, but the one thing we all share is when a song hits us and makes our blood rush, we all react in different ways. Kiki might give a thumbs up, or Kevin might start dancing, and I might start posing like I’m ready for a fight. The good thing is that when all these things happen at the same time we’re on to a good thing. Even if two out of three are in that zone it’s still a good thing. If only one of us is there it’s probably not going to get to production stage. Also we all don’t care about quantity of songs we make but we are all obsessed by the quality and emotion of a song.
We signed to Hyperdub because we wanted a record label that loved music. Steve Goodman from Hyperdub along with Marcus who runs the label are big thinkers and even more importantly are true music aficionados. I honestly think they put out music they like, whatever the genre, once it’s good. We had other offers but we wanted to be at a label that wasn’t run by committees of people who have no clue who Lee Perry is. What we didn’t know is how much affinity we’d have to all the other artists signed to the label. We are such big fans of Cooly G, Hype Williams, Kode 9 and Spaceape, and when ever we play the same stage with these guys it’s all love.
Kevin and I are committed vegetarians whereas Kiki is a flexitarian (a sometimes vegetarian). It often leads to the most un-rock and roll rider in history. Bottled water, organic fruit, salad, sandwiches. Kevin and I don’t even drink, which makes us even less rock and roll. Sometimes we even ask for dark chocolate and when we’re really pushing it out there we’d ask for some coca cola. That’s how rock and roll KMS is. WHAT?
Kiki is from Osaka Japan and over time we come into a lot of contact with the Japanese massive. One of our soundmen Goh Nakada (of Devilman) always has the latest gear. The Japanese director Hiroo made our documentary and Chimpei made us the video for the Gang Gang dance remix. Not to mention avant garde Osaka folky Kota. Also we have a tour of Japan coming soon.
Yes we know he sounds like Tenor Saw and Nitty Gritty, hey but we don’t care. Only the best of singers can sing over digital dub and make it sound sweet. INNA DIS A RUMBLE JUMBLE LIFE!!!!!
I used to joke with Kevin and Kiki that we have an addiction to changing the set list every time we’d play a new show. So we played a different show for a year and a half. There have been times that we have had an idea in jamming the day before a show and then became obsessed with doing the song in the set list the very next day which in my world is tantamount to madness. Then I found a quote from DJ Premier talking about the live show should shock excite and amaze the audience. This became a KMS credo for live shows, which made us look at certain songs again and whether they fit that DJ Premier philosophy. So our set list is now pretty set (though I know as I write this someone’s probably thinking about changing it again) and I would say that it’s a list that starts with our obsessions and passions and then becomes about the audience and their perception. The songs are complete in their listening.
When we play live we use a Midas Venice Desk. Now many people at shows seem to think that they can give us any old mixing desk. No, because Kevin knows this desk inside out and it’s his live instrument and play it well he does. I always look with mirth at the stage managers face as the tech spec is being waved in his face and the nearest Midas Venice is 90 km away…
We love it slow loud and heavy.