Slacker Logo


Kid Koala

Chinese-Canadian turntablist and illustrator Kid Koala was born Eric San in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1974. Classically trained on the piano, San instead put his fingers to work on a pair of Technics 1200s starting in the late '80s. He was a college pub DJ and bedroom turntable manipulator for nearly a decade before landing a recording deal with U.K. experimental hip-hop duo Coldcut's Ninja Tune imprint in 1997. San's eclectic approach to sound collage is actually closer to the latter's far-flung beat experiments than the old-school New York and L.A. references that most often form the canon of the scratch DJ's art. It's also a circle-closer of sorts: San's nascent mixing aesthetic was influenced early on by classic Coldcut records such as "(Hey Kids) What Time Is It?" and their "7 Minutes of Madness" massacre of Eric B. & Rakim's "Paid in Full." The coincidence of Koala signing to his heroes' label, despite the fact that it was based thousands of miles away, and home mostly to instrumental trip-hop and computer funk producers, was less a coincidence than it would at first appear. San managed to arrange an "inadvertent" car ride with the group when their label's Stealth tour passed through Montreal in 1996, making sure his mixtape, Scratchcratchratchatch, was in the car stereo well beforehand. Excerpts from that tape doubled as Kid Koala's solo debut Scratchappyland when Ninja Tune, duly impressed, released it as a 10" in July 1997. Koala also appeared on the second volume of the Bomb's Return of the DJ compilation with his track "Static's Waltz," another excerpt from his mixtape. Subsequent Ninja Tune releases included Kid Koala remixes of DJ Food's "Scratch Yer Head" and (fittingly) Coldcut's classic "Beats and Pieces." From there, Koala became a major member of the Ninja Tune roster, as he released several warmly received projects, nearly all of which featured his own comic book-style illustrations. His first full-length, the bewildering yet seamless Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (2000), was quickly regarded a turntablism classic. After collaborations with Dan the Automator, Gorillaz, and Deltron 3030, as well as participating in the jazz-funk group Bullfrog, he released a solo follow-up, Some of My Best Friends Are DJ's (2003). He also released a graphic novel titled Nufonia Must Fall, which was packaged with a soundtrack CD. Live from the Short Attention Span Audio Theater (2005) was a brief CD/DVD set, quickly trailed by the mixtape-style Your Mom's Favorite DJ (2006). Something of a diversion, Phon-O-Victo (2007) found Koala teaming with experimental turntablist Martin Tétreault. Koala also collaborated with turntablist Dynomite D and former members of Australian hard rock band Wolfmother for a side project called the Slew. Their debut album, 100%, was released in 2009. The subdued, piano-driven Space Cadet (2011) accompanied his graphic novel of the same title, inspired by the birth of his daughter. 12 Bit Blues (2012), perfectly titled, was made with an SP-1200 sampler and a multi-track recorder. Some pressings of the album were packaged with a kit to assemble a tiny hand-powered cardboard gramophone, as well as a 5" flexi-disc. In 2014, Koala premiered Nufonia Must Fall Live, a theatrical adaptation of his graphic novel, featuring a cast of puppets and a live score in collaboration with the Afaria Quartet. A limited picture disc LP of the production's music was released in 2015, and the show toured throughout the world, to much acclaim. In 2017, Koala released Music to Draw To: Satellite, an ambient pop full-length featuring Icelandic singer Emilíana Torrini. The album was Koala's first work to be devoid of samples -- he played and produced all the instruments himself, in addition to writing the lyrics. ~ Sean Cooper & Andy Kellman
Read More Read Less

Stations Featuring
Kid Koala

Albums by
Kid Koala

Top Songs by
Kid Koala

  1.   Song
  2.   Basin Street Blues
  3.   2 Bit Blues
  4.   Grandmaphone Speaks
  5.   No, Fantasy Island!
  6.   8 Bit Blues (Chicago to LA to NY)
  7.   Adrift
  8.   Strat Hear
  9.   Left Side: Start Heeeeears Koala/Stoppin' Traffic/Tracks Etc./Slewtest
  10.   On the Set of Fender Bender
  11.   Apoapsis
  12.   Third World Lover by Dynomite D
  13.   Denouement
  14.   Stompin' At Le Savoy
  15.   Roboshuffle
  16.   Photons
  17.   Transmission 1
  18.   1 Bit Blues (10,000 Miles)
  19.   Expedition: Page 45
  20.   3 Bit Blues
  21.   Page 275
  22.   Annie's Palour
  23.   Flu Season
  24.   Space Cadet 2
  25.   Naptime
  26.   Music For Morning People
  27.   Temple of Gloom
  28.   Right Side: Slew Test 2/Gimme a K!/Mosquito vs. Waterbuffalo/Slew Test
  29.   Elevator Hopper
  30.   Michel au Pays des Merveilles
  31.   L 'Ile aux Trésors?
  32.   Connectivity: Page 129
  33.   4 Bit Blues
  34.   Like Irregular Chickens
  35.   Main Title Theme: Open Your Book
  36.   10 Bit Blues
  37.   Strut Hear
  38.   9 Bit Blues
  39.   Barhopper 1
  40.   Skanky Panky
  41.   Drunk Trumpet
  42.   Beneath the Heat
  43.   Scurvy
  44.   Barhopper 2
  45.   More Dance Music
  46.   Negatron Speaks
  47.   Dawn: Page 97
  48.   6 Bit Blues
  49.   Pluto Attack (La Revanche des Exclus)
  50.   Remembrance: Page 10
  51.   Goodbye: Page 8
  52.   A Night at the Nufonia
  53.   11 Bit Blues
  54.   Nerdball
  55.   The Darkest Day
  56.   Satellite
  57.   The Hubble Constant
  58.   Collapser by Emiliana Torrini
  59.   Transmission 2
  60.   Novachord
  61.   The Observable Universe
  62.   Nightfall Pale Blue
  63.   7 Bit Blues
  64.   5 Bit Blues
  65.   Void: Page 86
  66.   Speed Of Light: Page 102
  67.   Return: Page 125
  68.   Hope: Page 115
  69.   Birthday: Page 71
  70.   The DJ Factory Turn Crazy
  71.   Godzilla a les Blues
  72.   Page 278
  73.   Vacation Island
  74.   Fender Bender
  75.   Epilogue
  76.   Slew Test 2
  77.   Window: Page 25
  78.   Fallaway
  79.   Drum-O-Scope
  80.   Recyclotron: Page 110
  81.   Perihelion
  82.   Cardboard Stars, Seashells: Page 100
  83.   Transmission 3
  84.   Emperor's Main Course in Cantonese
  85.   Today Tomorrow: Page 37
  86.   Radio Nufonia
  87.   Robochacha
  88.   Roll Credits

Artists Related to Kid Koala