KLAPP KLAPPING: FYF FEST 2014

It was after 6pm when I parked at the California Science Center. A brisk walk and 20 minutes later the familiar sonic textures of Swedish band Little Dragon’s “Klapp Klapp” slowly echoed with increased volume down Vermont as I stalked the entrance. The band closed with Only One, a slow burner from their latest album Nabuma Rubberband as I made my way toward the stage dubbed “The Lawn”. Not a second after the final note played, a few thousand people moved away from the stage in unison, creating that well known stampede like festival shuffle. Frogger.

My VIP pass and suave speech didn’t get me backstage as initially hoped. Suddenly, the band’s manager appeared out of nowhere, as if God willed it to be so. Front woman Yukimi Nagano posed for snaps with fans while patiently waiting for security to approve backstage privileges for her mom. Dead ass. Upon seeing the band, hugs and smiles circulated with talk of family and sprouting children, the lost art of making full length albums, and their recent 7 days around the world, including multiple dates in Japan, Australia, and the west coast. They were exhausted but exceedingly gracious, genuinely pleased and looking forward to more. Before being whisked away to eat and rest, Yukimi mentioned how LA’s beloved palm trees make the band feel like they’re on vacation. She then introduced me to her mother, who promptly thanked me for my support. Smile.

 

Stuck in Blackberry mode with a smartphone in hand, I headed toward the front to grab a program. I heard my name shouted through the crowd and spotted fellow KCRW DJ, Raul Campos. He chuckled and reminded me I could download the handy FYF app. While chasing down the rest of his posse, we attempted to catch the last of Todd Terje’s set with no luck, absorbed the ‘boom bap’ of El­P and Killer Mike’s Run The Jewels collab, toured a couple of beer gardens, and hit a pretzel stand near the main stage as Julian Casablancas & The Voidz broke into to some classic punk bass lines and David Byrne tinged vocal inflections. “Hipsters Don’t Kill” was a friends comment after I mentioned feeling safer than usual at an LA event. All guffawed. We discussed pros and cons, like the opportunity for better organization, more art and whimsy, but mostly expressed sentiments of pride and appreciation being this was the first FYF at the Sports Arena.

We trekked back around, hoping to peep English shoegazers Slowdive. On the way I ended up meeting a cousin I never knew. Long story, small world. My new cuz and I exchanged info before we parted ways. The rest of my time was spent being indecisive about food trucks, soaking up Tycho’s modulated waves of bliss, and enjoying some rare psych rock selections from KCRW’s Travis Holcombe from the main stage. Would I do it again? F Yeah.

Photos by: Eric Reid

INTERVIEW: ALEX DA KID + MADE UNDERGROUND

 

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We love to focus on an abundance of creatives at LA CANVAS: from behind the scenes glam team squads and cultural tastemakers, to bustling fashion events and in-depth interviews with chefs, getting to talk to the brain child behind the art is simply what makes us tick.

Recently, Budweiser celebrated MADE Underground with a special screening and acoustic performance by X Ambassadors and Jamie N Commons in Malibu, and yes, we attended yet another epic music collaboration.

In Los Angeles, everyone’s doing something big, but being nominated for numerous Grammy Awards with top-notch hits under your belt at a young age naturally sets you apart. While sitting alongside tiki torches with the ocean at our feet, we chatted up the inspiring young gent behind Kid In A Korner Records, Alex Da Kid. His transparency in conversation revolved around one thing: gratitude. Read on and see this young mogul talk shop on Rihanna, what it takes to make a hit song and why you need to get rid of all distractions if you really want to get made:

LA CANVAS MAGAZINE: What are the roots that make up your record label, Kid In A Korner?

ALEX DA KID: The roots are first we want to penetrate popular culture. That’s the whole point of what we’re doing. To move culture. I want to re-focus on artist development. I think the industry is changing. There’s so much more responsibility on the artist themselves to develop themselves and I want to help with that. That’s the foundation of what I’m trying to do.

LAC: What’s the method behind the name?

ADK: I’m Alex da Kid, and I’ve been in a corner most of my life. I feel like the most successful people I’ve met have all been obsessive and I think you kind of have to be like somewhat of a loner to be that. You can’t be super social with a million different crowds and you kind of have to have time to reflect by yourself. Everyone I sign is somewhat similar in that respect. They’re kind of in a corner. Plus, it kind of sounded cool so I went with it.

LAC: Give us some details on what it is you exactly do in the industry.

ADK: I write and produce music first and foremost. Now I’m expanding: I publish and sign bands, I have my own record label management company and acquisitions company. I do a lot of different things but ultimately, as I said before, the goal is to move culture and do cutting edge projects.

https://soundcloud.com/kidinakorner/jungle-from-the-film-welcome

LAC: Let’s talk Budweiser and music. 

ADK: Budweiser has been great in supporting a bunch of things we’ve been doing. We just shot a superbowl commercial with Skyler [Grey] this year and we’ve been working a lot together for future projects. We’re doing this Made Underground thing that showcases basking culture and how we can maybe bring that into professional recording and seeing whatthe differences are. The tour is going to be insane. It’s Jamie N. Commons and The X Ambassadors both did jungle together which has pretty much been in every commercial this summer. It’s really taken off.  A big part of what I do when I sign people I definitely work on the live show and make sure that it’s good. It’s a huge part of the artistry.

LAC: You’ve been nominated for numerous Grammy awards. What’s that vibe like? 

ADK: The Grammy thing is kind of insane cause now I’m on the board of The Grammys so I nominate people! Being in England and looking at this from afar and to be able to have influence over The Grammys and to push agendas with them is really cool. I’m just blessed and excited about the future.

LAC: What role did you step into when first entering the music industry? 

ADK: It was always about producing. My whole thing was about how I would get the best results for a song. Then there’s the music and how it sounds. Also, it’s about the song, and I write more and more now. At the foundation of everything it has to be a good song and how it challenges people and makes them think. I’m all about it.

LAC: You’re responsible for producing singles like, “I Need A Doctor” by Dre, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons and the explosive mega-hit, “Love The Way You Lie” by Eminem featuring Rihanna. What are your creative techniques behind each tune you turn out?

ADK: It’s different for every artist, but what tends to happen is that I write the music, I have a beat and an idea for the chorus or a concept for a song, and I’ll take that to the artist and see what happens from there. I try to put as much of the blueprint as possible down. It comes from conversation, too. I’ll talk for days in the studio with these artists to understand their life and perspective and I’ll go away and kind of think about songs that would challenge them and their fans. I’ll also research what they’ve done before, especially if they’re more established, and I’ll come back and have loads of ideas and they may like one or two and may not like others. We’ll keep refining things until it all makes sense.

LAC: Who are some artists that inspire you? 

ADK: I love Pearl Jam. I love Jay-Z. I love Biggy. I love so many different types of music, it’s very hard to narrow it down. So many, for so many different reasons.

LAC: Who do you want to work with that you haven’t yet?

ADK: I love to do things that are outside the box. I would love to do a song with Pearl Jam and Jay-Z for example. I’d like to be the first to try things that haven’t been done before, and try to make it make sense.

LAC: What are you currently working on? 

ADK: I’m working on Rihanna’s album. Mainly focusing on the things happening on my label. I respect all that Rihanna does. I’m kind of focusing a little bit on that and everything signed to me. I give all of my attention to my artists. They deserve it. I’m kind of focusing a little bit on that and everything signed to me.

LAC: Best advice you’d give to the young producers out there:

ADK: If you’ve got a girlfriend, get rid of her. If you’ve got any friends, get rid of them. Make your whole entire life music. Get rid of all distractions. You’ve got to be single minded especially in the first years. Be all into it. I’m still trying to find a balance in my life: I don’t really have a personal life and I’m trying to figure that out and work obsessively. It’s not easy.

LAC: What would you say to yourself, right now, ten years from now?

ADK: I would say I’m extremely happy and don’t let anything get in the way of that. Be very uncompromising with your happiness. I wake up everyday really happy, and I wouldn’t want anything to change. Happiness is always in the forefront of what I do.