Super Smash Brother: Kid 606 destroys music with a laptop

Like whoa. Kid 606 is running through a Brave New World of electronic music like some bugged eyed Apple terrorist. This is a bleak future polluted with sharp, broken sounds, but it has irrefutably arrived, and like Sid Vicious going into convulsions, it’s bombed out glee for the sake of nothing. Well, actually…

Born Miguel Depedro, this fast talking 23-year old took up residence in San Diego, California after some kidhood spent in Caracas, Venezuela, and soon enough he was banging out “gabba Emo” on his laptop for the world to never hear. Commonly associated with IDM (intelligent dance music), Kid 606 stands out from the scene’s binary code encryption by individualizing his deconstructed compositions with humorous song titles like “It’ll Take Millions in Plastic Surgery to Turn Me Black,” “Now I Wanna Be a Cowboy,” and “Smack My Glitch Up.”

In truth, a surprising amount of Kid 606’s material does not rely on shock value via blatant noise. His 2000 release, P.S. I Love You, snapped nerds’ necks when it toiled against his punk-Tron image (something he loathes) by coinciding perfectly with its cover – a rendering of two Lego-like clouds. His last LP, The Action Packed Mentalist Brings You the Fucking Jams, was a highly sought after disc released through his Tigerbeat6 and Violent Turd labels that literally stole Missy Elliot and Jay-Z tracks and tortured them with elastic static.

While major labels are caught in a booby trap of licensing and technology, Kid 606 is way ahead of them, ducking and weaving independently, making songs like “MP3 Killed the CD Star.” Tongue in cheek or not, his style is double clicking on the informational rapidity of ideas like few artists/businesses in modern music.

This is a Life & Art interview with Kid 606 before his performance at Revolver last Friday.

Q: Would you/could you ever do the soundtrack to an Anime flick?
K606: It’s funny, I just got asked. This new type Anime magazine in Texas, they import all of this weird stuff like Devil Girl, even like Sailor Moon and sci-fi; they were, like, “Yo, you wanna do some licensing?” I was watching some of the videos they sent to our office, and some of it was, like, crazy porn – which is weird because they have Anime porn for girls – which is great – people get with that in Japan. So they’re going to pick a few songs and throw them on something.

Q: I’ve read that you have fans who e-mail you before a show saying they’re going to introduce themselves, but you never actually meet them – then a few days later, another e-mail pops up.
K606: That’s the weird IDM fan base contingent. Like, they’ll say, “Yo, I’m coming to your show, blah blah,” because everyone knows everyone’s e-mail address. I’ll e-mail them back saying, “Cool, yeah, say hi, what’s up,” and then I play the show and no one comes up, then I get an e-mail asking me if I saw them wearing a certain shirt that night. Then again, most people who like IDM don’t go to shows. It’s a weird thing – our fans are young and can’t get in, and most people into IDM don’t go out anyway. When I encounter people, they tend to explain how they’re friends make fun of me, but they stand up for me, or they’ll say, “I don’t like this record at all, or this record, or this record, I like this one.”

Q: Do you sense that listeners debate your records as if each one decides the fate of an entire movement?
K606: People totally think it’s planned out because they have time to think about it, and I don’t. If I honestly thought about what I was doing I couldn’t do it. That’s why you see musicians with wide creative gaps in their careers – its self-consciousness and also mid-life crisis shit, really unnecessary. I don’t read the press either, I used to, but it completely manipulated all my thoughts and ruined a lot of artists around me. I read stupid shit like The Source – Benzino versus Eminem (laughs).

Q: Have you ever had a nerd stalker?
K606: Yeah, but just Internet stalkers.

Q: What are the next really important releases for Tigerbeat 6?
K606: There’s this record coming up, it means the world to me, it’s with Kevin Martin from Techno Animal, it’s called the Bug. It’s all ragged dance hall stuff, it’s got Daddy Freddy, who was once ranked as the world’s fastest MC – the Bug is the illest stuff on earth. The next DJ/Rupture record is next level – it’s all original stuff. I have two records coming out as well, one on Ipecac and one on Tigerbeat, and they’re totally different.

Q: Did you play a lot of Tetris as a kid?
K606: I don’t play video games often, but that’s my favorite game. I love flying to Japan because they have Tetris in the planes and everyone’s like “tschka, tshcka.”

Q: What’s your favorite shape to slam down into a gap and wipe out everything?
K606: (pauses) The T.

Q: Visually, what do you extract from your music?
K606: My dad’s a filmmaker and I definitely think about visuals a lot. But just because it’s electronic music, I don’t feel that I need to put a visual behind it. I have to justify my music, and the only stuff I want to release is the music that sounds totally different. I notice that people in Miami making electronic music are weirdly secluded, they don’t want to squash each other, but for me it raises the stakes – it’s a form of flattery, almost a beneficial marketing ploy. The reason why Autechre got bigger than Aphex Twin is more people were imitating Autechre – it was a simpler thing to try and do. One person doing something, no matter how amazing, is only one person – one person doing something with a thousand imitators is a fucking scene, it’s a culture.

Q: Back to films, which most accurately paints the future?
K606: Good question. Shit cakes. Everyone hated it, but I actually thought Vanilla Sky was pretty good. Dude, Battlefield Earth – the most inaccurate future depiction. Do you know how Scientology got Dianetics onto the bestseller list? It happened in Miami. They were basically having their people buy the books out of the bookstore – buying their own books – so it would be a hit, like cheating on Soundscan like Def Jam’s always doing. But…Vanilla Sky, what happens in it, I definitely see people putting money into. Like with Blade Runner, I don’t see all of our efforts being put into nice architecture – bullshit – people are going to put money into crazy drugs, long life, cloning – pleasure – not “Future World” and living on Mars.

For more info visit www.tigerbeat6.com.

Hunter Stephenson can be reached at hurricaneaccent@hotmail.com.

January 28, 2003


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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