The ingenious guitarist and composer Kaki King will take the stage at this year’s Parklife taking place at Greenpoint stadium next month. We decided to chat with the American-born talent after seeing her captivating and interesting showcase at the Design Indaba last month. Here’s us picking King’s mind on our local talent, her work in film, and with Giorgia Lupi, Parklife & more.
MCBN: Thanks for taking the time to chat to us Kaki King, welcome to South Africa, you’re joining us for Parklife in Cape Town on the 17th of April. We’re incredibly excited for your gig, can you give us a taste of what to expect when you get on stage at the festival
Lots of crazy guitar playing that hopefully not many have seen before and a duet or two with Mr. Guy Buttery.
MCBN: We were lucky enough to see you at the Design Indaba where you were joining data analyst, Giorgia Lupi on stage. This was possibly the furthest possible place I would have thought of seeing you on stage, but it really gave me an understanding of you as an artist and your music. Can you give our readers a glimpse into your time with Giorgia and how music, design and data have all worked together to produce one beautiful piece of music?
It’s a long story but in a nutshell Giorgia and I collected data on our hands–what they touched, grabbed, held, and the things and feelings associated with that. Giorgia turned that data into a visualization. Then I wrote a song based on that first visualization. I then collected data about the actual song and gave it to Giorgia who created the final visualization that was seen at Design Indaba. It was a painstaking process and we learned a lot along the way about what works and what doesn’t work regarding data and music, but it’s an exercise that I definitely want to repeat because it was so beautiful and revealing.
MCBN: You did some incredible work in the film industry, what would you say would have to be your finest piece of work to date?
I played three notes over and over on one of the Twilight movies.
MCBN: It’s a cliché question but everyone has a different story, and we’d love to know yours. Tell us how it all begin for you and how did Kaki King come to life?
I had played guitar since childhood, but I was lonely and scared because 9/11 had just happened and living in NYC at the time was anxiety provoking to say the least. Also I was broke. So I started playing in the subway and people’s reaction was so positive I made my first album.
MCBN: How are you finding it here in South Africa so far? Are there any musicians/artists that have caught your eye while travelling here?
I was treated to a private concert with Derek Gripper and it massaged that part of my brain that is so hard to get to in the softest most ethereal way. He’s amazing. Can’t wait to hear all the local acts at festivals.
MCBN: It’s always hard to put an artist’s sound into one genre or category and listening to your work, it sounds like an even harder job to do. How would you describe your sound to the everyday person?
I tell them I play guitar, and if they ask what kind I say it’s complicated and if they really push the issue I say I play jazz and 99% of the time they stop talking to me.
MCBN: Who has been the most inspirational person to work with to date and why?
I don’t know the answer to this because just as I read it someone in a black vintage camero just rolled up to a stop sign. The car has been totally stripped of paint and whatever was underneath is matte black. The driver has a high collared coat and is wearing an actual 1850’s style top hat. I find this person inspirational and want to work with them in the future.
MCBN: Describe yourself in 3 words.
Tiny and sexy
MCBN: You really have pushed the boundaries as a solo artist with all your work. Can you let us in on any secrets for 2017? What’s next for Kaki King?
MCBN: Break down your live show for us, what genres do you cross and what instruments do you use while doing your live performance and tell us more about your visuals.
Not doing the visual perf this time around but hopefully next tour!
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