KID BE KID, Björk, FKA twigs, Grimes
KID BE KID, Björk, FKA twigs, Grimes

Interview with earnest musician KID BE KID

Image credit: KID BE KID

KID BE KID is a musician who embraces imperfection. Based in Berlin, Germany, the Fun In The Church label signee has combined spoken word poetry and beatboxing with her hybrid production style, a combination of piano and synths, to create an ever-changing patchwork of human aesthetic, a song titled ‘Naked Times’. She has also announced a new album, Truly A Life Goal But No Ice Cream, available on the 9th of June.

Stream ‘Naked Times’ on SpotifyiTunes

To her, as she reveals in the interview, the flaws imbue the music with a live feeling, mimicking the natural ‘unknowns’ that arise during a live show. That is, her music is purposefully imperfect. These imperfections bolster the underlying theme of vulnerability and rawness she brings to her performance style as well as her latest record, fitting, seeing as she will be touring later this year. And that’s where our conversation begins:

How did the production of ‘Naked Times’ come together?

‘Naked Times’ came out as a double release. There is the album version on the streaming platforms and the live performance of the song on Youtube. The live version contains a synthesizer solo on a groove part and an additional grand piano. the album version does not contain a piano but has more voices. The essence of the arrangement of the song is the same: minimalistic. A clear hook line on the synth, spoken words, vocals and beatboxing, which I used as a basis for the beat. after I recorded the beat with mouth percussion, I added synthetic drum sounds. The high hats show that It’s actually beatboxing. And the flow of the beat is very human, imperfect, not quantized; just the way I perform it live. In the end, I recorded my four instruments–voice, beatbox, piano and synth–and then produced them.

You set out on tour in mid-March. At which venue are you most excited to perform?

I can’t reveal all the venues yet because not all of them have been announced yet. There will be some exciting venues. But I can reveal that I will be playing the Cully jazz in Switzerland on 18th April 2023. The lineup includes exciting acts like the London Afrobeat Collective, Avishai Cohen, and Michael Mayo, so I feel very honoured to be in the main programme, to be there as one of the main artists.

Tell us about your year so far, are there any highlights?

I had this exciting video shoot for ‘Naked Times’ (a live version of the first single from my upcoming album). Since I was managing it myself, I had to organize the video team, the studio, and the sound recording and write and practice the live arrangement at the same time. Playing four instruments simultaneously just means that your brain has to work at its best all the time, like 150%, even though you know, you can’t do that all the time. But it’s just pushing the limits of what’s possible and scratching at them is what I enjoy. 

Imagine you practice playing the piano part of a song. then you learn the vocals. Third, you learn to beatbox the beat. Fourth, you play the bass and chords on the synthesizer. Like this. And now, all together! Both your hands will work, your lips, your vocal folds, your tongue, your breathing, your feet for the pedals, so your brain has to switch very quickly from one spot to the other. I’d be lying if I said this was easy. So it’s a small success every time. No. It’s a big success. Because when I start to feel comfortable with a song and can focus on the real thing again: the lyrics, the content, the message, the mood, the emotions. Then I am ready to play for my audience and be there as a human not only as a musician. 

Describe your latest release.

‘Naked Times’ is the first single of my upcoming album. Actually, the idea was born with the help of two friends. The first event causing the song was a friend telling me he had seen me naked on stage, meaning he felt that I was like an open book. The lines “Here I am strippin’ straight in front of your eyes,” tells us, “Well, whatever happens, I am me and I am ok with you seeing me without a protective shield.” I kind of enjoy an uncompromising attitude toward myself when I am on stage. I mean, what should I lie about? The most beautiful thing I can give to my audience is a moment of trust. 

The second event was me and a bunch of friends going swimming naked in an ice-cold river. 

It was something natural, informal, and humorous. We celebrated the whole thing by shouting “Naked Times” over and over again. When we got to the mountain where we were staying, I asked what I should write about. A friend said to me “Naked Times”. And all of a sudden the lyrics just gushed out of me. In the song, nudity stands for honesty, for direct access to life, for real people instead of fake profiles.

What does success look like to you?

I don’t know. I question this many times. I think if we talk about success in music there is a funny story I can tell. I once went to a home party of friends. There I got to know a guy who told me he was a very successful musician. I was imagining him having ten and thousands of fans, playing in huge halls, having millions of streams and so on. After a while, I asked him, what exactly he meant by being successful. He explained to me that he and his band are playing cover songs and are booked a lot for weddings so they make good money. And at this moment I understood that you can define yourself by what success means to you.

My goals are relatively high for the kind of non-mainstream music I do. I want to reach a lot of people because music is there to be heard. I played wonderful shows, small ones and big ones, but I still feel that I am not there yet. Maybe the meaning of success also changes once you reach a step in your career and you want more? But no, I think I’ve known for a long time what I would call success for myself: going on a world tour and the day it’s announced the tickets sell out like hotcakes.

Do you allow current events to impact your creativity or do you prefer to focus on the abstract?

Everything that happens in my life has a direct impact on my creative work. Of course, like everyone else, you have to isolate yourself from time to time and not read the news. Otherwise, the thoughts keep going outwards and have no time to turn inwards. Especially if you are highly sensitive like me. But apart from the excess of information on the internet, everything that I experience influences and inspires or de-inspires me. 

Sometimes I feel like a sponge absorbing everything. While others go to sleep peacefully and have long since forgotten what we were talking about, I still think about it for hours and at best I can write a poem out of it, which maybe later becomes a song. Of course, this hyper-sensitivity is also felt in my music in a sensual way, but if I’m honest, I’d like to swap places with someone who is less sensitive for a day. I would just be interested in how it is, and maybe then I could better understand why who acts how. For example, right now at this moment, I think maybe I write too much about myself and think too little about others. But the interview is about me, so the right moment to take up space, to spread yourself, right? Maybe that’s why I’m wearing a jacket with oversized broad shoulders in the ‘Naked Times’ video?

What does an ideal day look like to you?

Oh, I think it doesn’t exist. If there would be peace and justice for everybody on the planet then we could start talking about an ideal day. But ‘til then, a good day is waking up and getting a sweet kiss, feeling healthy and powerful, and making something I like to do and less of what I don’t like to do. Then some fun! Laughing. And then a good night kiss. So more or less what my life looks like or how I try to live my life. I am very thankful for that. You could call that success if you wanted, but I call it luck and privilege.

What is the boldest thing that you have ever done?

Nothing really. I would say, I speak up when I see some unfairness around me. I always did that. When I was a school kid, I raised my hand and spoke out loud that there was some unfairness against some other kids. Of course I could do that without a lot of danger as a white well-educated kid. So I can not really say, I was bold at all. I just open my mouth and I try to be aware when bullshit happens around me against other humans. I am talking about daily life and the little things that you can do each time or not do each time you see something that is not ok.

Describe your relationship with your fans.

It’s hard to say what kind of relationship we have. Because it’s not a real relationship, even though other artists claim it is. I think we have a good time at the concerts. We become a crew that celebrates the evening with full devotion. My fans are very respectful. When they come to me and ask me questions, unpleasant drawers are rarely opened. Mostly my fans are very likeable and empathetic or funny or curious. But of course I only know them for brief moments. I entrust a lot to them on stage, my life, my feelings, my thoughts on controversial topics, that will also be exciting with the new album, because I always criticize myself, but also our society, and with topics that hardly anyone can get away from if they are honest with themselves. But I have a lot of trust in my fans because I know that they are also interested in my music because it’s not just light fare. Nevertheless, I have to say that with the new album, I have managed to create a much more positive work, which also brings dance vibes and a motivating view of life. Criticism can also come with a smile, at least about yourself. We also need light times in our lives, and I hope I can pass something on to my listeners.

What can we expect from you in the months to come?

Music, music, music. Next single, ‘News Feed’, will drop on the 17th of March 2023. A few more singles and then my new album on June 9th 2023. I’ll play shows in Europe, check my tour dates and come and listen.

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