In our new music feature, Origins, artists have the opportunity to share the inspirations for their latest single.
Breakdance battle video game Floor Kids is the natural evolution of music games like Dance Dance Revolution. It combines stylized, hand-drawn graphics by award-winning animator JonJon with original music by legendary scratch DJ and producer Kid Koala, aka Eric San, to capture the essence of breaking as an artform. On April 27th, Kid Koala will release the Floor Kids Original Video Game Soundtrack, featuring 71 minutes of original instrumental hip-hop and break music from the game.
As a preview of the 42-track collection, Kid Koala has shared the new single “Build Your Crew”. Featuring spacy synths and a dusty sound inspired by ‘90s West Coast hip-hop, the track is designed to match the style of JonJon’s drawing of a cityscape. Kid Koala played drums, bass, guitar, hammond organ, and turntables on the song, but his favorite layer comes from the Baldwin Syntha-Sound, which the producer describes as “a very strange, wild, and warbly old ‘home’ synthesizer with a built-in speaker!”
The accompanying video pans across JonJon’s animated city landscape before providing encouragement and instructions for players of the game. JonJon describes the clip as “an ode to the magic that we accessed as we delved further into the rabbit hole and dialed into our inner limits of productivity during our final weeks finishing up the Floor Kids game.”
Check out the video below.
To break down the inspiration behind “Build Your Crew”, Kid Koala has shared the Origins of the track.
JonJon’s Floor Kids animations:
I met JonJon over 10 years ago when we were both working on projects at the National Film Board. I always dug his hand-drawn animation style. He showed me an early animation test he had done of the Noogie character doing some swipes and six step cycles. I was so amazed just flipping through the pages how well he understood the dance moves and how he could break them down into frames like he has. There was an obvious beat even in those early animation tests. JonJon is a bboy himself and spent most of his time after work at break practice. It still amazes me that he can animate different characters that each have their unique style and swing even if they’re doing the same move cycle! That’s attention to detail on a whole other level! When working on the music to the Floor Kids video game, I was basically just trying to “score to picture” and provide some sounds to match this amazing hand-drawn universe that he created for the game.
Grandmaster Flash in Wild Style:
This is one of my favorite scenes from Wild Style. There’s not much else to be said about this film that hasn’t been said already, but for me, it’s a legendary film and was a great inspiration for a kid. Plus, it features this footage of this great turntable innovator! Grandmaster Flash doing his thing!! I’m actually still using a mixer that he designed!
Kinuyo Yamashita — Castlevania soundtrack:
I spent many hours with my small crew of friends trying to finish this game when we were in grade school. The music that Ms. Yamashita created for the game was pretty much the soundtrack of my life for a good year and a half! It was also the first time I really took note of the music in a video game. Even when it was one of my friends turn to play, I would have just as much fun grooving along to the music. I love all the themes she composed for each level and especially liked the music for the boss levels! It all works so well together. Even the menu music rocked! My brain is full of so many of her ear worms!
Coldcut — “Beats And Pieces”:
At my local shop, this record cost twice as much as other records because it was an import all the way from the U.K.! But the moment I heard it, my life kind of changed course. Back then, I had a paper route and could only afford to buy 1 or maybe 2 records a week. I would spend the next several days practicing scratches and trying to learn how to juggle the tracks (after I’d finished my homework of course!). I love the journey this track takes you on. I’ve pretty much memorized all the drops and rotations on this record. It’s always in my crate! It was also kind of my “secret weapon” record when I entered my first few DJ battles.
I found this very strange “home synthesizer” while I was on tour. It has a built-in speaker and a very strange layout with some strange wooden bar controls on it. It’s so clunky and weird and the portamento and filter on it are somehow smooth and funky at the same time. I played it on a few tracks on the Floor Kids video game including the Build Your Crew menu music.
Kid Koala will support the release of the Floor Kids OST with his “Vinyl Vaudeville: Floor Kids Edition” tour, a special expanded version of his road-tested variety show including a traveling arcade. It kicks off on April 26th in Montreal and will hit cities including Toronto, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Brooklyn, New York before concluding in Boston on May 19th. Check out Kid Koala’s complete touring docket below.
Kid Koala 2018 Tour Dates:
03/22-24 – Knoxville, TN @ Big Ears Festival *
03/25 – Knoxville, TN @ Big Ears Festival (DJ)
04/13-14 – Nashville, TN @ Oz Arts Nashville *
04/17 – Chicago IL @ Art Institute of Chicago *
04/18 – Chicago IL @ Art Institute of Chicago *
04/26 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre
04/27 – Toronto, ON @ Mod Club Theatre
04/28 – Detroit, MI @ El Club
04/29 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom
04/30 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Cedar Cultural Center
05/03 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos
05/04 – Vancouver, BC @ Venue
05/05 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
05/07 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
05/08 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent Theater
05/10 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
05/12 – Austin, TX @ 3TEN ACL
05/13 – Dallas, TX @ AT&T Performing Arts Center
05/15 – Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall
05/16 – Washington, DC @ Union Stage
05/17 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
05/18 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere Hall
05/19 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
* = w/ Satellite Turntable Orchestra