THE ACTION-PACKED MENTALIST
"Most noise music is garbage," scoffs Kid 606. Thankfully, the schizophrenic techno upstart is the trash master.
Just who does Kid 606 think he is anyway? The Californian electronic monkeywrencher--barely old enough to buy liquor legally--has no respect for the sanctity of the artist-audience relationship or the comfortable, carefully maintained classifications of electro subgenres.
"I don't think music needs to be that precious," says the highly energetic and talkative Kid, born Miguel DePedro in Venezuela. "There's so much music that is better after a remix or in a different context."
His irreverence is apparent in his music: Blasts of white noise trade off with atmospheric meditations, and the whole mix is rife with sampled pop snippets, some subtle, some not. He incorporates the bouncy, crackling beats of IDM and the aggressive distortion of digital hardcore but throws in enough curve balls to keep convenient stylistic labels from sticking.
"I can't believe what [genres] I get thrown into," he complains, but then, in nearly the same breath, says, "It's so pretentious to say you can't be labeled. I want as many labels as possible...IDM, ghetto, punk, trash, dance, techno, soul, hip-hop. There's labeling the music, and then there's labeling the musician. I'll do tracks that sound like one thing, like gabber, but that doesn't mean I'm a gabber musician."
His schizophrenic style is probably linked to his eclectic tastes in music. A small sampling of the Kid's influences includes IDM glitchmeisters (Mouse on Mars, Autechre), classic fuzz-'n'-feedback bands (Godflesh, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Throbbing Gristle), punks (Sex Pistols, Minor Threat), hip-hop bangers (Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, NWA), neoclassical minimalists (Steve Reich, Gavin Bryars) and more. Being this "well-listened" is impressive enough, but considering he was in diapers when many of these bands were putting out albums makes it that much more so. Needless to say, he's not the sort to regularly purge his record collection. And he finds the fleeting popularity of musical flavors rather troubling.
"I like to think that I'm making music that is timeless rather than timely," he says. "Unfortunately, I think a lot of my fans are the sort that are only gonna listen to me now, and then are gonna move on to the next hip thing."
He also balks at the notion that all the good ideas have been taken: "I think it's really very easy to do something new. The hard thing is to do something new that's really good."
Dig the new breed. Ben Munat
Kid 606 appears this Friday as part of Binary 2, the electronic free-for-all happening at Portland State University, 1825 SW Broadway, 725-8940. 7 pm. $16, $14 PSU students with ID. 18+. See HeadOut, page 50, for complete lineup.
THE MUSIC MAN
Barry Hampton, Big Yeah and the "bluesy love thing."
Barry HamptonBarry Hampton isn't like other musicians. When he's making music, Hampton doesn't hide behind a faade of cool indifference like he would rather be doing anything but performing. No, when Barry Hampton makes music, he usually has a huge grin on his face that lets you know this guy is having a great time, in a place where no one can touch him.
"It's nice to be in that space," he says, "where you don't have any drama, and no one is talking shit, and all there is is the music."
Hampton, 33, is the Portland equivalent to James Brown--the hardest-working man in show business. He sings and plays guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, saxophone and harmonica, and "if they made sitars for left-handed people, I'd play that too," says Hampton with a laugh.
Nearly five years ago, he moved here from Baltimore to be closer to his children, and in that time he's become a recognizable face in the local music scene. He plays percussion for Jackie-O Motherfucker. He selects cuts from his 2,700-plus record collection when he DJs at Shanghai Tunnel on Wednesdays. And he can be frequently spotted at Dante's, where he spins discs between Black Angel sets and occasionally joins the soul band as a guest vocalist.
All of those other projects, however, take a back seat to Hampton's true passion: his band Big Yeah. Originally formed back in Baltimore as a three-man rock band in 1995, Big Yeah has gone through many changes over the years. Depending on the mood of the band--which includes Hampton on vocals and bass, Jef Brown on guitar, Kevin Erney on drums and Heidi Soll on keyboards--the sound of Big Yeah can lean toward rock or switch mid-set to a soulful R&B vibe.
But as the band continues to play more live shows, such as its regular first-Thursday residency at Bar XV, it' s beginning to find its own place in the Portland music scene.
"We've come to grips that we're not a rock band or a Black Angel-style band," says Hampton. He takes time to choose his next words carefully, hesitating slightly before continuing, "We're a lounge band. When you come to see Big Yeah, you don't really come to dance--you come to chill. Someone once told me that they like to have sex afterwards. That's about the best reaction we can get." David Walker
Barry Hampton performs with Big Yeah on Thursday at Bar XV, 15 SW 2nd Ave. 790-9090. 21+. Hampton also DJs every Wednesday night at Shanghai Tunnel and most Thursday nights at Dante's.
WHO'S BAD? WHO'S BAD? YA KNOW IT!
HISS and VINEGAR
BAD AZZ MOFO
The January 2002 issue of maxi-cerebral experimental music magazine The Wire proclaims the Jackie-O Motherfucker album Liberation--released on Portland's own Road Cone Records--to be the best avant-rock record of 2001 and among the top 50 records of the year overall. Yee-ha! In related JOMF news, Parallelism Records just unleashed U-Sound Volume 1, two discs of improvisational performances from the U-Sound Installation series, which is organized by JOMF's Tom Greenwood and involves a huge rotating cast of characters. Volume 1 was recorded in New York during a stretch in 1999; no word yet if/when the September 2001 series held here in town at the Blackbird will make it to disc.
NU-METAL SUPERSTARS ON...SONGWRITING:
"One riff is a song." --Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst (during his recent visit to Clackamas Guitar Center)
We recently received these sobering words from Joshua Cliburn, saxophonist for local jazz-funk mainstays Porterhouse: "It's with a lot of sorrow that I tell you all that a good friend and former Porterhouse bassist Steve Spring died of cancer at age 21 on Jan. 31. Steve was an interim bassist for Porterhouse for about six months in 2000; he left the group and moved to Ashland to be with his parents after discovering he had cancer. With a wonderful ear and enviable work ethic, Steve was a talented young bassist with ability beyond his years. His main influences were Jaco Pastorius and Rocco Prestia from Tower of Power, a band that he actually performed with in Hawaii after they found out about his illness from family friends. We called him 'Youngblood.' He was an incredibly talented young man and we'll miss him very much."
NU-METAL SUPERSTARS ON...WOMEN IN MUSIC:
"You know Mazzy Star? That girl is so hot." --Fred Durst (ditto)
I CLAIM THIS NIGHTCLUB IN THE NAME OF FRANCE!
As previously noted in Hiss & Vinegar, piano-pop singer Scott Fisher is headed off to Utah to participate in two music showcases linked to the Winter Olympics. Both are sponsored by the French Consulate--the 25-year-old Fisher spent part of his youth in France, while his mother teaches the language at PSU and is even Honorary Consul of France in Portland. According to attaché Gregory Douet-Lasne, "Our goal in Salt Lake is to promote French culture and language. We wanted a modern French/American sound. Some-one shiny, innovative, creative and sexy. Scott fit our needs perfectly." But before he jets down to Mormonland, Fisher will play a bon voyage gig in a new Portland nightclub--Stephanos Shadow Room--at 1135 SW Washington St., in the space previously occupied by the Frontline. The name of the event: "Soirée Franaise." Mais bien sr, baby.
NU-METAL SUPERSTARS ON...BANDMATES:
"John [Otto, Limp Bizkit drummer] doesn't know what he's doing. He smokes weed all day." --Fred Durst
Hochenkeit drummer Jason Funk recently departed Portland for the more ancient land of Japan (from whence, not too long prior, Hochenkeit guitarist Jeff Fuccillo had returned)...Cosmos Group guitarist and occasional WW freelancer Dewey Mahood just dropped the first issue of his new zine, Igloo...Keep your eyes peeled for releases by Tripleswift, I Can Lick Any SOB in the House, Woody Hite Big Band, the ever-prolific Minmae, and Mackabella (which features Calobo vocalist Michele Van Kleef).
Was that your drummer seen mackin' on Nelly Furtado? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.