Eric San (born December 5, 1974), who records under the name Kid Koala, is a Canadian DJ, turntablist, musician and an author of graphic novels. He is signed to the British record label Ninja Tune, is a member of alternative hip hop supergroup Deltron 3030, and The Slew with Dynamite D and former members of the Australian rock band Wolfmother, bassist and keyboardist Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett. He has also made appearances with many other artists from Amon Tobin to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and has made contributions to Lovage, Peeping Tom, Gorillaz and numerous other projects.
Early life and education
San attended Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, but graduated from Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School, in Rockville, Maryland, U.S., and went on to study elementary education at McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec.
San began by distributing copies of his demo tape Scratchcratchratchatch to students living in residence at McGill. He is well known for his enigmatic style of turntablism, which uses an unusual collection of samples. He has used samples of music from Charlie Brown television specials, old comedy sketch routines (including those that mock turntablism), people sneezing, and people reading a menu in Cantonese. His concerts feature his cheerful demeanor and include humorous elements.
In 2000, San released his album, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. He designed and illustrated the cover for this and his later albums. A comic book he drew is included as the liner notes. Following the release of the album, Kid Koala embarked on an extensive tour, during which he opened for a number of musicians, including Radiohead and Björk. The cabaret-style tour throughout North America, Europe and Australia, known as The Short Attention Span Theatre, featured an unpredictable opening act—three Djs (Kid Koala, P-Love, and DJ Jester the Filipino Fist) on eight turntables set up like a band, and a bingo game at intermission among other quirky surprises. Following this tour Kid Koala has performed DJ sets in Asia, as well as in Iceland, Eastern Europe, Russia, and South America whilst working on a new book (apparently about a mosquito trying to play a clarinet) and a puppet show set to take place in 2008.
San released a full length graphic novel, Nufonia Must Fall, which includes a soundtrack CD he composed. Some of my Best Friends are DJs includes a chess set as part of the packaging. In June 2014, the Kid Koala's Nufonia Must Fall Live made its world premiere at Toronto's Luminato Festival. Directed by K.K. Barrett, recently Oscar-nominated for Her, this live adaptation of the graphic novel unfolds via a real-time filming of more than a dozen miniature stages and a cast of puppets. San and the Afiara Quartet provide live scoring on piano, strings and turntables. San also has another project debuting at Luminato Festival entitled The Lost Train, a collaboration between San and Joe Beef's Chef Frédéric Morin. The two joined together to create a series of "imaginary journeys with real food and music", inspired by their respective passion for trains. Taking place at a secret location, the experience will remain a mystery with the guests being taken to an undisclosed location, and will feature a specially created course by Morin and a live set of entirely new material by Kid Koala.
San popularized a method of playing the turntable like a melodic instrument, where a long, single note is dragged under the needle at different speeds, creating different pitches. Since this method of adjusting pitch is imprecise, the resulting notes waver and bend. Thus, in the song "Drunk Trumpet," San uses this method with a trumpet note to simulate a drunken trumpet player, interspersing drunken vocals to complete the effect.
When playing live, San often uses records cut with custom sounds from which he creates his own songs.
San released the Kid Koala album, entitled Your Mom's Favorite DJ (ZENCD127), on 25 September 2006.
As of October 2006 San was married and had recently embarked on a 90-city tour.
In 2008 he toured as the opening performer for DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist's "The Hard Sell" tour where he ended his set with a now legendary mix of "Moon River" where he essentially creates and edits in an extended violin solo by playing various long violin notes from the song's instrumental section at different pitches on four turntables, all live.
During San Diego Comic-Con 2010, Kid Koala performed before a special free showing of the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The next year at Comic-Con, he performed before a special premiere of the television series NTSF:SD:SUV::.
In June 2013, his studio album 12 bit Blues was longlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize.
In early 2017 San released an album, Music To Draw To: Satellite, in collaboration with Icelandic singer Emilíana Torrini.
- 1996: Scratchcratchratchatch - mixtape demo album, limited to 500 copies and initially released on cassette only.
- 2000: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- 2003: Some of My Best Friends Are DJs
- 2006: Your Mom's Favorite DJ
- 2012: 12 Bit Blues
- 2017: Music To Draw To: Satellite
EPs and singles
- 1996: Scratchappyland - selections from the "Scratchcratchratchatch"
- 2000: Emperor’s Main Course In Cantonese
- 2003: Basin Street Blues
- 2012: 2 bit Blues x 6 bit Blues
- 2017: Collapser (feat. Emilíana Torrini)
- 2005: Live from the Short Attention Span Audio Theater Tour!! - 5 track live EP with accompanying DVD containing the video of the live performance plus 4 Music videos
- 2003: Nufonia Must Fall - Graphic novel with accompanying 17 minute audio CD (ECW Press)
- 2011: Space Cadet - Graphic novel with accompanying soundtrack CD (Uni Books)
- 2010: Solid Steel: Music To Draw To...
- 1997: Coldcut - More Beats And Pieces (Obsessive Behaviour Version)
- 1998: DJ Vadim - Vad Forgive Me (Bullfrog Kid Koala Mix)
- 2001: Kalyanji-Anandji - Third World Lover (Kid Koala and Dynamite D remix)
- 2002: Fog - Check Fraud (Kid Koala's Space Cadet E002 Mix)
- 2003: Amon Tobin - Untitled with Kid Koala
- 2004: Lederhosen Lucil - Semi-Sweet
- 2004: Noveltones - The Gonk
- 2005: The Free Design - An Elegy (Kid Koala and Dynamite D remix)
- 2005: Yusef Lateef - Bamboo Flute Blues (Kid Koala Remix)
- 2007: Pierre Lapointe - 25-1-14-14
- 2008: Jack Johnson - Angel
- 2009: Bell Orchestre - Icicles / Bicycles (Kid Koala Remix)
- 2011: Amon Tobin - Ruthless (Kid Koala Remix)
- 2013: Emeli Sandé and the Bryan Ferry Orchestra - Crazy In Love (Kid Koala Version)
- 2013: Trixie Whitley - Irene (Kid Koala Remix)
- 2001: Gorillaz - Gorillaz (Parlophone)
- 2004: Handsome Boy Modeling School - White People (Elektra)
- 2006: Peeping Tom (band) - s/t (Ipecac Recordings)
- 2007: Josh Haden - Devoted (Diamond Soul Recordings)
- 1998: Bullfrog - Bullfrog Theme (Independent)
- 2000: Bullfrog - EP1 (Independent)
- 2000: Bullfrog - EP2 (Independent)
- 2000: Deltron 3030 - Deltron 3030 (75 Ark)
- 2000: Deltron 3030 - Virus (75 Ark)
- 2001: Deltron 3030 - Deltron 3030: The Instrumentals (75 Ark)
- 2001: Deltron 3030 - Positive Contact (75 Ark)
- 2001: Lovage - Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By (75 Ark)
- 2001: Lovage - Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By: The Instrumentals (75 Ark)
- 2001: Bullfrog - s/t (Ropeadope Records)
- 2004: Bullfrog / Robertson - Deeper Shade of Green (Independent)
- 2007: Martin Tétreault & Kid Koala - s/t (Phon-O-Victo)
- 2009: The Slew - 100% (Puget Sounds)
- 2013: Deltron 3030 - Event 2 (Bulk Recordings)
- 2005: Strum (short) - Original music
- 2005: A Girl's Guide to Modern Dating (short) - Original music
- 2006: Jaime Lo, Small and Shy (short) - Original music
- 2010: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (feature) - Contributor to the original score
- 2013: The Great Gatsby