Hailing from Washington DC, Arthur Kimskii is an artist who has devoted the past two decade to electronic music. Between Seoul, New York and Berlin, Kimskii has managed to clock up quite a bit of notoriety. Having enjoyed several successful years curating events in New York, Kimskii turned to production and label management before moving to Berlin. Now residing there, Kimskii channels in those international experiences into his production and label’s aesthetic, in L.A.G.
Chatting to Kimskii about all things inspiration and aspiration, we find out about the Tar and Feathered events, Kimskii’s debut solo EP, his collaboration with Cory James under Point Break, and his experiences in the electronic music scene over the past 20 years.
B. You were born in Washington DC, moved to Seoul, then to New York, before finally settling in Berlin. Did you make all these moves for music? I read on a handwritten event flyer for Tar & Feathered that who were moving to Berlin for a girl… Do you remember this flyer?
I was born in Washington D.C. and lived mostly in the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia,
I went to University in West Virginia and went back to Virginia for bout a year and a half before going to New York. None of my moves, including the ones to New York or Berlin really had to do with my music career. I moved to New York to pursue more training and a career as an actor. After about 5 years in this pursuit I realised that music was where my heart was.
Of course I remember that hand written note haha. We had stopped doing Tar & Feathered by that point and that was the invite for my going away party as well as the LAG002 release. Output hosted the event inside of Stilton House which is now Halcyon. Anyways, I still had to pack and I had a few shifts left at Buddakan NY so I just wrote the flyer and posted it. However going back to your original question I did move to Berlin for a relationship.
B. New York isn’t the first place that comes to mind for techno and is generally known for its house offerings instead; who were some of the artists from New York that you were listening to at the time?
I wasn’t really listening to a lot of house or techno during those days. I listened to a lot of 90’s hip hop, punk, indie pop and just about everything else. The NY techno artists that were influential to me are were/are Adam X and Steve Stoll. When I was started to listening to techno again I was digging a lot of the Ostgut Ton stuff from Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock, The Sandwell District label, and Mote Evolver..
B. Reading up on the Cabaret laws that had governed New York since the 20s was one of the most outrageous things I’ve read! From what I can gather, you lived in New York during this period where it was actually illegal to dance in a venue in New York that didn’t have a license. What was that experience like for you being a producer and event organiser of Tar and Feathered events?
We were quite lucky with those events. We hosted them mostly at The National Underground which was a space in the Lower East Side which was allowed somehow to go after-hours. Same with some of the lofts in Brooklyn – we just got kinda lucky. Going back to my days of throwing events in the nineties I found you get lucky when you hire security with the right connections to law enforcement.
B. Electronic music thrives in Berlin – especially techno – do you think your production style has changed now that you’re living there?
I think my production style is constantly changing and evolving, some of it is Just me improving and letting a lot of my punk, 50’s rock and roll/Soul and hip hop roots out in various ways. I’d say though living here has informed some of my style to. One of my friends told me that you could here both NY and Berlin in my solo record. I think there’s some truth to that.
B. You’ve recently released the fifth release on L.A.G, which happens to be your first solo EP (congratulations!), can you tell us a bit about it?
Thank You!!! Well, I had a friend join me outside while we having dinner and basically took all away my excuses one by one. I had recently broken up with the aforementioned girl and was moving around and was partying a lot. She then asked me ” Where the F%&k is YOUR music”? I started the next day and wrote about 6 different cuts and picked 3. The sixth release on the label just dropped by Jamaica Suk.
B. You’ve been apart of the music scene since the 90s; why has it taken you this long to release your first solo EP? What have you been able to do musically with Corey James under Point Break, that you’ve been unable to do solo?
Well, I kinda had an addiction to throwing events throughout my life for one. I fooled around with production for years before hooking up with Cory. I always had ideas and was getting better at manifesting them but my more technical and sonic skills weren’t there yet. Even with Cory he was more of the engineer or was more competent technically. I was really forced to push myself to learn and get deeper into the more scientific side of things once I moved to Berlin by just doing it as well as picking a few brains here and there.
B. It’s pretty clear that you’ve packed a lot into your career, from production, to events, to label management. What has been one of your favorite experiences so far?
Picking just one is tough. Hearing one of my cuts being played by a friend such Anthony Parasole or DVS1 at Berghain while dancing with friends ranks up there. Playing the 1st Tar & Feathered with Cory right after ASC and having all of our friends there at the end of the night was pretty special. Having Levon Vincent post about my EP along with a link to it to Bass Cadet Records… One of my favorite places in Berlin.
1. What track of yours are you most proud of? That’s like asking me which one my nieces are my favorite. haha, can’t answer that. I have 4 solos cuts I’ve released and 4 nieces.
2. What was the first vinyl/CD/tape that you bought? I honestly think it was an Air Supply tape in Seoul when I was in the 3rd grade. I bought “purple rain” and a Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five tape shortly after.
3. What was the name of the venue where you had your first gig? The venue I ever played at was 123 Pleasent St. in Morgantown W.V.
4. What was the first piece of equipment you bought? Technique 1200’s
5. What’s the longest set you’ve played? 5 hours at About Blank.