K?D Talks Diverse Inspirations Behind 'Find Paradise' in EP Breakdown: Exclusive
K?D is a mysterious producer, but not just because he has a question mark in his name. He's a creative who refuses to be defined. His entire career, he's strived to break his own boundaries, constantly pushing his sound to new frontiers. He certainly has a brightly colored aesthetic, but within that rainbow, he finds many hues.
His latest EP, Find Paradise, is dedicated to this diversity.
"I did not want to stick to a specific theme for my first project, because I wanted people to understand that a certain genre does not define me," K?D says in an emailed statement. "I grew up producing various kinds of musical genres trying to find a sound that I truly love and fit to, but I had eventually realized that I love all kinds of music too much to stick to one thing. I become bored too easily and feel like my creativity would be limited if I stuck to one sound or style. I guess my main goal is to push music to new boundaries, even if it means getting backlash for it."
Breakneck drum'n'Bass fits against futuristic cuteness. Steamy, industrial techno melts into glitchy hardstyle. He says the EP was inspired heavily by favored soundtracks of his youth. We caught up with the enigma to hear the backstory on each of the EP's six tracks.
"Electronic Memories" feat. Mickey Kojak
My management was already working with Mickey on their label, and they felt like he fit the style I was looking for. I am very picky when it comes to vocalists, so I felt lucky to finally come across someone after searching for so long. The instrumental was made so long ago that I honestly forgot the process I went through making it. It just goes to show how long some songs actually take to put out. This is mainly because I was trying to find the right voice for the track. It’s been sitting on the shelf for a while. I had to dust off and polish the track up once we found vocals for it. Mickey couldn’t have done a better job on the track. His voice is amazing. I wish I could sing on my own tracks, but I’m far from close. I don’t think auto tune could save me either.
I was on YouTube listening to old movie and video game soundtracks that I grew up listening to such as "Clubbed To Death" from The Matrix, the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack, etc. While listening to all these old songs, I realized that I didn't remember the plot or anything really from The Matrix movies because I was so young when I watched them. Later on during the day, I was discussing it on the phone with my manager, and he suggested that I just sit down and take some time to watch it again. After I finished watching the first movie, I felt inspired to make a track that would fit to be in a scene in the movie. However, I also wanted the track to fit the theme of the EP. There's a little vocal sample from "Clubbed To Death." I somehow managed to find the original sound that was used in the official song. This track is the most complex track on the EP. I spent a lot of time researching and digging around for inspiration. All the scenes in The Matrix seem so fast paced that I felt a Drum'N'Bass track was fit for it.
When I hear this song, I think of this video I saw where snake venom reacts to blood. It all coagulates into a thick slime ball of blood. That’s what this track reminds me of, and I guess that’s why I named it "Polluted Blood." I think the perfect setting to listen to this track would be in a dark, humid, underground club; somewhere where you would just play dark weird music that isn’t really favorable to the general public.
The very first manga I ever read was Wolf’s Rain, and I threw in a lot of references about it into this EP; anything from the song titles to the cover art. I wanted the majority of the tracks on the EP to have a cold feeling to them. Growing in up in Florida, I never really had many opportunities to see snow. The few times I have seen snow are the most memorable moments of my childhood. I guess that’s why I have been so obsessed with snow and the winter time. It’s something that I haven’t had a lot of experience with, and I miss it a lot. I haven’t seen snow in about 11 years. Even this last year of touring, I didn’t get to see much snow. It didn’t even snow at “snow globe,” it was just “globe." I’m doing everything I can this year to make sure I see snow.
TLDR: The EP title is a Wolf’s Rain reference, 90% of the songs I write are about me trying to capture my childhood into a song even if it’s not the main inspiration. A little part of my childhood is in every song in someway or another. I’ve said it in mainly interviews since the beginning of K?D. I run on nostalgia everyday. It’s what helped come up with my name.
This song wasn’t really inspired by my recent trips to Japan. I was just bored and I was making whatever I felt at the time. I ran across the “Tokyo” sample on Splice randomly and thought I could make something out of it. I really like the way hardstyle tracks chop vocals, so my inspiration was trying to do a hardstyle vocal chop on the track. A few hours later, I made a new track. This was the last song to be added to the EP. I made it pretty quickly and just ended up putting it on.
I grew up around Japanese culture because of my mother. She was always into Japanese culture and would take me to Japanese gardens in South Florida. The garden would host Japanese festivals such as the Lantern Festival and many others as well. The first thing I could remember was when I was in first grade. My mother had a friend who just recently came back from a trip to Japan. She gave my mom a DVD with all of the current Naruto episodes on it with English subtitles. Naruto was still new in Japan at the time, so there weren’t that many episodes released yet. I would sit in front of the family computer with my mom and brother, and we would watch all the Naruto episodes in order. I remember when Naruto was announced to be released on Toonami. I would brag to all my friends at school that I had already watched all of the episodes before it came out in America. Japanese culture has always been a part of my life and a part of my childhood, whether it is traditional or pop culture, anime, video games, etc.
"Destroy the Universe"
I would say this is more of a bonus track to the EP more than anything. It is something I put together just for shows, but I guess fans wanted it so I thought "why not?" I plan on releasing more “live” edits in the near future, but only a select few that I feel are worth putting out to the public. There’s still a large amount of live edits that won’t be released, because I want to keep those special for shows. The process behind this track was me trying to make the craziest track I could make. Something that sounds like the universe is about to explode. A lot of people think it’s the live edit I play out of "BOTU," but it’s different. It’s just a fun track. That’s all.