In a genre largely dominated by pretentious experimentation created for a handful of like-minded musicians and fans or meaningless dance music tailored for mass consumption, electronic musician and record label owner Miguel Depedro, known as Kid606, approaches the electronic format from a different perspective. His compositions—created with his Apple laptop computer and specialized production software—combine elements of both IDM (intelligent dance music) and mainstream dance. Depedro infuses his songs with a punk attitude and embraces rock and hip-hop while simultaneously employing IDM-like digital and breakbeat mannerisms.
Depedro quickly discounts critics who label him an IDM artist, however. “The word intelligent is a way of flattering the audience that they’re superior to people mindlessly shaking their butts on the dance floor,” said Depedro, quoted in Spin magazine by Simon Reynolds. “As if to make music credible, you have to take the fun out of it!” In other words, Depedro aims to make enjoyable, danceable music without forsaking substance. Like others, including the San Francisco-based electronic duo Matmos in this new genre sometimes referred to as “laptop punk,” Depedro sees electronic
Began working for Vinyl Communications label, age 16; released debut album, Don’t Sweat the Technics, on Vinyl Communications, 1998; released Down With the Scene on Ipecac, founded tigerbeat6 label, 2000; released Attitude and Kid606 and Friends, Vol. 1, 2001.
Addresses: Record company —tigerbeat6, 310 Oakland Ave., Oakland, CA 94611, phone: (510) 444-8700, fax: (510) 465-3213, e-mail: [email protected], website: http://www.tigerbeat6.com. Website —Kid606 Official Website: http://brainwashed.com/kid606.
music in a state of transition. By paying close attention to the live performance aspect of his career and through increasing college radio airplay, Depedro is attracting a wider audience.
Kid606 was born Miguel Trost-Depedro on July 27, 1979, in Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to the Southern California city of San Diego six years later. A creative child, he enjoyed building dioramas, drawing his own comic books, and manipulating sounds with tape recorders. Later, as a young teen, he became interested in electronic music. “There just came a point in my life where I got really bored with everything else and at the same time started hearing all this guitarbased music like Godflesh and Ministry that combined hard rock and electronics, and I thought, ‘why don’t people just make music using only electronics?,’” Depedro explained to S. Bolle in the Weekly Dig. “Then I heard mainstream stuff like hip-hop, New Order, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, and then Techno Animal, Seefeel, Aphex Twin and Autechre, and it just totally made sense to me.”
Meanwhile, Depedro also received some formal training in violin and piano, lessons he says he took primarily to convince his mother to allow him to have a sampler. This device soon engaged most of his time, allowing the then-14 year old to explore both his attraction to music and sound, as well as his interest in building and manipulation. “I was obsessed with sound, trying to have control over sounds,” Depedro recalled in an interview with Katy St. Clair in the East Bay Express. “I didn’t really want to have control over an instrument. I just wanted to take all the sounds I heard and make something.”
To acquire music business experience, Depedro took a job at the Vinyl Communications label when he was 16, putting together CDs by electronic musician Merzbow. Inspired by hardcore techno, independent punk, noise rock, heavy metal, and hip-hop, he also started creating his own music, disregarding the seriousness of most other electronic experimentalists. Eventually, De-pedro recorded and released some material with the acts Spacewurm and Ariel, both associates of Vinyl Communications. After these groups dissolved, he took the opportunity to record on his own, releasing his full-length debut, Don’t Sweat the Technics, on Vinyl Communications in 1998. From the onset, electronic music enthusiasts realized Kid606 was heading in a different direction. Sounding at once noisy and hypnotic, “The music evokes the bizarre feeling that you’ve caught a glimpse of future nostalgia,” concluded Chris St. Cavish for Grooves magazine.
That same year Depedro released more recordings on Vinyl Communications: a split compact disc with Lesser and the Eps: Unamerican Activity and Dubplatestyle. In 2000 he returned with his second full-length CD, Down With the Scene, on the Ipecac label, run by Faith No More’s Mike Patton. Depedro’s older brother had reportedly given Patton a Kid606 demo two years earlier. It featured song titles such as “Punksh**t,” “Hardcore,” “Luke Vibert Can Kiss My Indie-Punk 41 Whiteboy A**,” “Buffalo 606-the Morning After” (a testament to Depedro’s obsession with actress Christina Ricci), and “Kidrush,” a call for the release of thenjailed hacker Kevin Mitnick.
Like his first release, Down With the Scene won high marks for its unique mix of various styles such as hip-hop, IDM, drum and bass, hardcore, and ambient. “In electronic music there is a quest to make something new and original,” he explained to St. Clair. “In rock music you just basically have to do it really good, you know what I mean? Electronic music, it’s not enough to be good. You gotta be groundbreaking, pretty much. You gotta be doing something that hasn’t been done before, because otherwise the music’s kind of fleeting. So much of the music [electronic musicians] make is here today, gone tomorrow. It gets pressed up, you listen to it once. That’s really sad.”
In addition to making a lasting impression on the electronic music scene and releasing another album entitled P.S. I Love You for the Mille Plateaux label, Depedro founded his own label in Oakland, California, called tigerbeat6. According to Depedro, the label will give exposure to artists who produce unconventional music, allowing them to release material on their own terms. To succeed, he explained to Wire magazine’s Peter Shapiro, the TigerbeatG label (and electronic music as a whole) needs to return to the virtues of classic rock ‘n’ roll and early punk: “I loved punk music…. The music was great and everything since then was just to reclaim that. It was the whole thing of taking those same ideals and putting them into a different context which no one agreed with.” TigerbeatG has released records for groups such as Cex, DAT Politics, Chicks on Speed, Le Tigre, and Kurt Ralske, formerly of Ultra Vivid Scene.
Depedro remained busy throughout 2001. Early that year he released the sensitive, melancholic Soccergirl EP on the Carpark label, followed by P.S. You Love Me in the spring. Afterward came the 22-minute CD on TigerbeatS entitled Attitude, featuring 14 N.W.A. songs reinterpreted by various artists such as Electric Company, Cristoph De Babylon, Hrvatski, and Matmos. Depedro described the record to Jay Babcock of LA Weekly as “short and funny and crazy.” Subsequently, the ten-inch record GQ on the EQ appeared on 555 Recordings, as well as the TigerbeatG compilation Kid606 and Friends, Vol. 1.
Don’t Sweat the Technics, Vinyl Communications, 1998.
Down With the Scene, Ipecac, 2000.
Kid606 and Friends, Vol. 1 (compilation), TigerbeatG, 2001.
Alternative Press, August 2000.
East Bay Express, July 11, 2001.
Grooves, Issue #1.
LA Weekly, August 25-31, 2000.
New Musical Express, July 22, 2000.
New York Times, April 28, 2001; July 3, 2001.
Spin, September 2000; August 2001.
Vice, August 2000.
Village Voice, August 29, 2000.
Weekly Dig, July 19-26, 2000.
Wire, August 2001.
All About Jazz, http://www.allaboutjazz.com (November 25, 2001).
ARTISTDirect Network, http//ubl.artistdirect.com (November 25, 2001).
"Kid606." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 23, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/kid606
"Kid606." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved October 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/kid606
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