The alumni of Hercules and Love Affair are legion, and none has stepped out quite so far and quite so fast as Kim Ann Foxman. After collaborations with Maya Jane Coles and Nick Anthony Simoncino´s alias Ron Jason, her new(ish) label, Firehouse, has hit its stride with several of her own irresistible tracks, including “Open The House,” “Creature” and “It’s All About You.”
We had a quick chat with Kim Ann Foxman ahead of the show:
I’ve always thought of your music as more at home in a club – a small room, four walls you can see from any point in the room and the closeness between the DJ & the floor. You just played a festival up in Canada earlier this month. As a DJ, is there a difference in approach between the two? Do you play different records or just do you?
In a small room or club, I feel I get a chance to play a bit more experimental or get more weird. In a festival, I still always play in my style, and I never sacrifice that, but sometimes you have to make sure to keep the energy. But they are still records I would have to play anyway. It all depends on so many factors, what time I’m playing, the crowd, everything is in the moment for me. I don’t have a special festival set list.
Artists (vocalists, really) often get pigeonholed when they begin to DJ (Ultra Nate began DJing out some 15 years after the start of her career and still heard recordbros whine.) What did you have to do to prove yourself?
I did find this was true in many ways. But I was always a DJ before I was a vocalist, for years. I just wasn’t as internationally known yet, but I was playing all over NY, and in some other cities, and starting to play out in other countries. Being in a band as a vocalist is what gave me more visibility. I did have to prove myself after that in several ways since more people knew me as a vocalist rather than a DJ. One thing I found hard was that people expected me to play music that was connected to the style of HALA, or “Nu-Disco” music, when that was something I never played out, and not even a background that I had come from.
Another thing is that people didn’t expect me to be able to mix, and treated me more like a personality DJ. Luckily, I had been doing it for years in NYC, and I had been collecting vinyl since I was a teenager in my rave days, so people were pleasantly surprised that I could mix, and also my sound clearly had roots and a strong aesthetic. I found a lot of people impressed and pleasantly surprised. For me that was a mixture – while I’m flattered that they were impressed – it’s very frustrating to have to prove myself. It’s hard to be known for one thing, because you easily get pigeonholed by people. It took a long time to break through that. I was always a “DJ that became a vocalist” too, but people think it’s the other way around.
You’ve probably spent a bit of time in them by now: What is the best “Music for Airports”?
I actually prefer to read books when I’m at the airport. On the airplane I like to listen to works I have in progress, because its a good time to see if anything needs changing, or if I can come up with more ideas for it.
Your label is called Firehouse. Do you seriously live in a firehouse? Is there a pole like in the Ghostbusters’ bunker?
I do live in a firehouse, and that’s also where I produce. There is no pole anymore, but our mailman said he slid down the pole once. It used to be in the apartment across from me though.
There’s apparently another big KAF record coming soon, can you tell me about it?
I’m actually working on two things, my own solo releases and a collaboration project under another name, but that’s under wraps until its out. The solo stuff I’m not pressuring myself to put in album form while the collaboration surely will be. For my own stuff, it might come out in a series of EPs or it might yet come out in album form.
I’ve talked to so many people who were either in or part of the circle around Hercules & Love Affair over the years. Why do you think the group still casts such large ripples?
Haha, cuz it went through a lot of members.