It was ten years ago today…

Monday, September 15th, 2014

…that a small number of you received this email:

hip hopera email invite

(Click image for larger)

Download links here if you need them, now available in Flac too if you want an upgrade!

Well, apart from that email, and a post on the old “Get Your Bootleg On” forum (RIP), which gathered like-minded audio-slicing miscreants, that was it, as far as publicity goes.

In the next 12 months it gathered nigh-on a million downloads and a crapton of on- and off-line recommendations, collapsing my own website in a couple of days (I remember sitting there with my flatmates (hey Dillon & Kev!) watching the bandwidth charges accelerate by the minute before fiscal reality got the better of my ego and I pulled the plug), then being mirrored and promoted by such fine folks as Andy “Waxy” Baio and Jason “Boogah” Cosper (vintage interview on that link from two weeks after release).

And then a whole bunch more folks. And more. And so on until I found myself sat at a front table at the 2005 Webby Awards receiving the award for “Artist Of The Year”. Great fun, (hey, I got to shout “motherfucker” in front of Al Gore *teenage giggle*) but boy, did I feel out of place. With the benefit of hindsight, maybe the Webbys organisers expected the old-school media to be shocked that someone like myself was being publicly honoured for illegally slicing, dicing and re-purposing existing culture?… might generate a bit of shock publicity? but nah… nobody seemed that bothered, thank zod. We’d already moved on. As we do.

Eric Kleptone at The Webby Awards 2005

(Gorgeous, huh? Click for larger. Text of shirt: “Your failed business model is not my problem” – Truer today than ever.)

So… 10 years ago. Seems like centuries. How fast we move… Back then? No Facebook. No Twitter. No YouTube. Some blogs. Some forums. That was about it. Life moves pretty fast, huh?

Downloading a whole album for free? How quaint? Was still quite a novelty then. With the deepest of ironies, as this anniversary rolls around, a free album by one of the biggest bands of all-time has been distributed to allegedly five billion people. A lot of whom don’t seem too happy about it.

But… plus ├ža change. Free music is everywhere now, and you can’t move for it. Everywhere you go people are desperately trying to ram it down your throat. So much so that even the hugest bands have to do it to get heard. You can’t move for the stuff. Awful.

Well, Boo hoo you.

Because today, here, right now, as far as music goes, things are awesome.

Yes, despite the daily hoo-hah of the “new” music industry, of iTunes, Spotify and Pandora, of mega-corps taking advantage of their huge content distribution systems (that you have all signed up for) and automatically generated playlists (that may well favour heavy advertisers, haha), today there is a humongous global musical underground at your fingertips that ten years ago had no chance whatsoever of reaching you. And you probably will really love some of it. It may well even change your life.

The power of a simple tune is greater than ever. But now, more than ever it needs to be discovered. In the same way as folks spent infinite amounts of time digging through piles of dusty records to rescue and repurpose the drum breaks and riffs that now underpin some of your favourite tunes, you, as a listener, have to dig the crates!

This is (still) a really good thing.

Same as it ever was.

So, please, please, dull down the adverts pummelling you from all sides, the clickbait loud-hailers bombarding you from above, push all that stuff into the bin where it belongs, fire up your inquisitive natures, and keep them well stoked. Dig deep, deeper, deepest and often, and you WILL be rewarded. Not just with fine sounds, but with new friends, amazing performances, wonderful communities and an unshakeable knowledge that just by your very participation (and occasional purchase or show attendance, hemhem), you are sustaining and developing a cultural eco-system. One of millions.

(And if you’re think “ahh, I can’t be bothered to do that, clicking through links (ugh), following blogs (zzz), Hey oldster, I don’t have to look for stuff any more, that’s so 20th century”, then fine – enjoy the nutritionless crap you get served up.)

Because it’s true.

And it grows.

“Increment by Increment”.

That’s what we’re rather good at, as a species, on the whole.

We create.

And share.

And grow.

So from me, thank you for downloading, listening, coming to our shows, dancing like a loon, saying hi!, buying me a beer, putting up with me on verbal overdrive, but most of all for being my friends. Even if you’ve never met me, you now know what I’m like, which is an amazing thing.

You’ve blown my mind sky high, restored and energised my faith in music as a culturally-changing force, and I love you for it.

So here’s to the next ten years. I hope this, too, feels like ancient history when I read it back then.

(PS And before you comment, Yes there will be more Kleptones. We’re taking a breather, but it’s evolving. We’re not done yet. Life is a long song, yes?)

xoxoxo

Eric K

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s that man again…

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Okaydoke, I’m coming back from a forced couple-of-months hiatus, mainly due to having to find somewhere new to live and make a Kleptones base, which took rather longer than expected – Space, as you may well imagine, is at a premium in this overcrowded city, which has led to some very over-the-top rents (32% rise in three years apparently) and some rather minuscule dwellings – Being rather a tall chap with a bit of baggage, living hand-to-mouth, it’s not the most ideal of situations. Sorted now though, thank f–k, and it was just in time for us to kick off the new venue for Kleptonite on 10th November!

kleptonite banner
kleptonite bannerkleptonite bannerkleptonite banner
(Pics appropriated from Instamatic and DJ Payroll, sure they won’t mind!)

As I mentioned before, The Britannia in Hackney (map) seemed to be an ideal venue, and so it proved, with valiant back up from the Butch Auntie visual massive, and Instamatic producing a storming and very well received debut AV set, it all went rather well. Not the hugest of sound-systems, but good enough for now – If the crowd grows, we’ll be able to afford a better PA! And we’re going to continue, second Saturday of each month – The next one will be on Saturday 8th December (special guest to be announced soon!), so if you’re in the vicinity, come down, and if you think you’d like to play a set, especially if you’re video-centric, get in touch!

pretty vacant logo
While we’re on the gig front, after many attempts, I’m going to be DJing at Pretty Vacant in Dusseldorf on Saturday 1st December. Those of you will remember the last time I attempted this I ended up snowed in, so we’ll be pulling out some major weather spells to ensure it doesn’t happen this time!



Finally, now all the home-moving shizzle is out of my bizzle, we can get back onto the regularly-posting-tunes-and-mixes train, so here’s a couple of classic 70s rockers given a rather dubby makeover. Hope you like, and see you soon!

(Soundcloud links below – open the post in a new window if they don’t show up in your blog reader!)

Just a little bit louder now…

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

So… back to modern times, sort of. Here’s a tune I debuted at Bootie SF the other week, which screamed Bootie as soon as I put it together, and worked a treat I must say. So much so, that I’ve passed the download over to them as an exclusive, so if you want a copy, you’ll have to head over to the Bootie site. It’s worth it though, there’s a fine clutch of tracks there to be had for free!

What’s more, I’ll be playing at the next Bootie London alongside New York’s finest DJ Lobsterdust, and local heroes Instamatic and Payroll in support. Like last time, it’s at Electrowerkz, running later this time till 4am, so if you’re about, you really should come down! Full details at the Bootie London site!

More plans are afot for future London and elsewhere shows, and we’re starting to investigate Kickstarter ideas to see how we can make more shows happen – if you want us in your area, wherever that may be, and/or you think you can help us with some ground level wisdom from your own town or city, please drop me an email, it would be amazing to make it happen, and it’s a lot easier than you might think!

Solid piles of stuff…

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

San Franciscan archipelago
Well it certainly feels like it. So much has happened in the last couple of weeks, and there’s more on the way as always! I’m going to split everything I want to say into two posts, the “then” and the “now/future”, to make it a little easier to digest / skim, but first off, I must extend hugest of thanks to both Bootie SF and the team behind XOXOfest for being so many flavours of awesome and making my US trip such a joy.


Smash-up Derby @ Bootie SF
I’ve always maintained that the San Francisco Bootie crowd are probably the most open-minded bootleg crowd in the whole world, and again they did not disappoint, lapping up everything that I threw, including the debut of a clutch of new tunes. A mighty fine time was had by all, big hello back to everyone that came up and said hi, and thanks to the cheerfully tolerant DNA Lounge crew and A+D as always for being excellent hosts. Again, soon, I hope!



Breakfast in America!From the rolling fog of San Francisco thence up the coast to Oregon, to find Portland gently fanning itself in what I was told was rather unseasonable, humidity-free, mid-late 20s heat (celsius, I am a euro ;). A glorious and welcoming start to what was, well, a glorious and welcoming long weekend.

A working start for me, though as I immediately zoomed up to Holocene to provide a five and a half hour DJ set as backing for the festival opening party. Not that I was complaining, it was a great relaxed opportunity to play right across the board, drink good beer and meet some folks, including a long-overdue first hello with co-organizer Andy Baio, a fan since early K-days, and whose mirroring of “Hip-Hopera” back in 2004 when my site went down led to a considerable amount of legal hi-jinks.

Ad-hoc SF AV WorkstationFor most of Friday I was in a rather stressed state of mind, preparing for my first-ever solo AV Kleptones performance that night, and generally looking down my own body for more digits to cross. Yes! Previous AV shows, as you know, have been ably assisted by Butch Auntie, but budgetary restraints had always stopped us from taking this show any further than Europe. As XOXO was going to be rather special, and also I was a little unsure as to whether the crowd would be in a dancing mood or not, I thought the time was right to take the plunge and do it all myself. And I did… just. Needless to say, sharing the load onstage is a great thing, and not to be underestimated!

XOXO YU Building signageThat said, I was delighted with how it went down. and doubly delighted to see many, many dancing people (including the aforementioned Mr.Baio ;). Thanks to you all and the ace crew at Holocene for making that a fun one, and also hail-fellow-well-met to both Julia Nunes and MC Frontalot and their respective musicians, who both played great sets before me, and did wonders in reducing my own pre-set nerves. A top night, if a little scary. Apologies to everyone that got the full blast of my adrenaline-fuelled relief afterwards – I was buzzing quite a bit, as you may have noticed…

XOXO YU Building signage
Saturday morning found me with my responsibilities discharged (HT ‘The Young Ones’ ;), allowing me time to soak up the festival and conference itself.

Much has been already written online by finer hands than my own (see Wired, The Verge and Boing Boing), so all I need to add is that it was an absolute joy for myself to be part of the friendly tornado of ideas and wisdom that constituted XOXO.


As has been pointed out elsewhere, some in attendance were not what one would call “natural mixers”, but the collective down-to-earth mindset (established and encouraged in no small part by co-founders Andy McMillan & Andy Baio), the beautiful urban setting and the balmy weather (and of course, the fine Portland food and drink) encouraged everyone to dump their excess mental baggage and egos at the entrance and use the weekend as the creative playground it was intended to be. Big talk, you may say, but for once, it all fucking worked, and it was glorious. Coders, designers, makers, artists, musicians (hi!), organizers, do-ers, thinkers-one-and-all stepped into the ring simultaneously yet gave each other sufficient space. Yes, that is possible, and it was truly impressive.

A high standard of presentations and speeches (including a highly polarizing keynote from Dan Harman) provided plenty of kick-off brainwaves to keep the conversations buzzing throughout the day, and some great after-parties (and other concurrent local events – was surprised to end up at a Fade To Mind show on the Saturday night!) allowed folks to kick back and continue their conversations at a more leisurely pace. Everyone I met, without exception, was a true star in their own field, and many, many new friendships and creative partnerships will, I’m sure, be formed in the festival’s wake. Job well done, everyone!

SF sunsetI did feel rather sad to be returning, but fortified by the wave of energy described above, it doesn’t feel so bad to be home.

Onwards and upwards, as always…






Love in the cities…

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

bootieA couple of things to announce and a couple of new tunes for you! We’re going off on a little September sojourn… First stop will be Bootie SF on Saturday 8th September, with hosts A+D in town, Smash-Up Derby live, and the finest mashup crowd on the planet!

bootieFollowing that it’s up to XOXO in Portland on Thursday 13th September (you need to be registered with XOXO to get into the Portland show, and it’s completely sold-out, but we’ll be around all weekend, so keep watching the Twitter feed, PDX-ers, you never know what might happen!)

And a couple of new tracks! Up top, “Love In The City” takes some Putney boys off to meet a Canadian Godfather uptown, or possibly round a campfire, and down below “Short And Round” gets rather silly and offensive indeed…

Hope to see you soon!

Listen up!

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

listening club
(Image of “Paper Record Player” by Simon Elvins – details here)

A couple of months ago I spontaneously decided to set up an album listening club on Twitter, borne out of that good ol’ simple desire to spread and share interesting music. Admittedly, there have been a spate of similar things appearing in the last year, mainly either “listening together in a room”, or “listening online at an allotted time”, but they all either decided on their music by a vote, or stuck to pretty straightforward (although classic) choices.

That’s all very well and good luck to ’em, but what interests me more is that “personal choice” – those albums you discover that fit your needs of the time so perfectly you’re left wondering about the powers of synchronicity as your heart fills to the brim with joy, and those albums that boggle your mind so much that you dive online immediately to find out more about the people behind them, and what drove them to create such a thing and unleash it on the public.

Also it should come as no great shock to you that we here at Kleptones Inc. are very much big fans of the “long-play”. Albums, mixes, whatever… the ability to take a listener off on a satisfying journey is rarely something that can be accomplished in three or four minutes, as has been proven time and time again over, ohh, the last few hundred years or so.

So to empower the participants, and to increase that random “personal choice” factor, the only rule established has been that whoever selected an album for listening would pick their favourite tweeter from the playback, and the baton would then be passed to that tweeter to make the next selection. Simple as.

And it’s worked rather well – a fine troop of listeners has emerged, and the selections so far have ranged from lesser known albums by established bands, a raft of new (or “new to us”) artists from far and wide, and obscurities from the flip-side of previous decades. Not everything has been to everyone’s taste obviously, and there have already been several WTF moments, but that’s that way it should be, really. However, it’s only just getting started we think, and the boundaries are only just beginning to be pushed, which is why the time has come to let you all know about it, and invite you to come join in the fun. We need your input!

Timezone corroboration obviously is a bit tricky, but the agreed time of 8pm BST (GMT+1) each Sunday is working well (although apologies to the Aussies, can’t stretch that far sadly), however the albums generally stay up for a little while after, and there always seems to be a few folks tweeting their catch-up listen in the following days. We realise there’s no way that everyone is going to be around every week, but, like your favourite radio show, Listening Club will be there, should you be in the mood.

So yea verily, get your tweet on and come join us by following @listeningclub on twitter, where all the info is passed out and questions answered (album info gets posted on a separate blog here). It’ll be great to have you along, and find out what album you’re going to pick…

Kleptones Alive!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

New trailer for our live show from the chaps at Butch Auntie, and a tribute to the ace crowds we get to play with!

First fest of the year!

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

paaspop logo Festival season seems to start earlier and earlier each year, and this year is no exception, so we’re proud to announce that Eric will be kicking off the season with a DJ set at Paaspop near Schijndel in the Netherlands on Saturday 7th April.

Eric’s playing as part of the “Mashup Bastards” team on Saturday night, just past Midnight at the Thunderbolt stage, with DJ Morgoth, DJ Schmolli and our host MadMixMustang also doing sets over the weekend.

Can’t think of a better start to the (extended) summer, really!

Kleptonite returns…

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Well, maybe! I’m going to be DJing here and there in London over the next while, questing for a good place to establish a London residency (or two). The plan being, once a good place and crowd is found, to start inviting a few friends and inspirations down to do guest spots. Should be fun, no?

the luxe logo

First place for a hat drop will be The Luxe in Spitalfields THIS FRIDAY (9th March). (You may know The Luxe better by it’s previous name, Spitz, I do, having played there a couple of times in the past). Can’t really want for a better location, being right in the thick of the Spitalfields / Shoreditch / Brick Lane axis.

It’s FREE and runs 7pm-1am ish, so you can come early and rinse out the grind of the working week, or come late and use it as a launchpad for further adventures. Looking forward to having the space to stretch out musically and try out a variety of new and old things, so there’s also an opportunity for you to come down and represent your preference, and help shape the direction I take…

Be great to see you! :)

On strike.

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Happy new year to you lot. Yes, we have been quiet. Yes, the album is coming soon. More about all that in a bit, though…

On to more important things, it goes without saying that kleptones.com will be on SOPA / PIPA strike tomorrow. It’s unlikely any of you would have heard *note one* from us if such laws had existed six or seven years ago. Regardless of where you are in the world, your freedom of speech and right to a fair trial are worth fighting for and protecting, both online *and* offline :) x