Kim Ann Foxman Interview
Throughout the last few years of running this blog and working on the radio I’ve done tons of artist interviews. The interview below is my favorite so far. Kim Ann Foxman seems like a genuinely humble, gentle, and down to earth person which is most valued in my book and always very much appreciated in this industry. In our conversation she touches on how she began DJing, growing up in Hawaii, her involvement & detachment from Hercules & Love Affair, some personal tastes, and thoughts on being a female DJ ( which I couldn’t agree with more).
We booked Kim Ann to DJ at our Nightdrive 3 Year Anniversary this Wednesday at Chalk because we wanted to bring you an exclusive act; someone original, with a true understanding of house music, and with a DJ practice that will blow your mind. We’re also really looking forward to the rest of the all-star lineup:
THE PARTY IS FREE!!!
Q & A with KIM ANN:
You were born and raised in Hawaii, land of Luau, Hula, and Happa Haole. Was there a dance music scene there while growing up and if so how did you first get involved?
I was born in Hawaii! i loved growing up there. There was a dance music scene there, but it was very small being that Hawaii is so far away from everything. But we did have raves and a few club options. I used to work in a little club there in high school. It was one of the ways my mom let me stay out late- cuz i was “working”. I worked behind the bar, serving non alcoholic beverages and making energy drinks. The club had cool people come through, like Deee- Lite played live and there was some good djs that came through as well. It was really special when people came all the way to Hawaii to play because we didn’t have as much access to things as easily. so we were really excited when good music came our way.
What extracurricular activities were you involved in as a young child?
I was always at the beach. I loved boogie boarding, or we call it body boarding. I loved hiking especially to arrive to a waterfall. I was very active as a kid. I also played basketball after school, but every single weekend was at the beach. I even went to the beach before school sometimes occasionally really early in the morning. I love the beach and I love nature.
What was your first step in becoming a professional DJ/ musician? Did you decide to go out and buy turntables one day, had you been collecting music for years and it seemed like the next logical move, or did you start DJing out of circumstance…?
I had been really collecting dance music records for probably 7 years, I always wanted turntables, but I never had a proper DJ set up of my own. when I moved to New York, I got asked to DJ a couple parties for friends- which I did. And then I decided I wanted to get turntables so I can practice and get into it. I bought used turntables from a friend and I borrowed crappy dj mixers till l i could get one of my own.
Can you tell us about your first public DJ appearance?
Sure my first gig was in NYC for a party called La Boom in Brooklyn, in 2002. It was a friend’s party. i was really nervous. I wasn’t that good at the time, but luckily it went over well.
Lots of folks recognize you as a member of Hercules & Love Affair, I know a million people have probably asked you this, but how did you link up with that crew? What’s been the most memorable experience with them?
Technically I was a member of Hercules and Love Affair for a long time, recently I have moved on to new adventures. But I’m happy to tell u how it all came about. I was really good friends with Andrew Butler and was working with him just for fun at his house long before there was a Hercules and Love Affair- sometimes I’d be just around him while he was making music, sometimes we would make tracks to DJ out together, and one day I turned into his guinea pig to test out vocals on some proper songs he did. That’s how i came to be on the record. One of those songs was Athene, I didn’t even know I’d be in a band. It was all happening naturally, out of fun we were having for years before there was any record deal or any band. I do feel really lucky for that- that I got the opportunity in such a natural way. so many talented people struggle to get heard. so I feel fortunate to have experienced being in an international touring band.
So many great memories. One of my most favorite memories is when we were in Australia doing festivals.. and the crowd, they love to throw things there. Well, mid singing, mic in my right hand, I caught a size 12 timberland boot in once hand, effortlessly in my left hand. the crowd was so shocked – and so was the band, and so was I actually but then again, I do have a strange talent for catching things. Anyway, I caught it, and I threw it back into the crowd. And that same show, I crowd surfed afterward for my first time. it was a blast! so many great shows, so many wonderful places we went to. So many funny stories, crazy shows.
I was with the band for a long time, but now I have decided to concentrate on my own music, and on my own collaborations. H&LA was an amazing journey for me, so much great experience and memories and growth but its time for me is done now. i just feel its was time to choose my own adventure. I think change is good and change is sexy. I needed it, and I’m really excited and this year I’m working a lot on music and I’m Djing like crazy. Almost every weekend flying to around- mostly to Europe. Ive been pretty busy. ill have some releases in the near future, both solo and collaborations. Iv’e had a great year so far, and there is so much more to come.
What new collaborations are you working on?
I have done several. Im not sure I can say yet or not whose albums I will appear on this year. but you will find out soon enough. I’ve had so much fun collaborating with artists I admire.
You seem to be a connoisseur of classic and Chicago house music, what are 5 albums from either sub-genre you couldn’t live without?
I am a fan of classic house, chicago house, acid house, and Im also a huge fan of classic techno and detroit techno as well.
Where do you think the disco/ deep house scene is headed? What’s the next hot shit?
I think a lot of people are getting into house music that weren’t so into it before, and I think a lot of artists are making some good deep house right now, also making more classic references as well. I think there is a lot of good new stuff out right now. I don’t know what the next hot shit is. Azari & iii are really hot now, they r great live. Im not sure what is coming next, but Im sure well see some great stuff!
Aside from music, what else are you super passionate about? If you wouldn’t have chosen to take this career path what do you think you’d be doing today?
I’ve always been into design, I had a line of jewels for a while. I like designing things. I like accessories. I also love film and video. I would have loved to get into film or video if i wasn’t doing music. I’ve never seriously tried though, but I’ve made some very silly videos that I used to play at my parties that i really had fun making.
As a female DJ I get this question all the time… sorry to pawn it off on you but I’m curious as to how someone else would answer: What challenges or benefits have you encountered being a female DJ in a male-dominated industry?
As a female DJ, I get both challenges and benefits. challenges are, people don’t take u seriously sometimes. Also, having been connected with a band, sometimes people think Im just a personality or a celebrity DJ rather than a proper one. once I had a guy tried to show me how a mixer works as if I never touched on in my life- he was teaching a “girl” how to use one obviously. But then after he felt pretty stupid after I played I think. haha. It is such a male dominated industry- but there are loads of amazing female Djs out there too! In the past few years there have been more and more. I feel really supported by both men and women, and its great. Benefits are, sometimes I think its refreshing for people to have a female DJ play. in a way, there is a novelty edge to it for some people. I don’t usually think about though to be honest.
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of Miami?
Lastly, what’s next for Kim Ann Foxman? ( please say a full length album plus some more amazing music videos 😉
YES- i will put out a few 12″s first of my own, and collaborations as well, while I’m working on my full length! and you can def be sure to see more amazing videos! please keep posted!
A Saturday in November (Dub) – KiNK & Neville Watson feat. Kim Ann Foxman
River Seine (Kim Ann Foxman Remix) – International