“Hey, you! Come and gather round!”
That’s one of the lyrics from “Things Are Gonna Change,” Lealani‘s collaboration with Kid Koala on his new album, Creatures of the Late Afternoon. It’s a song about coming together, about engaging with one another, sharing a common pursuit, and pushing toward something new and exciting. For both Kid Koala and Lealani, their work as artists—musical, visual, and otherwise—is always about gathering around: humans joining together, in shared experiences, creating something new.
For decades, Kid Koala’s ethos has been all about togetherness. When he first burst onto the scene back in the ’90s, he was bringing people together on the dance floor. His astonishing skills as a turntablist could instantly spark dance parties, as he joyfully spun funk, ska, jazz, and spoken word records into something new altogether.
Kid Koala’s albums have always incorporated more to engage with, beyond the music: visual art, a hand-cranked cardboard turntable, a chess set, a graphic novel. His projects are often wildly ambitious—the Space Cadet Headphone Concert, an interactive Turntable Orchestra, a theatrical puppetry presentation. His latest album is a double LP that also happens to fold out into a playable board game.
Among his many featured collaborators on Creatures of the Late Afternoon is Lealani, a young art-pop firebrand who’s very different from Kid Koala, yet a kindred spirit in many ways. Each one is a creative polymath and DIY dynamo.
He lives in Montreal; she’s from Los Angeles, and there are decades between them, but artistically, they complement each other perfectly. And as we hear in this episode of Hidden Track, it turns out that these two one-of-a-kind artists can trace all kinds of surprising connections to one another.
They have many adventures together coming up, including a big summer 2023 tour. However, their first-ever jaunt out on the road together saw them play Calgary’s Block Heater festival back in February.
The duo took time between their soundcheck and headlining show at Block Heater to come join us in CKUA’s Calgary studios for a marvelous conversation. Between the ambient sounds of downtown Saturday night traffic, a band sound checking down the hall, and the wildly wide-ranging discussion, it almost felt like being inside a Kid Koala album: