Kid Simius, born José Antonio García Soler hails from Granada in the South of Spain. For many, the 26-year-old Berlin resident‘s name probably rings a bell through his affiliation with German hip hop overlord Marteria. An integral part of the rapper‘s crew for the last four years, Kid Simius‘ role extends from producer to live-keyboarder, creative sparring companion, partner-in-party-crime and friend. His own musical history, however, reaches back much further. Growing up in Granada, Kid Simius was raised on music. Be it as part of an electro punk band or by crafting sound collages in his living room that were equal parts DJ Shadow and Ennio Morricone.
His first encounter with the Marteria posse happened to be one of coincidence. Their paths crossed during an exchange semester in Oslo, in the dull environs of a waiting line for student housing. A friendship soon developed, and in the flash of an impulse, Kid Simius decided to move to „Green Berlin“ practically over night. Less than two weeks passed before Kid Simius found himself in band practice for Marteria‘s nationwide tour. „Back then I had no clue about anything,“ says Kid Simius. „All I knew was that I really wanted to do this music thing.“ And that‘s just what he did.
Ditching his major in psychology and instead signing up for piano classes and enrolling in „acoustic communication“ at Berlin‘s University of Arts, Kid Simius embarked on a path of his own. In a series of seemingly never ending studio nights, he began to develop his sound. Soaking up his surroundings like a sponge, Kid Simius digested it all: The endless euphoria of a maiden summer in Berlin. The sheer force of the bass lines and kickdrums he encountered on the city‘s notorious clublandscape. The open-minded interpretation of hip hop demonstrated by his closest peers. And of course his favorite records, whether they were the work of Jimi Hendrix, Squarepusher, LCD Soundsystem or Goldie.
„El Clásico“, seeing a limited release in March 2012, is product of – and testament to – that time in his life. Electro in form and rock ‚n‘ roll in spirit, the eight tracks show that for Kid Simius, everything goes. Because everything has to. „The album had no coherent thread and wasn‘t really an actual album,“ he remembers. „At that time, I was feeling a lot of different music and just launched right into producing my own. The results of these experiments then ended up on a CD.“ The 2000 copies were gone in an instant, some of which are now circulating for dizzying prices on the market – just like the recently released 10-inch, „Jalapeños Horror“.
Though the concept of „El Clásico“ may have been chaos compiled, the party crowd quickly took to the charismatic Spaniard‘s wild and wicked wobblemania. And they wanted more. Kid Simius whipped up screwball rap beats as part of the Marsimoto crew, delivered remixes for Berlin techno producer K-Paul and co-wrote a platinum-certified chartbuster on the side, in Marteria, Yasha and Miss Platnum‘s „Lila Wolken“. Additionally he also racked up more than 50 live gigs in a year, playing clubs all throughout Germany and hitting festival stages as diverse as Melt!, Splash!, Fusion, Berlin Festival and SXSW.
His extraordinary live setup has allowed Kid Simius to stand out at each of those gigs. Instead of taking cover behind a laptop screen like many of his peers would, checking emails on the sly, Simius tears down stages with a hardware arsenal of Ableton Live, Moog synth, Melodica, electric guitar and a range of effect tools. Spur-ofthe-moment ukulele solos and one-man-moshpits are also part of his vernacular.
„As a musician, my aim is to surprise myself. It‘s not about the end result. If for a few seconds it all comes together and you‘re simply happy – that‘s what music is about to me.“ Whether something ends up as a track or as a bunch of dead data is not really important. Kid Simius lives for the moment. And he makes music for the moment.
This approach has, via some detours, also lead him to his new project, „Wet Sounds“. Years ago, his girlfriend at the time exposed Kid Simius to the sounds of Russian cult band Messer Chups. He went on to make a tongue-in-cheek track called „Surf ‚n‘ Bass“ – which soon faded to oblivion in the depths of his hard drive. Fast forward to the year 2013, to one of those never-ending studio nights. Yet again, there‘s nothing new to hear on the Internet and also no beer left in the fridge. A sudden thought occurs: Wouldn‘t it be dope to have your own genre, a very own sound of your own? Kid Simius scrounges his dusty hard drive in search of inspiration – and comes across this surf tune from way back when. The track sounds like that 18-year-old rookie who once produced it, but at the same time still fresh and new. And so Kid Simius cranks up his Ableton, upgrades the original material to today‘s standards and gives birth to a whole new steez: surf ‚n‘ bass.
The following months see Kid Simius dive deeper and deeper into surf subculture. His initial joke turns into an obsession. Researching the genre‘s roots, picking up Dick Dale and The Shadows‘ most important albums along the way, cramming amps and effect pedals into his small studio and downing a Desperado or three, Kid Simius goes to work. His work culminates in „Wet Sounds“ – an album that couldn‘t be further removed from mindless carbon copies of the same old happy-go-lucky-clichées. The record is much rather the expression of a long and loving relationship with music of many different kinds. It is the most poignant statement to date from one of the most unyielding and fascinating artists of today.
Take the pre-apocalyptic rave anthem „Costa del Sol“. Or „Recorded in Hawaii“, a slice of psych-rock for those that bring their bathers and a coronal to the dinner party. Or „Hola Chica“, digital cumbia for hopeless romantics. Or go back to „Surf ‚n‘ Bass“, in what may be its 15th edit. Eight years after the track‘s first blueprint, it all finally comes together. The scathing sun over Berlin‘s shore of sound, the booming beats blasting out of Southern California‘s sinister basement clubs. Chill and wave. Surf and bass. „Wet Sounds“ is more than a coherent and entertaining work of fusion for millennials that know no boundaries. The record also rounds off Kids Simius‘ personal history. His musical upbringing on the guitar, his love for homely harmonies, his electronic eureka moments in Manchester and Berlin. The melancholia, the restlessness and the comfortably self-ironic playfulness. It all comes together on „Wet Sounds“.
A look at the record‘s secret key track, „El Pastor“, will make it clear. Guitar rigs, amps and heaps of reverb are piled on top of „Granada“, the unrelentingly pretty composition by Mexico‘s Agustín Lara, guiding it from the year 1932 into the present. Kid Simius‘ steps remove him further than ever from the hip hop- and club-context he has been toiling in – and yet he remains right there on his home turf.
One of the tracks on „Wet Sounds“ is called „Now You Should Ride It“. Hey, why not. You‘ve now got the perfect
wave for it.