Although the majority of my life presently consists of a day job, a loving wife, and an apartment in Washington Heights, I’ve been fortunate enough to have made a living as a touring/recording musician for a while. Most of these tours have been with Eric San, professionally known to the world as Kid Koala.
I met Eric in 1997 at some Ninja Tune show in Montreal, stepping out of my normally introverted anti-social self temporarily to tell him how awesome his DJ set was. I had known about him since high school; when I told my sister I was getting into DJing, she mentioned that one of the guys in her dorm played records in a funk band. It turned out that we lived a block away from each other, and as I came up in the closely-knit Montreal DJ scene, people often mistook me for him, despite me being Filipino, him being Chinese, and us not really looking anything alike except we were about the same height. We ran into each other at DJ battles, on the street, and late night Chinese restaurants, and occasionally jammed together. He introduced me to a fellow DJ named Graham, who became a close friend of mine during my time in Montreal and went on to become half of Thunderheist.
January 2000. I was packing up my parents’ Subaru Outback, getting ready to move back to New York following my final semester at McGill, when the phone rang. Eric asked if I had time to meet up. I drove to his apartment with the car half packed, and over tea and desserts he asked if I wanted to spend the next eight months on the road with him and Bullfrog. I said yes before he finished his sentence. My favourite part of the conversation was when I asked if I would be back in time for the DMC battle season, to which he replied, “Man, fuck battling. You’re done with that.”
And so I was.