Eric San has been one of Canada's best—and most creative—turntablists for the last 25 years.
A turntablist is a type of DJ (disc jockey) who plays, mixes, and manipulates vinyl records using a technique called scratching. While some DJs focus more on playing records to keep people dancing, a turntablist tries to 'chop' and 'cut' sounds up to make things extra groovy and unpredictable.
And even for a turntablist, Eric, a.k.a. Kid Koala, has always been very unpredictable! When you buy one of his albums, you never know what might come with it. Maybe a book.
Or, in the case of his newest album, Creatures of the Late Afternoon, maybe a complete board game!
Playful and fun
From the start of his career, Kid Koala always stood out as being funny and creative. And not just in the music that he made.
His first record, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (2000) came with a short comic book that he drew. He followed that a few years later with an album that had an over 300-page comic book called Nufronia Must Fall. He would go on to perform that book's story live on tour with an actual puppet show.
Over the years, he continued making albums of adventurous music, often with fun bonuses. His 2012 album, 12-Bit Blues, came with a built-it-yourself cardboard turntable. And in 2018, he helped release Floor Kids, a video game (available on PS4, XBox, Nintendo Switch and STEAM) where you can breakdance battle with your friends, all to an amazing soundtrack of his music.
So you might ask, after puppets and books, turntables and video games, what is left for Kid Koala to do? And he would reply, a board game, of course!
Getting on board
Creatures of the Late Afternoon came out this past April. The package of the vinyl LP version of it folds open to reveal a full-sized board game that the whole family can play.
The record also includes cardboard sheets that can be turned into the game's pieces, such as playing pieces, dice, and 150 different game cards. So cool! And what is the game about?
Eric wanted the game to reflect a little about his own life as a musician. So the game pieces are vans (which is the typical vehicle a young band of musicians would use to travel from city to city), and each player tries to assemble their own band of musicians to bring their music to the world.
But in the game, your fellow musicians aren't humans ... they're other animals, such as a walrus and a star-nosed mole!
Eric got the idea after watching nature documentaries and playing board games during the pandemic with his own children.
The final result is his very own family board game. And of course, his music has a starring role in the game itself. In fact, there is a matching game section where you use certain songs on his record as the timer. Time's up!
How is that for being creative?
You can hear a taste of what Kid Koala's style is all about in this song below. It's about a robot checking into a hotel!