Chicagoist Mix #15: Kid Color
By Jake Guidry in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 13, 2012 7:00PM
Chicagoist Mix Series is an ongoing feature that profiles local DJs/producers and features a mix compiled exclusively for Chicagoist. This is mix No. 15, brought to you by Kid Color, who was recently announced as one of the acts at Lollapalooza 2012.
Everybody loves Kid Color. When it comes to the 23-year-old disco DJ also known as Kyle Woods, it's hard not to. Woods is known in the club community as one of the nicest, most positive guys you'll meet. Of course, there's that whole thing about being one of the city's most enjoyable DJs, stirring crowds into unbridled dancing fits at any given gig. Woods has showcased this ability all over town, including residencies at The Whistler and a recently ended and celebrated two-year run of Dollar Disco Smart Bar. But while that chapter may have closed for Woods, the path has been long and diverse, and its only just begun.
Woods got his start in DJing in 2006 after being sent to work a Steve Aoki show for Filter magazine, where he was interning. "Even though I'm not as attached to [Aoki's] music today as I was back then, I must admit that show was pretty amazing." It was at that point that something clicked for Woods. "I've been collecting music since I even understood what music was, and I always loved to dance, so it was at that show when it all made sense to me and that's when I decided to pursue DJing as a career."
Soon after, Woods left his hometown of Orange County, Calif. to come to Chicago in 2007 to attend Columbia College. However, the Windy City wasn't his first choice. "My original plan in high school was to just work my way into a New York art school, but that plan soon changed once I was rejected from all the East Coast schools I applied to," he explains. Woods, looking for an alternative, considered Chicago. "At the time, I had only been to Chicago once for a school retreat during my junior year and I really enjoyed myself. So the combination of my wanting to get out of Orange County and ambition to move to a city led me to (here)."
Before Woods even got to Chicago, he was already making moves to launch his DJ career, which was then in its infancy. He set up an internship with Dark Wave Disco, a DJ collective and party, and began working when he immediately moved to Chicago. "I started the first day I moved into my dorm," he says. "They had me passing out their flyers, helping with online promo, and just basically being the helping hand." But while the work was modest, Woods used the opportunity to get things rolling. "It was through them that I got to meet a lot of people in the local Chicago music industry and make a lot of connections," he recalls. "A few months in, they started to let me open up their nights, which first gave Kid Color the proper boost into the Chicago nightlife." Since then, things have only gone up.
As Woods began DJing in Chicago, he leaned towards indie dance and electro, the type of sounds that were championed by bloggers and shifted the club culture. "At the time, it was a little more relevant to my age and the kind of parties I was performing at," he explains. But during this time, Woods was steadily building his knowledge of disco and soul, and finally started to play it out in 2009. "It kind of all came together during that fall. I had just stopped a residency I shared with a former DJ collective, I just had a big relationship end, and I just wanted a change. I always feel that, as a DJ, you should spin what feels the most natural to you and develop any new sort of tastes that might come your way. Disco just kept making more and more sense to me." That critical shift in 2009 has set Woods apart from his peers and no doubt altered his career path.
In 2010, Woods officially became a resident at Smart Bar and started Dollar Disco, a weekly night with Michael Serafini and Garrett David (formerly Adulture). The night was largely successful and featured a bevy of worldwide talent. Though the residency ended recently, Woods wants people to know it wasn't on a bad note. "I didn't exactly see myself continuing the party for another year, and I wanted to really end it on a good note, which led me to the decision to close the night on our two-year anniversary," he explains. And as one chapter ended for Woods, another began.
Two weeks ago, the promotion company C3 contacted Woods. C3 is responsible for putting on Austin City Limits music festival and Chicago's own Lollapalooza. "(They) contacted me to be one of the local DJs for (Lollapalooza) this year. It's hard to put into words how much it means for me to play the fest this year. Ever since the announcement, I've had messages from a few people telling me how it's inspired them and, in a way, reinvigorated their own hopes. It's all super humbling and flattering. I've always tried to stay as true as I can with my music and the fact that it's led me to not only this booking, but inspiring people - it's just such an honor."
The Lollapalooza booking is a crowning achievement for Woods, but he's not about to get complacent. While Woods has released his own edits, as well as his first two official releases for remixes of Moon Boots and Richard Richard, he's now focusing on original music. "I'm currently working on some original material and am planning on making my first original release on the Spanish label Nostrax within the next month or so. I'd like to pursue writing original songs that could one day be supported by a live band. I mean, DJing disco and house will always be a huge part of my life, but I got into this music by playing in bands and working with live sound—that's one of the main reasons I love using live instruments on all my productions. That's more of a long-term goal, but it's something I eventually set out to do."
Have a listen to the Kid Color mix below, which features a wide array of disco, with plenty of grit to boot. We think you'll love it. And if you'd like to catch Kid Color, he'll be DJing Smart Bar tonight and The Whistler tomorrow.