We think that Cappadox is a true festival of experience. The most exciting name for us in this fourday journey of exploration is Kaki King who has no limits when it comes to visualizing music. Regarded by Rolling Stones as one of the 20 new Gods of guitar, Kaki King is taking the stage on May 21, reforming images you have in your mind when you think of the words ‘guitar’ and ‘performance’ side by side. Now it is time to discover the search of what can be more than a virtuoso.
I wanted to use the visuals to make the show just as much about the guitar itself as it is about me.
You’ve introduced a new approach to playing the guitar and doing a performance. Could you tell us a little bit about your style?
Thanks for saying that, but my style has evolved a lot through my career. Right now I’m tinkering and looking at all the ways in which a guitar can be enhanced.
How did the idea of your visual performances come about?
I wanted to add a lighting element to my otherwise bare stage so I began looking at what was new in stage lighting, and discovered projection mapping. It seemed like there were a lot of possibilities with that medium, and I wondered if I could project onto my guitar while I was playing it. As soon as I saw the guitar fully lit up, I realized that this would be a much bigger project than just a change in lighting design.
You curated an exhibition of guitars that were each painted by different artists and inspired by your music. You are currently working with projection mapping to create an interactive visual component to your show. How do you visualise your music?
Projection mapping was something I discovered by accident. But I wanted to use the visuals to make the show as much about the guitar itself as it is about me. Sometimes I am using the guitar to actually control the video and sometimes the guitar influences the video, and more often than not the guitar is controlling me. It’s about the guitar being an extension of the self. I love performing it.
Are there other artistic mediums that you have thought about incorporating into your music?
I want to explore more artistic mediums in the future, but for now I want to keep exploring visual effects. There are still a lot of things that no one has done yet in that medium.
Your sound is layered, complex and constantly evolving. You are continually expanding your direction. How do you work on new sounds?
For this album, I wasn’t afraid to produce what is very much a soundtrack to the full visual show. The record isn’t something that I would have made on it’s own. In the past I didn’t add many effects to acoustic guitar, because I preferred keeping the acoustic somewhat pure. However this record has all kinds of elements that change the sound of the guitar into different ideas and concepts, all of which tie into the visual element of course.
How do you understand when a song is finished?
By the time I finish a song it’s completely different than the song I started with. But at a certain point, I just have to stop working on it.
It seemed like there were a lot of possibilities with that medium, and I wondered if I could project onto my guitar while I was playing it.
How do you decide the names for your songs, they are very creative?
You know, they say you can’t really give a piece the perfect name, but you can give it a terrible name. It’s not entirely arbitrary, but I just come up with images that I think illustrate the songs. I don’t know.
What’s your favourite song to perform right now?
I don’t have a specific favourite from this album, because it all works together as a storyline. I do like performing the piece where the guitar narrates a day in its life for you, because it gets a really good audience reaction.
What do you see in your future?
I want to continue in the vein of combining music and visuals as long as I have the patience. It’s a truly remarkable thing when the two work together to create a larger story.