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Meet Mess Kid, the Le1f Collaborator and Alexander Wang Party DJ Making Metal and Breakbeat Inspired Sound Mixes

'Coasts' is the inaugural release for the website Looking Stupid's new tape label.
February 13, 2016, 5:30pm
Image courtesy of Looking Stupid

Mess Kid is one of those irritatingly intriguing producers who has been around long enough to have built up sizable number of releases recordings, but instead trickles tracks out with rarity. At the same time, Mess Kid is something of a best-kept secret: the Latvian-born, Brooklyn-based DJ produced Le1f's track "Psy Lock" then went on tour with the rapper. He DJ'd for Alexander Wang's 2014 Spring/Summer fashion show runway in New York, then later at a Balenciaga fashion show party in Paris. And his upcoming collaborators include Mad Decent's Liz and How To Dress Well among other names.

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Despite being a fashion world darling DJ, Mess Kid's first physical release isn't coming out on an established label, but instead as the inaugural offering from the essay website Looking Stupid's new eponymous cassette label. Though Mess Kid has been developing a reputation as a minimal pop producer, Coasts, now available in a limited edition of 100, is something of a curveball, a collection of samples from 80s and 90s metal shows on the "East" side, and "a journey from funk/disco to jungle/[drum and bass]," as Mess Kid puts it, on the "West," side.

We spoke with the producer about the origins behind his new release, why he's drawn to cassette tapes as physical objects, and what he's got in store for the future. Then listen to a sampler of the tape below the interview.

Thump: As a DJ and producer, what about a cassettes appeals to you? What drew your to the format for your first physical release?
Mess Kid: Growing up in Latvia, my dad had a huge cassette and vinyl collection that he loved to play for me. But when we moved to Detroit, he had to leave all of it behind. I wanted him to have a tape of my music more than anything to tell you the truth…he's inspired me so much.

What are the origins of this project? How did you come to work with Looking Stupid?
Jesse is a good friend of mine and hit me up talking about starting a tape-only label. Being a fan of his music and him as a person I couldn't say no.

Could you describe what exactly we are hearing on the tape? What are some of the source materials? Is there a theme or narrative that you had in your mind when you were assembling it?
Side A is mostly samples of live metal footage from 80's and 90's, and singers going on rants in-between songs, which I used for vocals on side A. For Side B, which revolves around the break beat, I used my collection of rare vinyl ripped breaks and created a journey from funk/disco to jungle/dnb.

You've had some high-profile projects like DJ'ing for Alexander Wang and collaborating with Le1f. How did those come about?
Honestly in both cases, with Alex and Le1f, they approached me after seeing me DJ. I respect both of them so much—when someone believes in you, it's an amazing feeling, and I wanted to show them that them they were right for bringing me along!

What are some of your forthcoming projects?
Right now I'm working on projects with Liz, How To Dress Well, Gia, Class Actress, Nomi Ruiz, and Antwon.