Sonic Diaries: Sango
Producer & Artist
We speak to Kai on a Tuesday. Our conversation is peppered with the rustling of shopping bags, the mechanic whirrs of a cash register and the slam of a car door. We speak about how his creative process has shifted with the birth of his child and he admits that his relationship to music has changed – “it’s an endless education that’s going on in my head.” There is a refreshing candidness to him; Kai is frank about the compromises that must be made when balancing a rich family life with a successful career, yet this doesn’t seem to have dampened his passion for perfecting his craft. “If you’re making a certain sound, you should focus on the sound and try to perfect it,” he tells us. “That’s what makes music sound good."
Introduction Chynna Lao
Sound editor Kai Lao
"Where did music start for you?"
“When I moved out of Seattle to Michigan… well, we had a computer and it was kind of rare to have a computer at the time. In the neighbourhood I lived in, there wasn’t a lot of kids that went like outside like I was used to... especially during in the winter, I just stayed inside the house and messed around with computer. I ended up, you know, learning that way.”
"What music are you
“It’s weird. I’ve kind of stopped listening to music. I only listen to music if I’m getting ideas. What I’m listening to now though is samples and…I listen to a lot of podcasts about music. I’m not like, you know, oblivious to what’s going on. I mean, I’ve definitely heard the new Drake songs and stuff like that. But, as a whole, I’m not committed to hearing it. I dunno, it kinda makes me sad because I’m not like a fan no more, I’m more just like an analyst right now. I just… every time, it’s how my mind works at this point. And I actually enjoy listening to music this way because it’s an endless education that’s going on in my head.”
"How has your creative process changed as you've matured as an artist?"
“Man, it’s kind of an odd day today but typically now when I make music, a lot of my ideas are just whatever I can get out at that moment. Now it’s just – alright, I got this idea, Imma definitely make this sound really good, Imma use the most out of my time to make this sound the best that I can make it. It’s maturing me as a creator.”
On Good Music
"What defines good music?"
“I guess my job is to find a way to like, push the boundaries but not too much where people can’t understand what I’m doing and they dismiss it. You know what I mean? I get disgusted quick when I hear like the same thing over and over... especially like in hip hop for example. It’s the same type of lyrics, same type of chords, same type of this and that. Every genre has that. A lot of people, I don’t know what it is, they get tired of their sound easy and they give up on it and try move on to something else. And that cycle keeps happening. They just need to know that like, if you’re making a certain sound, you should focus on the sound and try to perfect it. That’s what makes good music sound good.”
On Creative Outlets
“Graphic design is like another way for me to not think about music, I guess. But I’m still creating, you know… that’s why I like to cook because I’m creating but I’m not thinking about music. Because sometimes you can drive yourself crazy thinking about music all the time.”