“i am not a computer,
i don't think in binary.”

13 questions to Kristofski Kabuki, “disco facilitator”

I saw Kristofski Kabuki playing the queer festival in copenhagen, it was quite amazing: There was no stage but a crowd of people standing in a big dark hall with kristofski standing in a spotlight circle in the middle with just an ipod and dressed in a tiger-hood. people were frenetic jumping up and down with the speed of kristofski's beats...

Are all your shows like the one in copenhagen?

I wish! I’ve played several shows where most people have pretty much ignored me. It’s impossible to tell before a gig what it’s going to be like, I played in Newport a few days ago and I thought it would be difficult, but people were really into it and went crazy!

I don't have much of a clue about music, I'd say your songs are fast and fun. How do you describe what you are doing to someone like me?

I’ve always found describing types of music difficult, and it’s hard to tell people what my music sounds like because there aren’t really any well known bands that do similar stuff. The best description I’ve had is “it sounds like the by-product of the Pet Shop Boys, Mark Almond and Erasure having a heavy session of Super Mario Kart”. It wasn’t really meant as a compliment, but I think it sums it up pretty well.

How and when did you get started?

When I was a child I wanted to be a pop star, and I’ve always loved singing and any excuse to get on stage and perform. I’ve always written songs, but I had great trouble finding a band to sing with, I think because I didn’t really know what kind of music I wanted to make. I have an older sister who’s been into electronic music for a long time and has played synths in loads of bands (she’s currently in synth-pop duo Arthur and Martha), and she inspired me to start making music with my computer. Making my music on my own definitely works best for me at the moment, I don’t really have the confidence to show someone the beginnings of a song before it’s finished. I’d like to be in an electro band someday though.

Looking at your website and your myspace-profile it think the visuals really put across what your music is like. I read you went to a design school, do you work as a designer, too?

God no! Studying design for 3 years made me sure that that’s something I don’t want to do. My website is a rebellion of sorts, I’ve done pretty much everything you’re not supposed to do when designing. I do get asked to make lots of fliers for people though.

Your song “How to Look Good Naked” is on the 12'' Compilation “Action! Disco!” of cindy wonderful's “new and provocative independent record label” Crunks not Dead. Are there any other ways to take your music home?

At the moment I have a demo which I have been sending out to some people. I also have an ep I made last year, but it’s pretty dire. The songs on it that I still do I’ve changed completely.

Your resolution for this year was to release a single and to finish an album - i know the year is not very old yet, but how is the resolution coming along?

Well, with regards to the single, I’m a bit undecided about format. I really want to release Pink Moon on bright pink vinyl, but it really depends on how much it costs. I’m also debating whether to go completely DIY, even to the point of copying it myself on CDRs, or to try to find a record label who can release it for me. As for my album, I now have 8 songs that I feel are good enough to go on it, and I’m working my way through them recording the vocals. I want it to be at least 10 tracks, so I’m not too far off!

Your name “kristofski kabuki” makes reference to traditional japanese theatre. Did you choose that name because you like dressing up and playing roles?

Actually I didn’t know what Kabuki meant when I took it on as my name. I was signing up for the online community game thing Second Life, and when you sign up, as well as choosing a name for your character, you also choose a surname from a given list. Kristofski is a name friends had been calling me since school (some of them were taking Russian), and when I saw Kabuki in the list I just knew the two words had to go together. I’m pretty lucky that Kabuki actually fits pretty well with what I’m doing! (I never got to actually play the game though because my computer is too slow. I don’t feel like I’m missing out too much)

On your website it says the verb kabuku literally meant “to incline in a certain direction” – what direction are you inclining to?

I’m not sure, I seem to be inclining all over the place these days…

Do you remember the first time ever you got dressed up? What were you looking like?

I’ve always loved dressing up, when I was at primary school there used to be a fancy dress competition at the summer fair each year. The earliest one I can remember I was dressed as an orange. Other highlights include a scarecrow and Cleopatra.

What band would you really like to have a show with and what would you be wearing?

This is going to be totally predictable to anyone who knows me at all, but I’m going to have to say the Pet Shop Boys. I am actually slightly obsessed with them. One of my dreams is to perform a duet of Integral (an anti ID card song from their last album) with Neil. I don’t know what I’d be wearing, but it would have to be fucking awesome. Slightly more realistically, bands I’d really like to play with include Gay Against You (I feel our paths are destined to cross in the not-too-distant future), Tiger Tunes (Danish, don’t actually exist anymore) and Kevin Blechdom (a heroine of mine).

You are going to play at the Mühlheim Ladyfest in Mai - how did that come about?

Someone who’d seen me play in Copenhagen asked me to, and I jumped at it. Pretty simple really.

Are there other occasions to see you in or near Germany this summer?

I’ve not got anything planned at the moment, if anyone wants to invite me over there I’d be well up for it! I’m going to be at various queer events around Europe this summer and I’m planning on doing a European tour in the autumn.

What was the nicest thing someone ever said to you after a gig?

“You should present gay children’s TV” was a pretty good one.

Are there any good reasons to live in Cardiff?

You can come to F.A.G. Club, the queer night me and my friends put on (www.fagclub.net)! A few of us are going to be moving to Bristol this summer, but I’m sure we’ll be passing the torch to other people here. There’s also a really nice big park right in the centre, and you can go on adventures up the river.

Interview by email, first published in Hugs and Kisses Issue 2, April 2008