A key member of the Pacific Northwest’s small, but dedicated, group of electronic innovators, Joey Butler aka Kid Smpl has spent the past several years developing a unique aesthetic that draws from Japanese video game music as much as it does UK soundsystem culture. Initially garnering widespread attention in 2012 with a flurry of EPs and the sound-defining Skylight LP on Seattle’s Hush Hush Records, Kid Smpl has seen a meteoric rise over the past several years for an artist who, defiantly, does not function as a traditional dance music artist. By taking strains of familiar genres, aesthetics and eras, Kid Smpl reaches into the deepest recesses of your memory to elicit, not just nostalgia, but an acute sense of the past, present and future.
An alumni of Red Bull Music Academy 2013, Kid Smpl has spent the past several years honing his craft and performing with a who’s who of on-the-fringe artists/sound designers, sharing stages with Andy Stott, Oneohtrix Point Never, Evian Christ and more. In the meantime, Butler has managed to contribute to XLR8R’s podcast series, perform live for KEXP and play taste making festivals like SXSW and Decibel Festival. Recently, he’s joined Kastle’s Symbols stable, releasing the deeply affecting Precinct EP for the Los Angeles outfit. And where Butler’s work with Hush Hush had a deeply discerning, elegiac quality to it, his recent output has taken a turn towards physical rhythmic elements and noisy, brash sound design, a marked turn, but one that feels innately natural.
Elements of his influences (Burial, Emptyset, J Dilla) can still be found in the Kid Smpl sound, but Butler has managed to develop an aesthetic that is all his own, pushing a cold, futuristic assemblage that is as delicate as it is world smashing. His live set encapsulates that perfectly, a 100% original journey through memory, futurism and technological decline, guided by the occasional breakbeat or square wave. Butler is currently working on a follow-up to Precinct, set for a Fall release on Symbols. Several years after breaking into the electronic music world’s consciousness, Kid Smpl can be viewed as a true original and the development of his sound over the next several years be a site to behold.
"Shine the spotlight in further on the track in question, Focus Ribbon, and you see just how much the harder genres mentioned above are screaming out. Percussive elements are pretty much redundant, giving way for beaming chords and jaw-clenching stabs that make us think of the peak of the night, maybe 3am, when everything gets a bit blurry and extra-hedonistic. Be warned, its full frontal sense of immediacy will have you listening over and over again." - Dummy Mag
"Kid Smpl seems to de-construct electronic tropes, to break down genres at an atomic level. Assembling the resulting wreckage into beautifully brutalist structures, the Seattle-based producer's new EP 'Response/Ascend' is forthcoming on Symbols." - Clash Magazine
"A five-track affair, Precinct appears to find Kid Smpl continuing to evolve his singular brand of immersive productions, where widescreen sonic landscapes and ghostly melodies are cut by otherwordly (and often distorted) rhythmic structures." - XLR8R
"Kid Smpl's EP Precinct—with cold, futuristic synth tones, and the occasional bout of affected breakbeat rhythms— represents a distinctive maturity as well as an evolution in the producer's aesthetic." - Do206
"Beginning with a set by Kid Smpl and the visuals of Baryonyx, the quickly growing crowd not only felt the beat as it pounded into their chests, but they were also brought on a journey through the shapes, the cities, and the intricate worlds Baryonyx and Kid Smpl created. The timing of each crack and each wave of familiar yet other worldly sound is perfectly in line with each break and shatter of beauty within the video. Kid Smpl’s way of creating a relaxed atmosphere, while making his songs danceable and catchy, was fantastically amusing, and I was clearly not the only one who thought so. As the crowd grew, feelings of excitement and appreciation began to take form. Decibel Fest had begun." - KEXP
Early play and support on multiple Rinse FM shows and Triple J Radio.
Response/Ascend EP (SMBL039)
Release Date: October 23, 2015
Response/Ascend EP Digital Links: