Name: TOM KC
Mission: TO BRING THE BEATS BACK
My memory of meeting Tom at Glade Festival in 2009 is pretty funny. He was passed out on the grass at a camp site full of hippies, armed with cosmetic paints. Watching him get turned into a colourful human canvas was certainly entertaining! We have a lot of mutual festival friends and it was through them and other people from Southampton that we met. We’ve bumped into each other at a few festivals since then and also keep in touch online.
After graduating from a Digital Media degree at Brighton University in 2007 Tom learnt how to become a VJ. VJing is Visual Jockeying, mixing visual content shown by projection or on TV screens in the same way as DJs mix music. “I learned a lot of theory and a few forms of media software and had seen some great visual performances; there were regular events going on here with no shortage of local DJs but no one local doing live visuals for these kinds of nights.”
For 7 years Tom has been doing visual projections under the moniker VJKC. “Sometimes its as simple as showing an event or act’s logo with some animation in place of expensive banners, or for psychedelic events providing an animated element to the decor. I like VJing for the same reason as we all enjoy dancing to our favourite music, it’s a chance to take the music in and then output a physical/visual response to it.” His residencies so far have included Clinophobia (Southampton), Slackers Convention (Volks, Brighton), BFG (Bristol) and currently Gonnabesick and Psylance (Southampton). He has also done various things at festivals including a walkabout micro-projection act at Glade and Boomtown in 2012 and stage visuals at Pulse, Phatdrop and Boombap in 2014.
Tom’s proudest moment was when he got a chance to perform at Glade in 2012. “I was there with the projector hat. I’d been sitting on a couple of Pico (micro, LED powered) projectors for a year or so and got the idea at some point in 2011 to try and make one of them head-mountable. I managed to build a head-rig quite easily out of wire, but needed to protect the beamer from the elements as well as creating a character for the act. A costume top hat with a panel cut out of the front did both. The final key ingredient was the white umbrella which provided a mobile projection screen and a neat accessory for the outfit. Of course in the end there was barely any rain, just winds of up to 70mph so the umbrella got a bit wrecked but other than that the shows went well!”
In the past Tom has had to deal with some serious mental health issues. “I’ve had a nasty habit of getting Sectioned in the Summer for the past few years which can be a bit of a setback, not as much of one as you might think though! Seriously though, mental problems suck, whatever your experience of them might be. Having been through the mill and round the block a couple of times the best things I’ve found are practising mindfulness and tai chi. Knackering yourself on the dancefloor can be a very helpful release too!”
As of January this year Tom has gone back to running his own parties with Dropoutz, a party brand he started back in 2012 at the King Alfred, which closed about 6 months later. The name Dropoutz was inspired by his favourite event in Brighton called Slackers Convention who’s mantra was ‘Beats, breaks and party noises for the discerning underachiever’. “I thought ‘what’s one step beyond slackers?’ hence Dropoutz! The music policy is anything with a breakbeat, so we’ve had a mixmash of Hiphop, Triphop, Breakbeat, Tearout, Ghetto Funk, Garage, Drum n Bass, Breakcore and even a bit of trap.” By being involved in the local creative scene he’s met a lot of “really talented people who hadn’t necessarily found a platform for their work, so Dropoutz at The Alex is a space to bring all that visual, technical and musical talent together – and also an excellent excuse to get some of my favourite DJs to come and play in town!”
The next Dropoutz event at The Alex in Southampton will take place on May 6th. “We’ll be featuring breakbeat legend Pyramid! Nicky was a founder member not only of Pyramid but also of definitive tearout breaks act Ctrl Z – this man’s bass music credentials are to be neither trifled with, nor sniffed at. He’ll be supported by our residents TXC142 and RabidAcidBadger plus a selection of local selectas, to be announced in the next few weeks. We should also have some original artwork by Truel to display, following the success of AJ Meek’s exhibition at the last one.” For more details please visit the Facebook page below.