Need a gift for a gifted musician?
1984 on Halloween night and a 4 year-old Kurtis is ready to put on his Go-Bots costume. After exiting the McDonalds drive-in in his father’s Blue Chevet, happy meal in hand, his father turns to him with a grin, “Hey Kurtis, I have something you’re gonna love.” He pops a cassette into the tape player. As Kurtis eyes the illustration and lettering on the cassette cover, his father shares the title of the album, “Who’s Afraid of the Art of Noise”. The tracks are filled with haunting samples of machinery, vocals and distortions that are heavily manipulated and transformed into melodies over “Boom Bap” percussions. The song sounds like a garage with power tools creating music. Kurtis’s mind ventures through realms he’s never before experienced. His heart races with excitement, and a new kind of energy. He clasps the empty cassette case even harder. His father smiles and looks straight ahead, paying attention to the road home “This is The Art of Noise”, he states.
Kurtis Hairston was in no way afraid of the art of noise. In fact, he embraced it. He held it tightly, close to his heart and it became the basis behind his love of electronic music.
In 2003 Kurtis packed his bags and his musical gear to pursue his music career in Brooklyn, New York City. One summer day he ventured to the Gowanus Yacht Club, a local beer garden in Brooklyn. It was filled with punks, underground hiphoppers, indie kids, and artsy Brooklynites and served cheap food and even cheaper beer. It was there that he explained to his friend Christopher, “I need a new name. I’m tired of thinking up “cool” names that try to explain who I am as a musician. I just want to call myself Kurtis.” Christopher agreed and said, “Why not just make it K-R-T-S? That way it’s catchy, but it’s still Kurtis.”
Kurtis smiled, downed his Brooklyn Lager Beer, shook Christopher’s hand and said, “Hell yeah bro. I can dig that.”