Gradually, Kid Beyond eased back into the music business. After a short stint playing in a band and feeling burned out, he left to travel and study Buddhism in a monastery. Upon returning, he started playing with other musicians, singing with bands and providing backup for friends before venturing solo.
Then he put all the elements together — he could write songs, sing, beat box, play instruments and more. So he sought help and asked friends and other musicians for ideas on what he could do with the music.
“I think I had some profound experiences … it cracked my head open and I had seen the matrix,” says the San Francisco-based beatboxer, lyricist and live looper, who will appear at the Treasure Island Music Festival Saturday. “It was like finally the end of the matrix where you learn to chill out and you see the matrix all around him — it’s all flowing through it.”
The second time around would be different. He wanted to use multiple instruments, experiment with looping and sounds while spreading conscious living messages: “I wonder sometimes, ‘How is the work I’m doing, and how would it inspire someone to take some small action in their lives or treat people different or look at their world differently?’ All we can do is plant seeds.”
At last week’s the Power to the Peaceful festival, he performed “I’m Alive,” a song about Marla Ruzicka, the 31-year-old activist who was dedicated to improving the lives of Iraqis. In 2005, she was killed by a suicide bomb in Iraq, where she was advocating for war victims.
Kid’s performance goal was to keep the young woman’s memory alive. The audience understood the message; the response to the song prompted questions about the woman and her work. For the musician, to be able to inspire one person to take action is enough.
Time will tell, however,whether balancing the emotional and political in his songs will work. But right now Kid is determined to finish writing songs. His first full-length album is scheduled to be released next year. It will include some darker material inspired by a trip last month working with a shaman in Peru.
But he plans to play it safe at the Treasure Island Music Festival on Saturday, leaving the new songs and equipment for lower-profile events. Unlike at Coachella Valley Music and Art festival and some other big, multi-artist concerts, there are no scheduling overlaps, so there are no excuses to miss Kid’s set.
“Come dance your a– off and spread some love,” he says.
Where: Tunnel Stage, Treasure Island Music Festival
When: 3:25 p.m. Saturday; festival runs noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Tickets: $58.50 for one day; $110 for both days