Eric San (born 1974), who records under the name Kid Koala, is a Canadian DJ, turntablist, musician and an author of graphic novels. He is signed to the British record label Ninja Tune, is a member of alternative hip hop supergroup Deltron 3030, and The Slew with Dynamite D and former members of the Australian rock band Wolfmother, bassist and keyboardist Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett. He has also made appearances with many other artists from Amon Tobin to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and has made contributions to Lovage, Peeping Tom, Gorillaz and numerous other projects.
San attended Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, but graduated from Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School, in Rockville, Maryland, U.S., and went on to study elementary education at McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec. He would eventually distribute copies of his demo tape Scratchcratchratchatch to students living in residence at McGill. He is well known for his enigmatic style of turntablism, which uses an unusual collection of samples. He has been known to use samples of music from Charlie Brown television specials, old comedy sketch routines (including those that mock turntablism), people sneezing, and people reading a menu in Cantonese. He is well known for his cheerful demeanor at concerts and having a good sense of humour.
San is also an illustrator and an artist, having designed all of his own album covers. A comic book he drew is included as the liner notes to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Following the release of the album, Kid Koala toured extensively, during which time he opened for some of his favorite artists, including Radiohead and Björk.
He has also released a full length graphic novel, Nufonia Must Fall, which includes a soundtrack CD he composed. Some of my Best Friends are DJs includes a chess set as part of the packaging.
This album was supported by a cabaret-style tour throughout North America, Europe and Australia known as The Short Attention Span Theatre, which featured an unpredictable opening act—3 Djs (Kid Koala, P-Love, and DJ Jester the Filipino Fist) on 8 turntables set up like a band, and a bingo game at intermission among other tremendously quirky surprises. Following this tour Kid Koala has performed DJ sets all over Asia, as well as in Iceland, Eastern Europe, Russia, and South America whilst working on a new book (apparently about a mosquito trying to play a clarinet) and a unique puppet show set to take place in 2008.
San popularized a method of playing the turntable like a melodic instrument, where a long, single note is dragged under the needle at different speeds, creating different pitches. Since this method of adjusting pitch is imprecise, the resulting notes waver and bend. Thus, in the song "Drunk Trumpet," San uses this method with a trumpet note to simulate a drunken trumpet player, interspersing drunken vocals to complete the effect.
When playing live, San often uses one of a kind records cut with custom sounds from which he creates his own songs.
San released the Kid Koala album, entitled Your Mom's Favorite DJ (ZENCD127), on 25 September 2006.
As of October 2006 San was married and had recently embarked on a 90-city tour.
In 2008 he toured as the opening performer for DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist's "The Hard Sell" tour where he ended his set with a now legendary mix of "Moon River" where he essentially creates and edits in an extended violin solo by playing various long violin notes from the song's instrumental section at different pitches on four turntables, all live.
During San Diego Comic-Con 2010, Kid Koala performed before a special free showing of the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The next year at Comic-Con, he performed before a special premiere of the television series NTSF:SD:SUV::.
In June 2013, his studio album 12 bit Blues was longlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize.