After possibly the busiest weekend in his life as DJ Kilo November, 11-year-old Kai Walden says he is pretty wiped out.
“I’ve been really tired this weekend. I had to practise lots the week before Folk on the Rocks and then I had to do three shows at Folk on the Rocks,” he told Cabin Radio at the Yellowknife Farmers’ Market on Tuesday.
“Then after that, I’m here playing at the market. So there’s been a lot going on.”
Playing Folk on the Rocks for the first time is something Walden calls “super fun” and a “big opportunity.”
“It was really fun and also really tiring, especially the one on the Cabin Radio stage,” he said. Kilo November closed down the Cabin Stage on Saturday evening to an audience of hundreds – the stage’s largest crowd in Cabin Radio’s history.
“I couldn’t stay up after I played,” he said. “In fact, I slept in for once.”
Any nerves he has before his set dissipate when the music starts. “Once I start playing I just can’t stop,” he told Cabin Radio’s live broadcast of the festival immediately after his Saturday show.
Fans of the young DJ could be seen wearing his t-shirt at the festival over the weekend, as could a few young fans at Tuesday’s market.
When asked how it felt to see fans like these, he replied humbly: “It kind-of makes me feel good about it.”
Walden says he is inspired by artists such as Skrillex, the first DJ he ever heard, and Martin Garrix.
When making a set, he gathers together his favourite songs and puts them together with new things he finds.
“I also look at some new artists, and sometimes I search up the artists and see what type of songs they have. Then I try to put them in the right order so it sounds better.”
The NWT Creative Collective’s Sami Blanco, aka Temple Volant, started mentoring Walden a year ago.
Kai Walden (Kilo November), left, with mentor Sami Blanco (Temple Volant) at the Yellowknife Farmers Market. Emelie Peacock/Cabin Radio
Blanco says it has been magical to see Walden take the stage.
“He’s already the next DJ of the North,” Blanco said.
After their whirlwind of a weekend, Walden and Blanco now shift into production mode.
The pair are planning to work with synthesizers and drum machines to create new music. They are also in the beginning stages of an album which will feature Walden’s own songs alongside remixes.