Slender and unassuming she might look, but Kim Ann Foxman is the type of girl who goes out and gets exactly what she wants. A native Hawaiian, Foxman’s rise to prominence was as one fifth of NYC house collective Hercules And Love Affair. Recording two of the biggest house music albums in recent memories, the outfit found themselves riding a wave of critically acclaimed house and disco nostalgia that would propel them around the globe performing now-legendary live sets from Shanghai to London.
Yet, to only define Foxman by the band’s accolades would be to overlook the huge successes she has enjoyed in her own right. From running the notorious NYC club night Mad Clams, to laying down vocals on tracks for everyone from Kink to Layo & Bushwhacka, to international DJ bookings to making her own jewellery, Foxman’s CV is as colourful as they come.
And now, having left Hercules And Love Affair, Foxman is cementing her reputation as a solo house producer. Her first 12” Return It has just dropped on NeedWant, and work has already begun on a solo album. We caught up with the feisty DJ and producer to ask her why she’s decided to fly solo…
Let’s get this out of the way, as I’m sure there will be lots of people wanting to know: why have you left Hercules & Love Affair, and furthermore is your departure permanent?
Yes, it’s a permanent decision for me. I left because relationships change and I felt it was time for me to [be in control] of my own musical adventure and share my own stories.
You grew up in Hawaii, but you’re pretty synonymous with NYC these days. How and why did you make the move?
When I was eighteen I moved from Hawaii to San Francisco for college and lived there for seven years. After that I moved to NYC in 2002.
Obviously you’ve been DJing for a while now. Let’s go back to the beginning. What was your first encounter with house music? How did you make the leap to DJing?
Growing up I was really into freestyle and RnB and bands like Technotronic, so house music was a natural progression for me. When I started getting into house music, I was still in high-school and my mom was strict about my curfew, so I got a job behind a non-alcoholic bar in a club just so I could stay out late and listen to the DJs! That was my introduction to house music.
You’ve toured with Hercules And Love Affair, and have also been a DJ for a long time now. Which do you prefer performing live or djing?
I love djing so much [and] I think it’s a lot easier than playing live. Playing live can be challenging depending on [whole range of] different situations but then again that’s what makes it so fun.
Talking about djing, you played at Fabric’s birthday in London a few weeks back. How was that?
That was so much fun, I loved it! The soundsystem was amazing, and the room was great. Bicep [who also played] were amazing and people were really feeling the night, and so was I.
Do you have any favourite clubs or cities that you love to play?
fabric is a new fave. I’m also really looking to playing at Panorama Bar on NYD. I love spinning at London, Berlin, Helsinki, Turku, Sao Paolo, San Francisco and Tokyo.
You recently released your first solo record Return It on Needwant. Were you getting fed up playing second fiddle to other producers?
I just wanted to take things into my own hands this time, although [having said that] I do love collaborating with other people. I’m excited to be producing my own things, and not having to depend on anyone if I don't want to.
What have you got scheduled in terms of more releases?
I will have another solo single out early next year, as well as more collaborations and remixes that will be coming out very soon. But my main focus for next year is to finish my solo album.
Any other focuses for next year?
I also want to start playing out with live elements [in my DJ sets] as well.
How did you approach producing music. Do you set yourself studio time, or is late-night post-gig sessions in hotels and on planes?
It’s a combination of both. I set myself studio time, but if I get ideas on the road I always make a point to sketch them down somehow and work them out in the studio later.
I spoke to Frankie Knuckles in the summer and he said that the city government in NYC is very restrictive in terms of parties. Would you agree?
It is very strict. In general, in NYC it’s [often] hard to find a good sound system that you can crank up. However, in the past couple of years a lot more underground things have been going on, in Brooklyn especially. Things are really happening a lot more than they were in the past years for sure, which is really cool.
Going on from Knuckles and NYC, whilst gay culture is undeniably a central part of house music’s origins, it’s seems like a topic that is increasingly over-looked or not talked about in dance music. Would you agree?
I think people should know about the history of house music, of course! I think it’s important [for people] to know how gay culture played an important role [in the formation of house] and how house music brought all kinds of people together, regardless of race or sexual preference, where they could be free and just celebrate together. House music is for everyone.
|Kim Ann Foxman Online|