“It feels good to make people dance anywhere in the world. I love living in New York, and I’m so happy that I get to participate in what’s going on.”
Kim Ann Foxman
DJ, producer and vocalist Kim Ann Foxman looks like she stepped straight out of the 90s. Casual and chic, the slickly quiffed tomboy from Baroque pop group Hercules and Love Affair is now enjoying life as a successful solo artist. Wearing a leather cap and wife beater and hiding beneath a cropped crown of mahogany curls, Kim Ann is somehow androgynous yet distinctly feminine at the same time. Breathily spoken, with a slight lisp, her Bambi-like brown eyes have that mischievous twinkle of self-assurance. Something even more apparent when she steps behind the decks, where she has presence and mad skills enough to command vast crowds for hours.
Growing up in Hawaii, Kim Ann moved to the more liberal San Fran for college. The product of a hippy household, wherever this young spirit laid her leather biker cap was where she called home. Initially training to be a jewellery designer, the Piscean’s first foray into the creative arts was through fashion. Designing heavy-duty, chrome, unisex accessories, her style and aesthetic of that time is representative of the slick, signature, electronic house music she creates today. Kim Ann’s finely tuned house positions her at the helm of the underground NY gay dance scene. Her success is an accolade to her work ethic. Landing a job at notorious dive bar The Hole after first arriving in East Village in the early 90s, she spent her youth guerrilla DJing between serving rounds and organising cult girly club night Mad Clams. Giving dance floors full of admirers butterflies when she flutters her brown eyes, Kim Ann is the woman all the girls want to go with and be like. Meeting former band mate, close friend (and i-D cover star) Antony Hegarty through a former girlfriend’s flatmate, Kim Ann fell into making music with Hercules and Love Affair before independently releasing her debut, floor-filling anthem Creature on Andy Butler’s independent record label Mr. International.
Not a big fan of colour, Kim Ann likes to keep her silhouette understated and her look simple. She’s into stripes, leather and basic tees. Channelling 80s old school R&B, she looks to Bobby Brown for style notes and swears by Opening Ceremony’s slick, monochrome threads. She cites personal stories and experiences as central to building her strong character, while electronic acts The Wicked Crew and Doc Marten have had a profound impact upon her minimal rhythms. Headlining transatlantic dance events, constantly remixing, collaborating and producing to keep her parties wild and alive, Kim Ann is girl power personified.
Where are you right now and what have you been doing today?
Today I’m just hanging out. I got my hair cut earlier by Holli Smith. I’m working out some details on a remix I’m doing. Later I have dinner plans, and after that I’m DJing for a magazine party.
Chat me through a typical day for you…
Depending what kind of schedule I have going on, a typical day may include answering lots of emails, getting work done either at home or in the studio, meeting with friends, walking a lot around the city, spending time with my loved one, calling my best friend Kiyoshi in Hawaii - we speak every day - watching a movie at home, eating out, packing for the weekend, waiting at the airport, reading a book, taking a flight, napping, DJing or a gig!
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
What’s the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
How do you write and record your material?
It depends. Sometimes I have a theme or story in mind first. Sometimes ideas start with just jamming out to a track or a bunch of machines to see what happens. I usually work out a hook, and then work around that. I record my ideas, organise them and make a sketch, develop that sketch with a lot of messing around, add a bunch of sounds, replace sounds, take away a lot of sounds and then fine-tune details until it’s ready.
What are the creative processes when working on a remix?
With a remix I just pick out a few key parts that are given to me to work with and I create a new environment for it.
Tell me about the first club night you ever put on?
I put on a night called Mad Clams on a Friday at The Hole, which is now closed because The Cock moved into the Hole. It was in the East Village in New York from 2003-2005. The night was complete mayhem. I was running the night and I didn’t wanna charge at the door so I mainly bartended to make cash. I was everyone’s favourite bartender because I basically gave the bar away, it was completely debauched. That night was one of the only places in the city that seemed to have no rules, we got away with everything. The venue was a total smelly dump, dark, covered in graffiti, the DJ booth had cockroaches crawling in and out of the mixer, and the toilet was the nastiest one in all of New York. It was so fun! The party was filled with a nice mixture of all kinds of people, my friends would DJ and we’d play all kinds of whacky aerobics videos from people like La Toya Jackson, Estelle Getty, pregnant moms wearing sunglasses, Barbie, gospel aerobics, sex aerobics. My collection of aerobics videos is real fun and we also made our own videos as well… I stopped my party because The Hole was closing and I ended it with a closing party called Silence of the Clams.
Are you still running your own club night?
I recently started a night with Silvia Prada. We do a party at Le Bain every once in a while. It’s not a regular thing, just every once in a while.
What new tunes can’t you get enough of at the moment?
Azari & III are my fave current live act at the moment.
Where in the world is the best place to party hard?
Who are the most notorious players in the underground NY club scene?
There are a bunch of different parties, the Wolf + Lamb crew and No Regular Play have great parties, then there’s Spank, Ladyfag, BLVCK AMERICA, Saheer Umar.
What’s life like living the dream on the NY nightlife scene?
It feels good to make people dance anywhere in the world. I love living in New York, and I’m happy that I get to participate in what’s going on.
How do you keep yourself focused and productive when excess, extravagance and non-stop partying constantly surrounds you?
My crazy party years are under my belt. I’m way more chilled these days. I’m surrounded by it a lot, and I love to DJ or perform at a wild party, but I personally hate being hungover so I don’t go there. Also I have to keep my energy and health up, travelling so much every month, and feel good so I enjoy my gigs more.
Have you ever indulged in a hedonistic lifestyle?
I had some kooky party days, but I think I’m lucky as I’ve always known my limits and have never found it necessary to do things in excess to the point where it overpowered my own personal morals.
Are you in a relationship at the moment?
Yes, I’m very much in love.
Who is the love of you life?
What kind of a girlfriend are you?
I’m full of surprises, in a good way, I like to have fun.
Are you attracted to more feminine or more masculine women?
Feminine, with a strong edge.
Did you ever ‘come out’ to friends and family?
My dad told me that my grandma had told my mom that she suspected I was gay when I was about eighteen or nineteen. Then I confirmed it to him. I think my friends weren’t too shocked really, it wasn’t a big deal. My mom took a while to get used to the idea but we have gotten really close since then.
How much do you think your identity is tied up with your sexuality?
My identity defines who I am and my sexuality is a natural part of me. It doesn’t define who I am.
How old were you when you had your first kiss?
I was eleven, I think.
What are you looking forward to right now?
I’m looking forward to my new adventures as an artist and I’m looking forward to my new couch arriving.
If you were to take i-D on a perfect date one day, what would we do and where would we go?
I would invite you to have some cocktails at a BBQ and we would dance all day. I love daytime parties.
What are your weekend plans?
I’m DJing at a party here in New York called Xanadude and I’m going in to help clean and rewire the studio with my boys.
Tell me a joke?
What did one octopus say to the other octopus? I wanna hold your hand hand hand hand hand hand hand hand.
Can we have a kiss goodbye?
Sure, a kiss for you! X