Korra The Kid: A chameleon of sound

Korra the Kid @ Q nightclub. PHOTO BY PARALLAX

by Logan Portteus 

The Bellingham electronic DJ scene has been growing from the ground up in recent years. Among them, includes Lauren Taylor, better known by her stage name Korra the Kid. She predominantly plays drum and bass, mixing elements of jungle, grime and hip hop into her sets. Percussion-heavy, underground bass music drives her sets, and she is constantly expanding her genre range.

“I like to consider myself a chameleon, in that I can morph into any sound I like,” Taylor said. “I’m a little all over the place, but definitely more on the base side.”

While Taylor, 23, has been playing her own sets as Korra the Kid for several years, her connection to electronic music began earlier. When she was 16, Taylor began attending raves at Studio Seven in Seattle. At the time she was mostly into hardcore, which transitioned into dubstep. Taylor’s debut into mixing began when she purchased her first $50 Mixtrack 1. In the summer of 2014, just before moving to Bellingham from her hometown of Sammamish, WA, Taylor worked as a lifeguard and would bring her board to practice during breaks.

“I then I got the S-4, which I recently sold, but I now work with CDJs,” Taylor said. “They are the industry standard, you don’t need a laptop so you basically just plug your USB in and go. It’s a lot cleaner sounding, I think. There’s this debate of whether it makes a difference, but I definitely think it does. There’s just one less circuit you’re going through, which makes it that much cleaner.”

Upon arriving in Bellingham at 18 years old, Taylor began mixing at her friends’ house parties. She is thankful for beginning at that age because she had the opportunity to get better at mixing before playing club venues. By the time she was booking club gigs, she had three years of DJ experience under her belt.

The electronic DJ scene is growing in Bellingham and isn’t oversaturated with artists like in larger cities.

“Now, you can count on seeing electronic music here every weekend, and the people playing it are good,” Taylor said. “They’re not just backspinning into tracks. Like in Seattle, there’s just so many people in the scene, but in Bellingham we are actively building it and the people in the community love it!”

Taylor is a part of the Metanoia Collective, which has been one of the biggest forces in developing the Bellingham DJ culture. The five-person team hosts their own events, builds stage designs from scratch, creates backdrop visuals and several members are DJs themselves.

“We mostly book bass shows, but we have house nights and artists, too,” Taylor said.  “Our events are focused on production and stage building, bringing in vendors, making it more of a full experience than just the music. The music is sick but it’s even sicker when you get to watch somebody live paint while it’s happening!”

She also attributes the developing scene to another collective, Underground Transmissions, which typically focuses on house music.

Beyond her Bellingham experience, Taylor is a resident DJ for Deep N Bass collective in Seattle. Their events take place at the Monkey Loft, which Taylor said is her favorite club in the city. Rob Noble, the head of Deep N Bass, is one of Taylor’s biggest influences. She said that he has never played a bad set and has pushed her to expand her own sound.

“I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now without Rob putting me onto Deep N Bass,” she said. “He’s also just a really dope DJ and person.”

Some other artists that have influenced Taylor include Alberta, Canada-based DJ Oakk, who spins vocal-driven and percussion-heavy base, similar to Taylor’s sound. One of her more recent influences is Greazus, a duo from Vancouver, B.C. who meld hip hop into their sets, which Taylor has recently been getting more into.

The number of women producing and DJing is even smaller. Because of this, Taylor said she recognizes that she is representing when she is the only woman in a lineup.  Emily Patterson, who performs as episcool, is another predominant female DJ and the founder of Sus Collective. (She is moving to Los Angeles at the start of the month to continue her DJ career.) Taylor, Patterson, and Kendoll (Kendall Chase) performed a set together at the BAMF (Bellingham Arts and Music Festival).

“We had the main stage. That was really cool to see,” she said.

Taylor, who has finished her degree at Western Washington University, is preparing to move back to Sammamish. She will continue playing shows, including opening for Desert Dwellers on Oct. 11, and a Deep N Bass performance at the Monkey Loft in November. She also has an unannounced show with an artist that she can’t reveal yet, but described him as her music idol. The show will be through People Music, a Seattle-based concert-production company.

For events and information, follow Korra the Kid and Metanoia Collective on Instagram @ korrathekid and @metanoia_collective.