MR.KITO is the musical solo project of Eric Michot, a French multi-instrumentalist, living in Cape Town, South Africa. Having played extensively in the local indie music scene, Eric recently began writing and recording his own songs. By featuring on several online platforms at once and focusing on simply getting the music out there, MR.KITO was able to get to the enviable response from music fans worldwide. MR.KITO 8th Album “The State Of Presence” is about to be released, under his own record label “Presence Records” and published by SUGO Music Group.
Entertwine: Could you tell us about the time you spent in the indie music scene leading up to you beginning to write and record your own music in 2012? What inspired your moniker?
My experience in the indie music scene has been diverse in both Europe as well as South Africa. When I arrived in South Africa in 1996, I offered my services to the local music scene. I have been welcomed by the South African music industry with open arms right from the start, and never looked back.
Even though I play various musical instruments, I have primarily played bass guitar for group projects and bands. The musical repertoire of projects I was involved in varied from Punk, alternative, Rock, Reggae, Folk, Electronic, Afro acoustic and indie etc. It was original music all the way.
During this time, I had the chance to share the stage with some great acts, like Cypress Hill for example. I toured all over the country numerous times as well as Europe. I also participated in memorable recording sessions with local producers as well as craftsmen from abroad.
The story behind the name “MR.KITO” goes as followed, Luc my son, 5 years old at the time, mentioned that he got bitten by a “Mr.Kito” during the night (meaning to say “mosquito”). I loved it and adopted it since I was looking for my solo project name!
What is it like living Cape Town, South Africa? What is the music scene of Cape Town like?
Cape Town is an amazing city, very beautiful surroundings, basically a perfect holiday destination. The people are friendly and diverse. Living here is different from being on holiday and it is not without challenges, like many other cities around the world. Even so Cape Town remains a great city to live in! There are a multitude of outdoors activities available to residents since the city is surrounded by the sea, the mountain, and wine lands. The night life is very prominent with an abundance of clubs, bars and venues, catering for every type of musical genre for the local crowd and visitors from overseas. The weather is pretty clement throughout the year too.
Could you tell us about your involvement with SUGO Music Group?
An exclusive publishing and distribution deal with SMG has been positively negotiated for my latest record “The State of Presence”. My record label “Presence Records” and SMG are now partners for this release. “Presence Records” was established 2 year ago and SMG have been running their successful operations for over 30 years.
SMG is the largest global music distribution network of retailers, broadcasters, licensors and channels in the industry today! I am delighted for the opportunity to work with the SMG very dynamic and competent team. I have already gained knowledge from their experience and expertise. The previous releases materials are mostly published by “Music of the Sea Publishing” and “Kaos Publishing”.
This is your 8th album, correct? How does this latest release differ from or expand from your previous releases? Could you tell us a bit about each project? What inspired the album’s artwork?
Yes you are right, “The State of Presence” is the 8th release for Mr Kito (there are 6 albums and 2 EP’s).
I am growing and evolving with “my” art. Making music is an integrated part of my life and every release is a continuity of where I am at emotionally and intellectually.
The creative process is very simple. As far as I am concerned, I sit behind an instrument, press record and play. I layer all the instrumentations and vocals the same way and end up with a product. I do this without any specific direction. I simply have a point of departure, a starting point to dive off of. I generally have no idea where I am going which means my work is based largely on improvisation. I capture and layer what emerges from my creative process. That’s what I do.
This album, “The State of Presence” defines the space I am entering or draw the inspiration and material from when I create music. I believe there is an abundance of creativity at our grasp if we know how to make ourselves available to it. . I don’t believe we are creating anything new. I personally promote the ability to “Accept” whatever condition or state we may be in, and take the path of “least resistance”. Practicing these elements allows me to connect with my inner self and therefore access the creative source.
I actually became aware of this process while recording “Where Are the Lizards?” (Previous release) and with “The State of Presence” I have committed myself to be in service of this process. So, a continuity is clearly apparent in the creative process, and therefore in my life as well. I enjoy every aspect of it and share the outcome with a growing community which is wonderful.
The album cover reflects perspective and stillness, which is what the state of presence is as well. There is depth in the actual picture, many layers, colour and water, like life. The “blurry” theme of my album cover represents the non-absolute and vagueness or ambiguity of Existence. You are in your life and yet not really, or are you? And if so, who are you in it?
How have you been able to build such a large following online? How are you marketing your new record now that it has been released digitally?
I initially released and gave away 4 albums worth of material without any financial reward. I shared what I had and gave it away to anyone willing to take it. I placed the material for free on any platform available. I shared it with whomever I came across. People started to share it as well. This created some kind of momentum.
Record labels approached me for promotions etc. I spent some money in promotion schemes and advertising as well. I decided to register my own record label so I would have better control over my affairs such as signing publishing deals. That being said, I basically went with the flow and followed the opportunities as they occurred. I learned from my mistakes and improved. Pretty much like life really isn’t?
Regarding “The State of Presence” release, quotes are being reviewed at the moment regarding promotion and marketing. No partnership has been agreed on yet. A video for the single “Alexander the Great” will be the first video that is released. A meeting the videographer is scheduled for next week to finalise the concept.
I usually use “HIP” as video promotion company (Andy and team are brilliant- recommended). I also plan to make use of good old world wide radio promotion as soon as some hard copies are available. (Most radio stations still request CD’s).
I am already in the studio working on the next record, due for release next year at the same time just so you know!