About Kai

Kai Strandskov grew up in a musical family. His father played the tuba in a Danish folk dance band and sang in the church choir, while his mother played a variety of musical instruments–including accordion in a Balkan music ensemble. It was as a small child while falling asleep listening to the intricate rhythms and melodies of folk music from around the world, that Kai naturally gained an interest in music.

Starting in the 4th grade, Kai played trumpet in school bands. It was in his senior year of high school that a buddy of his, Shawn Evans, introduced him to a local ska band, Smidgen, headed by Libby Roach. They gained some local popularity, and regularly played in the local scene and with touring bands that traveled through, such as the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. Kai also studied theory and composition during this period.

The next year, the band decided to reinvent itself into a more experimental rock band. With influences like John Zorn’s Naked City, No Means No, Sonic Youth, and Mr. Bungle, the band got louder and Kai ditched the trumpet and took on the drums. Kai obsessively taught himself the coordination needed for a drum set and to keep up with the complicated rhythms that the band required, listening to recordings of drummers with a wide range of styles such as Terry Bozzio, Mike Bordin, Jon Fishman, Neil Peart, Tim Alexander, Bryan Mantia, Carter Beauford, and John Bonham.

Kai continued to play in the local scene, working on additional projects such as the Heroin{e} Martyr Coalition, an avant-garde spoken word group, and A Million Fingers, a rock band with a strong political message. He also wrote some music and drum parts for these groups.

He briefly moved to Santa Cruz, California, and dabbled around briefly in the scene there, and then dived into the deep end of the Seattle scene.

Since moving to Seattle, Kai is playing a wide range of styles in Seattle; from the neo-wave progressive electroclash band Hidden Number, to the indy rock Trip Audrey, to a Party Metal band by the name of Shiplosion, to a chaotic Balkan ensemble called the Bucharest Drinking Team. Kai also plays snare with brass bands like The m9 and Brasscadian Alliance, and sits in with many HONK! brass bands. He’s played darbuka with Sazerac Orkestra and Orkestra Slivovica.  He currently is playing klezmer music with the Debaucherauntes, electronic music with Techno Gauntlet, rock music with Techno Gauntlet, and retro heaviness with Love and Fury. He has recently done theater work with the country musical Let’s Be Silver, and the Balkan folk operetta Tesla Projekt: The Light.  He has been a session drummer for Magnets Large & Small recording studio, and has released a solo project: ROBOrT.

In 2010, Kai went to Brian Oppel to get some mentoring and critique in order to reinvent his style and technique. This refocus on core technique expanded his endurance while sharpening his precision.  You should never stop learning.

Kai is a past committee member of HONK! Fest West, and a current board member of Seattle Composers Alliance. He is learning to play the theremin.

Check out the music page and the calendar. Hit him up if you want some lessons.