About Kai

Kai Strandskov is a private teacher (drums and math), performerrecording artist, and composer living in Seattle. He teaches both online and in person. Kai has recorded and toured with Stuart Dahlquist (DAMA/LIBRA), Joel RL Phelps (DAMA/LIBRA), Gary King (House of Leisure, Love and Fury), Gretta Harley (Love and Fury), Amy Denio (Love and Fury), Gino Jevdjevic (The Light), Jane Mabrey-Smith (Virago), Sean Moe (Stereo Creeps), Briga Dajczerand, and a long list of other fantastic human beings. His music compositions have appeared in a few Seattle 48 Hour Film Project films. His primary instruments include drums, percussion, and theremin. Kai recently served on the board for HONK! Fest West, and is a director with Seattle Composers Alliance. He is proud to advocate for music makers in Seattle.


Kai Strandskov grew up with music in the house. His father played the tuba in a Danish folk dance band and sang in the church choir, while his mother played a variety of folk 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 at the age of 9, 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 town, 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 avant rock band. With influences like John Zorn’s Naked City, No Means No, Sonic Youth, and Mr. Bungle, the band got louder and Kai set aside 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 briefly moved to Santa Cruz, California, and dabbled around in the bay area scene, and then dove into the deep end of the Seattle scene.

Since moving to Seattle, Kai has engaged in 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 played snare and tapan with brass bands like The m9 and Brasscadian Alliance, and sits in with many HONK! Fest West brass bands. He’s played doumbek with Sazerac Orkestra and Orkestar Slivovica, and has collaborated with the Rumba Kings.  He played klezmer music and toured the US and Canada with the Debaucherauntes, played electronic music with Techno Gauntlet, and made some Seattle rock with Love and Fury, and with the Stereo Creeps. He toured the US and Canada with doom metal band Dama/Libra. He has recently done theater work with the country musical Let’s Be Silver, and Gino Jevdjevic’s Balkan folk operetta Tesla Projekt: The Light. He has played chamber pop with the Dutiful Dreamers.  He has been a session drummer for Magnets Large & Small recording studio. And, he 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.  Kai also sought out Roma teachers Rumen Shopov and Demiran Cerimovic to take his tapan playing to the next level. He never stops seeking out new techniques and styles.

Kai is a past committee member of HONK! Fest West, and a current director with 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.