Kim Dotcom, the party starter
Kim Dotcom tells Vicki Anderson about his debut album Good Times, new music platform Baboom and the upcoming movie about his life.
German born Kim Schmitz, also known as Kim Tim Jim Vestor, Kimble or Kim Dotcom, used to love listening to trance and dance tracks during high-speed hoons down the German Autobahn.
"I love driving fast in my tuned Mercedes and prefer going over 200 kmh. Driving in New Zealand can sometimes be a bit slow."
Such driving beats have inspired his debut album of "optimistic party tunes", Good Times, yet another bizarre chapter in the life of the internet millionaire.
His colourful past includes convictions for hacking and insider trading and, depending on your point of view, he is either a career criminal (stroking white cat, evil laugh, dresses like a ninja) or a freedom fighter.
Nevertheless, it's hard to dispute that it's been a big week for Dotcom.
On January 15 he announced via Twitter that his "Internet Party" will contest the next election in New Zealand. He won't be able to stand as he is not a New Zealand citizen, but he is bankrolling the party that he hopes will propel disillusioned young non-voters and "internet voters" into action.
Monday marked the second anniversary of the raid, known as Operation Takedown, on the rented mansion in Coatesville he shares with 24-year-old former model wife, Mona, and their five children, carried out by New Zealand police at the request of the United States Justice Department. He launched his album Good Times via Kimpire Music, and "soft-launched" his new music platform, Baboom.
On Tuesday he turned 40: "My beautiful wife, Mona, threw me a Great Gatsby themed surprise party - 24 hours in, I can't complain."
On the album Dotcom largely takes a producer's role, opting to speak/rap in a stilted Kraftwerk- lite manner on a few tracks. The production values are typical of others of the genre. It's commercial and generic but in parts the album is surprisingly better than those with preconceived notions might assume.
This is perhaps a credit to the vocalists which include Laughton Kora on Amazing and Change Your Life, Tiki Taane on Little Bit of Me, wife Mona on Take Me Away and United States-based artists Ilati - who stands out on the album's title track, Amari and musical director of the Black Eyed Peas, Printz Board.
Lucia Rudd, the youngest daughter of AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd, contributed backing vocals to the track Party Electricity.
The track Party Amplifier sounds a little too close to the Prodigy's Firestarter for my comfort.
Lyrically, Live My Life is ironically humorous and surprisingly catchy in a similar way to novelty tracks like Psy's Gangham Style.
In it Dotcom sing/talks: "Don't like suit and a tie, don't want to work til I die, I just want to live my life. Don't want to go to war, know what happened before. Don't trust politics, I don't like their dirty tricks."
In the video he doesn't appear naked on a wrecking ball - he doesn't appear at all.
Dotcom thanks his mum in the album credits.
Early reviews of the album have been less than favourable.
One reviewer described it as "electronic waterboarding" while another commentator speculated that, if played backwards, it might contain the subliminal message: "Capping. It's not cooool."
But Dotcom is undeterred.
Ever since he began working on it in 2011, he intended it to be "optimistic pop-dance music perfect to party to", which he hopes encourages listeners to "have fun and live life to the fullest".
Not many people make an album while fighting an extradition request. Dotcom faces up to 55 years in prison in the United States for money laundering and copyright theft, with the United States government alleging his MegaUpload site has cost the entertainment industry up to $550 million in lost revenue.
Not many people would then call that album Good Times.
"I'm an incredibly positive person. When I was younger, I was in a major car accident - the car was completely smashed and looking at the wreck, it's a miracle I survived. After that, my philosophy became that every day should be lived to the fullest and you shouldn't waste your time being angry."
A press release for the album included the claims that it was "rejected by several digital distributors for being too controversial" and that "major labels attempted to prevent radio airplay of his songs".
But when questioned about these allegations, Dotcom gave no response.
He is, however, "incredibly happy" with the way his debut album has turned out.
Recorded at Neil Finn's Roundhead Studios, Dotcom describes head engineer Neil Baldock as a "genius".
"The mixing desk that he uses was used for mixing The Who's Quadrophenia, which gave the album a huge expansive sound. Making the album was the most fun I've had in my life."
Mikee Tucker, the man behind record label Loop and who directs and manages Fly My Pretties, has resigned from his roles as National Marketing Manager for Ticketek and New Zealand tours manager for Nine Live, and has been appointed Managing Director of Dotcom's new music platform, Baboom.
Dotcom believes it's going to change the music industry.
"It's a hybrid between iTunes and Spotify. Baboom gives artists the power to sell directly to their fans and gives them 90 per cent of sales - a far bigger share than ever before. It also rewards users for being loyal to artists and Baboom with users earning money from advertising that they can spend on music. Users just have to install a plugin for their web browser. It cuts out the middleman, the user can get music for free and artists still get paid. It's a win-win for everyone."
There are plans for a nationwide tour in support of the album: "Soon".
His last live performance was at Rhythm and Vines festival backed by a band which included Laughton Kora.
No, Dotcom didn't stage dive.
"That was the biggest rush - 25,000 people screaming and huge fireworks going off. My band and I played six tracks from my album. We filmed the performance and have released three videos recently for Amazing, Party Amplifier and Change Your Life."
A movie about his life is already in progress: "It's currently being promoted at Sundance."
Other future plans include another album and ensuring his children learn the "right values".
"Future plans are endless. I'm going to record a new album called Hard Times which will still be electronic dance but a lot harder. Then I've got the full launch of Baboom, an ongoing struggle for justice . . . and making sure my kids get a good education and the right values."
Ahem, let the Good Times roll.
Kim Dotcom's album Good Times is available for free download from Baboom.
- The Press