Man of many instruments

2016-02-02 06:00
Mr Kito, otherwise known as Eric Michot, is encouraging music fans to explore their own consciousness.

Mr Kito, otherwise known as Eric Michot, is encouraging music fans to explore their own consciousness.

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With his newest album, Observatory’s Mr Kito takes listeners down The Darkest Alleys in an exploration of the human condition in an effort to promote conscious awareness.

Eric Michot, as he is known by day, is a French multi-instrumentalist. This is the ninth release from the musician who aims to create a new body of work for his solo studio project each year.

Working in his own studio gives Mr Kito a rare opportunity to approach the songwriting process from a different angle than most.

“I don’t really sit down and conceptualise anything,” he explains. “I basically pick up an instrument I feel like playing, press record and do a take.”

If he likes the take, it will become a layer of a song. If not, he’ll go on to the next instrument, before eventually singing along to it.

Mr Kito takes his name from his young son’s mispronunciation of “mosquito”. Giving his solo project a name other than his own helped Eric create something that wasn’t wrapped up in his identity, which helps ensure that his ego doesn’t get in the way of his music, he says.

“The identification of self with the things we do often stands in the way of happiness.”

Eric has played with many bands during his time in South Africa and is currently the bassist for the Simon van Gend Band, who will be launching their new album this month.

He says he simply never got round to putting a band together for Mr Kito, but for now he likes being able to have a project where he can work at his own pace and be creatively involved with all the instruments.

Mr Kito is also a way for Eric to share his message of “conscious awareness”.

“Be aware of your ego and realise that you are not your identity,” are two lessons he finds are not a priority for many of the people he knows.

Eric points out that being free of one’s self creates an environment for “freedom, happiness and well-being”. He believes this message is one that is “vital for the survival of our species”, and will help the human race move away from the current society of hate and greed.

Eric’s own journey of self-awareness came from being observant of social behaviour and his own thought patterns.

“Everything that we do is a starting point – where we are is the opening to become aware.”

He believes that every person comes to a point where they are aware of their selves, but these moments are soon clouded by thoughts like “When will I get the next pay cheque?”

The key, he says, is to be more aware of our thoughts and sit with them, instead of moving on. The more time one spends in this conscious space, the more comfortable you will become and the more you can sustain it.

“Once the door to enlightenment is open, it doesn’t close.”

While Eric has always played alternative, rock and indie music, his journey has even seen him do a short stint in the dance genre.

His work as a pastry chef brought him to South Africa. He opened his own bakery with friends in Cape Town. After selling the business, Eric took the time to focus on his music again.

When asked why he stayed, Eric smiles and says: “Look around.”

“I find there are opportunities, space and lots of freedom. It’s a country that’s in development.”V Locals can catch Eric in action with the Simon van Gend Band when they release their new album at Deer Park Café in Vredehoek on Saturday 13 February at 16:00. Mr Kito’s music is available at­kito­music.­com where fans can also learn more about him.

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