Ethereal DJ prefers seeking spiritual highs

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Ethereal DJ prefers seeking spiritual highs

Sometimes, music transcends the notes on a page. Fingers on an instrument. A voice raised in song.

It's the spiritual aspect of music that draws Kimball Collins to the turntables. His philosophy is stamped on the cover of his latest album, titled "Music Is Life."

When asked about that album, Collins laughs and reiterates, "Music is life." He is chatting from his Florida studio for an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo English Edition. Collins will be spinning in Korea on Saturday at Arches, a new club near Seoul National University.

Almost all the tracks on "Music Is Life" include vocals, which lends an ethereal element. Since he began in the 1980s, Collins has spun a variety of styles. But an uplifting quality marks all his music, from albums "ICU Session 1" to "ICU Generation 2000." He'd like to keep that positive vibe. "I don't want music to be about drugs," he says, "That's depressing."

As a deejay, he has seen that drugs are often part of the rave culture. But he believes that drugs are not necessary to get high. All you need, he says, is music to take you there.

How did you begin?

As a local deejay in Florida. When I started, I spun for free -- and on weekday nights. The club's manager saw I was able to draw a crowd and gave me a weekend spot.

What have you heard about the Korean club scene?

I have some Korean friends in L.A., and they tell me that, surprisingly, there are lots of parties in Seoul.

What's your latest music download or purchase?

I had a folder on my hard drive dedicated to '80s MP3s, and one of my associates deleted it. The entire thing! I'm trying to rebuild my folder, so I've been downloading '80s music.

How has the scene changed in your 15 years?

The most recent change is over the past year. Before 9/11, you had to choose between several parties on weeknights. The scene was hopping. Now, people are starting to choose where they spend their money.

Another change is the Internet. It makes it easier to hear new music, but it also means that some hard-core fans know about the latest before you do. Some deejays now spin from MP3s, but I'm still spinning from vinyl.

When you're traveling, you don't leave home without ...

A picture of my dog.

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by Joe Yong-hee

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