IN GLOBAL HEROES, WE SHINE THE SPOTLIGHT ON REGIONALLY CELEBRATED STARS WHO ARE MAKING A GLOBAL IMPACT
Jakob Kasimir – aka rapper-slash-performance-artist, Candy Ken – emerges from the warehouses of the Berlin art scene, Hello Kitty stickers brandished across his face and spitting bars about the big issues, from Candy Crush to Barbie Dolls and basic bitches. Earlier this year he dropped the Youtube hit, ‘RiFF RAFF iS MA DADDY’, which is a fair summation of his overall look: RiFF RAFF cross-bred with Brooke Candy, some pink hair, mascara and just about every item you might find in a five-year-old’s playbox. It’s a heady mix, so we thought it was time to get the low-down from the man forging one of the most distinctive, and polarizing, personas on the web…
When did you first become Candy Ken?
I always was Candy Ken, but I only became him on the outside about a year ago. I’m from Austria, which is quite conservative, and it’s difficult enough trying to express yourself in school. I visited Tokyo, which was a major inspiration to me. I’ve always loved colourful things and Hello Kitty. The people there really appreciate the way I dress. I guess it’s very kawaii.
You said RiFF RAFF is a major influence, have you ever met him?
Never. I wanted to approach him to do a song together because I feel as though I represent a new generation that is inspired by him. I don’t want to copy him but I do love the things that he does. I’m really happy that he is doing so well.
How serious is the Candy Ken persona?
I don’t take myself seriously, but Candy Ken isn’t a joke. He just isn’t thinking too much about what he is or isn’t allowed to do – like whether he can wear pink as a man, or grills even though he’s super white. I like how RiFF RAFF uses hood stuff, and I’m taking it one step further with the whole gender-role aspect as well.
“Candy Ken isn’t a joke. He just isn’t thinking too much about what he is or isn’t allowed to do – like whether he can wear pink as a man, or grills even though he’s super white”
How much of your life is taken up being Candy Ken?
I’m not just being Candy Ken on stage. I still to dress in a similar way – perhaps not as extreme – if I’m buying groceries. Obviously depending on what I’m doing I will dress up to different extents. I put myself through a particular exercise regime to make it look a particular way. It’s all part of my performance art. It’s part of my outfit.
What does beauty mean to you?
I like costume. I like coloured contact lenses, hair dye, bright clothes, jewellery. Some of my heroes include Die Antwoord, Lady Gaga, Brooke Candy, FKA Twigs… I also love the style of Marilyn Manson.
That doesn’t surprise us. The video to Barbie Dolls is quite scary…
Through my art, I live and create what I'm not allowed to in real life. In my music videos and photos, I can express feelings, and create unrealistic scenarios that I otherwise couldn't!
Follow Candy Ken on Twitter: @CANDYKEN69