Streamer Spotlight: Award-winning streamer Joey Kaotyk flips through the chaos of real life
“Hip Hop really saved my life”
July 7, 2017 was momentous for Joey Kaotyk [pronounced chaotic]. From his bedroom, he started to show the world the perspective of an Asian B-boy traveling around the globe when he began streaming in real life [IRL] on Twitch. Because he literally likes to jump into things headfirst, his bio stated full-time streamer for his first stream called ‘follow = backflip.’
Nearly four years later and with over 125,000 followers accumulated over all his socials, the very first question is very simple - Did you do all those damn backflips?
“I didn’t. But I definitely did somewhere between two and three thousand to start. That’s what I was known for,” said Joey in LiFTED’s inaugural Streamer Spotlight column, focusing on the growing connection between streamers and Hip Hop.
In 2005, Joey’s Taiwanese family emigrated to the west coast of America. Around this time, Joey started to get into Hip Hop through vinyl and B-boying. “My dad was a lightweight record collector,” Joey said. “Hip Hop really saved my life.”
He met some friends and they soon formed the Gorilla Warfare Crew, a B-Boy crew that got good enough to travel around the world for competitions. In 2017, a friend insisted he come to E3, a computer game and technology conference, in Los Angeles. Twitch had been known for streaming gaming, but IRL had just launched. This intrigued Joey so much that he quit his decent job at Tiffany & Co and decided to give it a go. “The IRL people were rockstars and I love video. It was a perfect match,” Joey said.
Soon, Joey was off streaming. His parents didn’t know what to make of it at first, but they trusted him. “My dad didn’t think I’d last three months, but I’ve always been a kid they trusted since I didn’t do drugs and was one of the first ones in the family to graduate.”
First with a phone and then leveling up with his gear, Joey started going outside the United States for streams. He spent a considerable amount of time in Japan, where he showed his followers a lot of new and interesting things that they might not have known. Then he went to Taiwan, where he’s been stuck since the pandemic hit.
After a relationship ended, Joey started racking up the days in a row he was streaming IRL outside. First his goal was 50, then 100. Then he upped it to 200. Once he hit that, he thought about going for a whole year, but COVID-19 finally caught up with Taiwan, and the whole country was put into a soft lockdown in mid-May. “200 days in a row! That’s so crazy! Who does that?” Joey asks rhetorically. “I felt like I wasn’t ready for a day off, but I wanted to be respectful in Taiwan and not be outside so much.”
LION AWARDS AND THE FUTURE
While most of the world has been in lockdown for the last year and a half, Joey has been streaming all kinds of intriguing things, taking in all the cool sites and events, DJ-ing at local clubs in Taiwan, and has even been making cameos in DJ Ray Ray’s live streams and videos. All this led to him winning Streamer of the Year at the recent Lion Awards. “Honestly, I was the only no name on the list, I didn't see any of the nominees talking about it on their socials at all, but I’m stoked for the opportunity and glad they’re uplifting the Asian creator space.”
As for the future, Joey definitely wants to visit his family and Japan again when things open up. “Cali, Japan, and Taiwan. That’s my trifecta,” he said.
Looking a little further down the line, Joey doesn’t have an end goal but “I know I want to be signed by an Esports company. That would help me branch out, up the production values, get more resources, and get me some extra income.” He’s not 100 percent sure that a content house would work in Taiwan or that he would want to manage new streamers, but he thinks he has a lot of knowledge to share.
“Right now, I just want to keep streaming and traveling. I’ll worry about the future when it comes.”