Introducing the dark and dynamic electronic pop of KOKO. The Bristol trio make music awash with oceans of feeling, and spiced with an indie, hip hop swagger. It’s the soundtrack to your Saturday night, to the time you held hands at the bus stop, and to all those 4am hands-in-the-air moments.
Effervescent, electro-tinged first single ‘Freak’ sets out the band’s stall, extolling the virtues of being yourself to a silvery web of beats. “It’s a FU to the man! We’re telling you to be whoever, or whatever, you want. Embrace individuality”
Oliver Garland (vocals) Harry Dobson (bass, synth) and Ashley C (synths, lead guitar) met at a party in Bristol in 2017. Oliver, who had grown up in Thailand, was on the path to becoming a professional bare-knuckle boxer. Harry had picked up a skateboarding sponsorship before an injury cut his extreme sports career short. Ashley C was forced to take a different approach in his teens, locking himself away for months on end whilst battling severe anxiety.
All members had dabbled with music previously but came together that night over a mutual love of fusing genres. After realising that they were all on the same page, the trio set about jamming together in that hallowed place of every good indie band origin story; Oliver’s dad’s garage. “Nothing too professional happened in there, just sitting about on practice amps and playing in a smelly garage,” recall the band.
A natural synergy occurred, powering the trio to write music in a way that forgoes hierarchical band structures in favour of something more fluid. “People who meet all three of us for the first time often say it feels like they’ve been hit by a wall of energy. We like to call it the KOKO triangle,” they say, half-joking.
High up on KOKO’s list of influences are The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar and Travis Scott. The trio take inspiration from the freestyle element of hip-hop, often applying aspects of this to their own organic songwriting method, which is sometimes a trial and error process. “We’ll make some beats in the studio and then lay stuff down. If it works, it works—if not then we just move onto the next thing”.
‘Freak’ is the first in a series of tracks to come from the band, with more music to be announced very soon.
The band will play at London’s The Waiting Room on January 22nd.