KOYO EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
What do you think makes you stand out from other artists and what makes your music stand out?
An insane amount of thought goes into our music and I think that shows and rubs off on people. I also think there’s just a huge dose of personality in our music. When people come and see us live they say they can sense there is a huge amount of chemistry between the five of us, and sometimes when we get into a rhythm the connection between us is so strong and unconscious that people find it mesmerising, the atmosphere palpable.
When did you decide that music was going to be the career you continued with for the rest of your life and what made you come to that decision?
Just the sheer amount of passion I have had for it since I was young that it felt like I couldn’t possibly do anything else. It’s what I’m good at, so it wasn’t really a question of what I was going to do. I just knew. I think the same goes for all the other guys in the band as well.
Other than musicians who would you say is your biggest inspiration?
I find myself to be very inspired by athletes. I find the intense professionalism, training and sometimes impregnable mental strength they have to adopt is comparable to the way you have to approach being an artist or musician. If we have a show coming up, I know I need to train in order to enjoy the show. You need to enjoy playing live, the same way an athlete wants to enjoy their sport, and if they don’t train, that doesn’t come. You also need to have an incredibly thick skin and positive mental attitude. And it also shows me how important rest days are. You should never over do it. It’s all part of it.
Do you believe in luck? Do you have anything that brings you luck or rituals you do before a gig etc?
There’s no denying that some people seem to get insanely lucky, and find themselves in the right place at the right time. But I don’t believe you can rely on luck. You make your own luck. You have to work hard, and maybe one day you might get lucky. That’s all you can do.
Did you enjoy music at school and were you any good?
Yeah I loved music lessons at school. Me and my friends used to play together in this tiny little sound proof room they had, and instead of getting on with the task we were given, we would just jam together. I remember one time a jam got so out of hand I raised one of the school classical guitars in the air and put a hole in the roof.
Pick a song of yours and tell us the story of how it was written and what the song is about?
“Out Of Control”. It was the last song we wrote for the album. We were on a roll at that point and were able to turn new songs around very quickly. It was pretty much written in an evening. We found sometimes the longer you sit on the same ideas, you lose that spark that started it all off. You almost want to finish it within that moment where you first get excited about it. That’s when you’re in it. It’s about getting itchy feet, yearning to just go somewhere. See new things, meet new people. To be given a chance to start over and be around people who have no pre-conceptions about you. So you can be the person you want to be.
What was the 1st performance you did in front of people and what was your first gig you did and can tell you tell us about it?
I think it was at my local village youth club when I was about ten years old. Me and my best friend Ollie started a band together, me singing and playing guitar and him on drums, and we played a version of “Purple Haze”, as well as our own song called “Sweet Funk Lady Lover” haha. That was a banger.
What does music mean to you?
I feel most connected to music when improvising. That’s when you really switch off and become part of the music. That meditative feeling is what music means to me. I also think music and playing music is something that anyone should be able to enjoy. As soon as you think you’re somehow better than everyone else, and think everything you touch turns to gold, it’s game over.
Getting better at music isn’t always just about getting “better” in the typical sense, but understanding what actually make music special. It’s about being real, true to yourself and relatable, I think. But hey, I’m still learning.
Take us through a day when you are writing or recording?
When writing we’ll usually throw a load of ideas at the wall, not thinking too much about whether they’re any good or not. And if it’s a good day, hopefully they’ll be some good ideas in there. Then we’ll develop those. Usually done through improvisation. We try to get it done very quickly. The dream would be to write a song, and have the definitive version of it recorded on the same night.
What would you like to achieve in the next year?
I’d just like to feel like things are headed in the right direction, building our audience and fan base organically, and our music always improving. As long as we feel that, we’re happy.
What one thing could you not live without and why?
Music. It’s a love hate relationship, but without it I’d probably be hating my life and wondering why.
Take us through a rough timeline of your career so far and what would you consider to be your personal highlights and achievements?
We started recording our debut album in Wales in 2016. We released it in 2017 to widespread critical acclaim, which took us by pleasant surprise. This led to us playing various boyhood favorites such as Download, Reading and Leeds, Live at Leeds, Ramblin’ Man, Rockaway Beach and Camden Rocks festivals. We’ve been played on 6Music a few times. We got to do a very special live session at RAK Studios in London, where the Bends and Morning Phase were recorded. That was hugely inspiring. Then last year we started recording our sophomore album with producers Tom Orrell and Mike Horner (Everything Everything, Hot Chip, Franz Ferdinand) and released it in June. So far we’ve had a really positive response and have gained some new supporters. Obviously we can’t play live at the moment, but hopefully that’ll change.
If you had to write an advert to advertise your act and your music what would it say?
Unpredictable, beaming with raw energy, impassioned, spontaneous, beautiful.
What is your favourite way to listen to music and do you ever listen to your own music?
I love listening to music in the car, in the shower and while travelling. And yes we do listen to our own music, after all we make the sounds that we want to hear and can’t hear until we make it. So when it’s out I usually listen on Spotify or on cd in the car to get the “official” experience. I’ll play it for a while, and then probably won’t listen again for a while as we’ll be thinking about the next move.
Who would you have to play you in a film about your life and career and what would the plot of the film be?
The film would be about a struggling artist looking for success and I’d maybe get...Ed Norton in? ;P
If you had to change your image, genre of music and just reinvent yourself, what would you do?
I’d become a monk and make ambient music.
What has been one thing you have done during your music career that you regret or wish you could go back and change? What would it be and why?
I’d spend less money on industry sharks and take less gambles, the music industry is fickle. I’d just stick to my guns, trust no one, be immune to people’s bullshit and rely on nobody but ourselves. Nobody cares about your music as much as you do and won’t work as hard on it either.
How has Covid 19 affected you ?
In a big way. Mainly in the sense that we can’t play live. The only way to reach people is online and it can be tough out there. There’s a lot of competition. It’s definitely made us reflect, and reconsider how we’re going to approach this once things hopefully go back to some level of normality. I think the bottom line is we just want to make sure we enjoy it. So everything we do and every decision we make has to have that as the main interest and priority or what’s the point.
Can you give us a rundown of all the music related things you have been up to in the past couple of months and what we can expect for the future?
We’re doing a live session next week. We’re playing a load of songs off our new album. It’s gonna be played on BBC Introducing, so keep you eyes out for that. We’re also releasing a standalone single at the end of year that we recorded with Strokes producer Gordon Raphael. We can’t wait to show you. Aside from that we’ve been writing lots of new stuff, which we hope to record soon and release in the new year.