Koyo Interview

How much have your friends and families played a part in your career so far?


A huge part. I knew from an early age what I wanted to do and they’ve always supported me in that. There’s no way I’d be able to do this without them. Not to mention the fact I grew up in a very musical household, so that definitely influenced my ambitions in the first place. My brother does all our artwork, my Dad fulfilled his ambition of starting a label and named it after the street my brother was born on, so the relative success we’ve had has been a ride for everyone. 


When did you decide that a career in music was for you?


Probably around age 9. It’s been so long I can’t even remember a time I didn’t want to do this! I started a band with my childhood friend Ollie. We used to play Purple Haze and wrote a bunch of our own tunes as well. We used to play the village festival every year! 


Who are your musical inspirations and why?


Say what you like about Guns N’ Roses but they were pretty much the reason I picked up the guitar. Kurt Cobain for his lyricism, songwriting and honesty. He was the living embodiment of an artist. Nick Drake, Mark Lanegan, Layne Staley…pretty much anyone who’s real and authentic. There’s too many artists these days who are just imitating or have ulterior motives. They think they’ve cracked the code to success but have already contradicted themselves by losing themselves in the process. Jaco Pastorius for his impeccable groove and ability to play firmly within the pocket. John Scofield for his phrasing. The list goes on. 


Can you tell me 3 things about yourself that people might not already know?


I’m doing a masters degree in composition starting in September. I toured Europe as a synth bassist for synth pop act Kari and appear on her latest album. I was born in my house.


What song of yours best describes you and why?


Probably Jettisoned? When I think about all the influences and experiences that make up my musical identity or our collective musical identity, I think that song out of anything we’ve released so far covers the widest spectrum. It’s heavy, epic, grungey, funky, psychedelic and at the same time quite intimate. As a person I can be quite sensitive. I’m also quite observant and like most people, can overthink things. Lyrically it embodies a lot of those qualities, if you can call them that…


What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?


Download Festival. We were fraught with anticipation and it more than lived up to it. We played the best we’ve ever played, it felt real being stood on a stage that size and we had an incredible reaction from the crowd. 10/10. 


If you could perform a gig at any venue where would it be and why?


We want to headline Brixton Academy. That would be the ultimate rite of passage. Internationally…there’s so many! Somewhere on Sunset Strip like House of Blues or the Troubadour. I’d love to play a theatre or auditorium in Rome or something like that! Or a small club in downtown New York. 


What has been your best achievement to date and what would like to achieve in the future?


Releasing an album and the overwhelming critical acclaim we received off the back off it. Playing Download Festival, Tramlines and Reading and Leeds. Being able to tour the UK. We just want to be able to sustain this career for as long as we possibly can. To keep moving forward and reaching new heights. 


Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?


We’re developing a reputation amongst our inner circle for forgetting guitars...Luckily it hasn’t affected anyone beyond the point of them being able to see the funny side yet. I forgot mine at Leeds Festival…our tour manager had to drive back and pick it up. Luckily it was Leeds, so we were close enough to home for him to save the day. Seb turned up to a show in London once and did the same thing, and even walked on stage once without his guitar! We had to improvise the start of the set while we waited for him to go back to the dressing room and grab it! 


What do you like best about being a musician and why?


The few moments where you feel you really can say that ‘I’m a musician’! That’s what we do it for. 

If you were not in the job you are now what would you be doing?


I’d still be trying to be a professional musician. There’s no alternative. 


What has been the best gig you have been to as a fan and can you tell us about it?


In recent memory I’d say seeing Meshuggah at Download earlier this year. It was a boiling hot day, the sun was beating down on us almost to the point of extreme discomfort. That coupled with the intensity of Meshuggah was pretty special. It almost had a Mad Max type edge to it, as though we were in the desert at some kind of rally or something. Other than that I’d say seeing the semi-reunited Guns N’ Roses with my Dad at the Olympic Stadium in London. That was a childhood dream. I never thought it would happen. 


What would your ideal festival line up be and why?


I’d bring Chris Cornell, Layne Staley and Kurt Cobain back to life and put on a grunge revival show in Seattle. 


What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?


I can’t single one out. I’ve had some good ones though. A good song needs to be 50% familiar mixed with 50% of the unfamiliar. Don’t give up on your dreams. The one’s who make it are the one’s who don’t give up. And don’t go into this business thinking it’s all a big game, you need a thick skin. It’s not for the faint hearted. 

What things make you happy and what things annoy you?


Being around friends, family and loved ones makes me happy. Bitter people annoy me. People who give you a hard time for simply doing what you love doing.  


What things do you like to do when you are away from music?


My new year’s resolution was to actively pursue hobbies again. I realised I’d reached a point where I’d become so involved in music that I wasn’t doing anything else. I remembered that it makes you happy to do things for no real reason! So I’ve tried swimming, climbing, cycling, yoga and playing football. Now I do them all at random intervals. It helps me to switch off. 


Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry and how do you cope with using social media to build a profile in music?


In the current climate it’s an absolute must. It’s integral to have an online presence. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing. Unfortunately that means that everyone does it, so the market is extremely over-saturated. It’s ten times harder for a band to stand out from a crowd that has become so overwhelmingly huge. It’s not like it was before when ultimately the music you listened to was chosen by A & R executives. Now anyone can do it. Which is obviously great for so many reasons, but it also comes with its own set of backlashes. We’re coping okay, we’ve been successful in keeping a steady flow of content. There’s a fine line between overdoing it and not doing enough. 


How important do you think you look and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?


It’s definitely important. Anyone that doesn’t think so is perhaps a little naive. Yes it’s about the music, without that you’re nothing. But if you look like shit are you really gonna get anywhere? Unless you define that as an image in itself, which is difficult because it’s already been done. I think you run the risk of looking like you don’t have a clue what you’re doing. But then I also hate it when you go and see a band and it looks too forced, as though they’re all in uniform. It still has to be true to who you are. It has to be real. Dress like the real deal. Don’t turn up to a gig looking like you just came from work or just finished cutting the grass. You’re performing! I see that all the time. Wear something you really love but wouldn’t normally have the balls! We’re still working on it! 


Can you tell us about any tattoos you have and the significance of them to you?


I don’t have any. 


If you run the country for a day what would you change about it and why?


I’d ship all the racist people to an island in the middle of the Atlantic and drop a nuke on it.


What would your ideal day consist of?


Waking up.


Can you tell us about your up coming tour dates and what can we expect.Also what things do you do before during and after going on stage?


Raw-talent, energy, relentlessness, loudness, epicness, saxophone solos, massive riffs, more intimate and personal moments, improvisation and freeness, unique to that night and that night only.  


Beforehand we all have our own thing. I like to stay out of people’s way and do some vocal warmups, get into the right headspace. One pint of water and one pint of beer. Go to the toilet…Afterwards we celebrate, discuss the show, chat with people, try and sell merch. Buy more beer!


If you could say one thing to your fans what would it be and why?


Thanks for being our fan! 


How would you answer the questions who are Koyo?


The sound of Huw Edwards, Jacob Price, Seb Knee-Wright, Dan Comlay and Tom Higham together. 


Can you tell me one thing about each member that people might not already know?


Seb’s also in a grind core band and neo soul band. 

Tom’s in so many bands there’s talk of putting on a festival called Fest de Higham where he has to try and sustain an entire day without leaving the stage while his various bands play their sets around him. 

Dan has perfect pitch. 

Jacob didn’t play synths before this band, he honed his craft specially for the greater good of the band!  


What was the first record or song you purchased and why?


Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park. I saw One Step Closer on MTV!


What would say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?


Do you understand what you’re getting yourself into? 


If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician who would you choose and why?


We’d love to have records produced by Kevin Parker, Mutt Lang, Steve Albini… 


If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?


Happy Birthday! 


What things make you uncomfortable?


Being sober around people that aren’t! Being inebriated around people who aren’t is fine though! Just not for them.


If you wrote a book about yourself what would it have in it?


Hopefully I’m yet to find out the best parts.