Bristol-based trio KOKO have become renowned for their electronic-pop sound, with addictive dance, indie and hip-hop swagger. With members Oliver Garland (vocals), Harry Dobson (bass and synth) and Ashley C (synths and lead guitar) having previously released two EP's and several singles in 2020, their new single 'Talk' marks a new and exciting chapter for KOKO. 'Talk' has an infectiously catchy beat to it, that will inevitably be ringing in your head for days on end, which is the sign of a great single!
Here at The Lowdown, we recently had the opportunity to catch-up with KOKO, to talk about their new single, what they have planned for next year and much more. Keep reading to check out what they had to say!
You have recently released your new single, 'Talk.' What has it been like for you to have new music released?
"It's been a dream come true! We had such a tough year, along with everyone else, as you can imagine, but it was just so hard not being able to play shows whilst we had been putting out music last year. Now, everything has almost gone back to normal. We have new music under our belt which we are so ready to put out into the world, with a new sound, new look and a new energy. We just can't wait to finally get our music out there, get on stage and play for everyone!"
You shared a recent post on your Instagram about the various challenges that you have faced collectively over the past number of months. Do you feel that the release of 'Talk' marks a new chapter for the band?
"100%! We came to an end with many things last year. With having new music coming out and a lot of stuff planned for next year, we feel refreshed and more ready than ever. It's going to be one hell of a year next year. We can't wait to show the world what we've got!"
As a trio, do you find that you have quite a similar creative background?
"For sure! I mean, we all grew up in different cities, having different hobbies and listening to different music, but then we met at a party a few years back and that's when it all clicked when it came to our music and who we wanted to be. It didn't take long to figure out we were all on the same page. We've all grown together. Everything we've gone through together has made us the KOKO that we are today. We never tried to direct how we wanted to sound. It all just fell into place. We feel that this new music we have is our best yet!"
For anyone who hasn't heard 'Talk' yet, can you sum it up in a couple of words?
"It's about a time in your life where things could be worse, but things could be better. The thing that gets you through those times is that one person to help you reminisce on times together. Whether this is love, family or friendship, it's that feeling that you are at your highest when you are connecting with that person!"
How long did the single take to come together, right from the initial stages?
"Probably about a year I think. We wrote the track early last year with a producer (Dan Goudie). We kind of sat on the track for a while. It was always one of our favourites, but we just didn't know where to go with it. We then revisited the track later this year with one of our friends and that's when it clicked that this had to be the first single out. After everything that's happened and the time we wrote this song, it just felt right for this to be our first song back and to show people what's to come from us!"
Do you have a favourite lyric from the single?
"'I don't know what I need, I suffer silently.' The song is about having that freedom of being able to talk to someone about anything. I feel that a lot of people keep stuff bottled up and they do suffer in silence, so we just feel that this connects with people and is relatable in so many ways!"
Who would you say are your musical influences collectively?
"There's so many people that started out inspiring us, from the likes of The Weeknd, The Neighbourhood and Billie Eilish. As we've grown, we have taken inspiration from the likes of Disclosure, Khalid and just a more overall dance vibe, but still with KOKO's dark edge!"
Amid the various lockdowns over the past year and a half, have you found that it has given you the opportunity to focus more on your music?
"At first, no, because we were all in different cities around the UK. We tried the Zoom and FaceTime writing sessions, but it just wasn't the same with us being all in the same room. We took some time to spend it with our families. The minute we were allowed, we were straight in the studio constantly and have been since. We have been working so hard since the lockdown rules were lifted and feel our music is only going to get better from here."
What's next for KOKO during 2022? Will there be more singles/an EP/an album/live shows?
"YES, YES, YES! Like we've said, we've been working so hard and have so much more music to share and we are still writing more and more. Album/EP-wise, I think we are going to stick with singles to start with, just to introduce us back into the world, as it lets us have more freedom in writing and producing and not having to set a lane for each song, but live shows will come next year. We will be going full steam ahead! We had so many amazing show opportunities taken away from us last year, so we have a lot of making up to do!"
Is there one big dream that you guys have for KOKO over the next couple of years?
"The obvious is to be able to play stadiums around the world, but the main thing is to just connect with people through our music and let them, just for at least three minutes, let go of everyday life and lose themselves in the moment listening and experiencing our music!"
Finally, do you have a message for all those who support you?
"Thank you so much for sticking around when we went quiet. Thank you for believing in us when other didn't. Thank you for always loving our music. We are doing this not for us, but for you. That's what makes us the KOKO we are today!"
KOKO's new single 'Talk' is out now and is available to purchase and stream through all major responsible music purchasing and streaming outlets.
By Rachel Dempster