Music industry executives love labels.
It just makes sense for them and the retailers who sell their
product to identify a record's key elements and then assign
it to a specific category. In most instances, this sort of
compartmentalization works well. But when it comes to dance
music, things get much trickier.
With so many categories to choose from
- house, trance, ambient, drum & bass, to name a few -
it becomes extremely difficult to sort artists into the numerous
and often overlapping genres. Then the catchy adjectives are
added - like progressive, deep, acid, tribal - and the task
becomes even more daunting. But is it really necessary to
label dance artists and their music so precisely? The English
trio Kosheen doesn't think so, and on their full-length debut
album, "Resist" (Kinetic), they respectively show
While an increasing number of dance acts
are experimenting with a wider range of music, Kosheen is
the embodiment of this electronic evolution. The Bristol-based
group cleverly combines the haunting vocals of Sian Evans
with a plethora of disparate, breakbeat-inspired musical styles
to create a mesmerizing masterpiece that defies narrow classification.
While the group has already enjoyed success around the world
with the singles "Hide U" and "Catch,"
the album was just released in the U.S. on March 5th and promises
to captivate American audiences as well.
Each member of the group, which also includes
Darren "Decoder" Beale and Mark(ee) "Substance"
Morrison, has worked in the music industry in varying capacities
ranging from club promotions to DJing to performing with live
bands. Building on their extensive background and respective
strengths in electronic music, Decoder and Substance eventually
realized it was time to take their innovative ideas to the
"We wanted to do something different,
something more musical, more song-based," Decoder recalls
of Kosheen's formation. "That's when we met Sian - it
was perfect timing, really." And perfect chemistry, too.
Collaborating as equal partners, the three musicians have
developed a unique sound that Evans describes as "organic
technology." "[We use] very conventional methods
of writing which often involves us sitting in a room with
acoustic guitars," Decoder explains. "Then we take
it into the studio where we've got heaps of technology, but
there's still an organic side to the music."
While Kosheen's sound is often described
as Drum & Bass, Decoder cautions against pigeonholing
their music so precisely. "Drum & Bass is just a
part of it," he insists. "It inspires me, as does
a lot of music, but it's only a little slice of Kosheen. To
say that the whole album is Drum & Bass is not correct."
In fact, Decoder's creative process knows no boundaries. "When
I sit in the studio and write something with Kosheen, it's
a clean slate. It doesn't matter what the beats are or what
the sound is - as long as I like it, Markee likes it, and
Sian likes it - it doesn't matter what it is."
One element that clearly sets Kosheen
apart from other electronic acts is its use of vocals. Building
on the basic philosophy that "a good song is universal,"
the group strives to compose sophisticated songs that transcend
the traditional electronic studio track.
Kosheen's versatile music also translates
well into live stage shows. After an extensive tour of Australia
and Europe backed by a full band, Kosheen brings their act
to the States this month for a 2-week East Coast tour including
two performances during Miami's Winter Music Conference. They'll
return to the U.K. at the end of March to support the release
of their album's third single, "Hungry." The second
leg of their American tour commences in May and will include
dates on both coasts.
Please visit Kosheen.com
for more information.