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Kosheen interview: Back to Their Roots

Author: Jeremy King
Friday, March 17, 2006
After wowing the electronic world, Kosheen went for a more rock focus with their second album. Now they're coming back to their roots.

The story is a pretty familiar one. Two music boffins hook up with a girl who writes songs in her spare time and has a glorious voice. After a short time spent together in a small studio tucked away in some English backwater, they emerge with an album branded with their own style of trip hop-infused electronica. This sort of thing was happening all over the UK in the late '90s when trip hop and electronic music ruled supreme on the airwaves. And such was the very stereotypical beginnings of Kosheen whose music career exploded with their debut effort Resist back in 2001. Armed with catchy singles and a very marketable front woman, the group began touring incessantly around the globe before recording their follow up Kokopelli. As with so many groups who have a successful first album, the group's second effort was almost entirely recorded and written on their tour bus, no doubt amidst the piles of sausage roll wrappers, coke cans and groupies. Kokopelli was a bit of a shift for the group as it tended to focus more on the rock elements of the group's previous work and move away from electronica.

However, when the touring died down from Kokopelli, the two boys from the group, Darren Decoder and Markee Substance, gradually began to move back into the world of electronica. This move back into bleeps and beats is no doubt due to the fact that the boys have been getting more and more into their DJing. And as Darren from the group tells me, this return to electronica is definitely making him smile. "We are really happy with this album," he tells me in a bright chirpy voice. "It's very electronic and very studio based. On this album we really used the studio as an instrument as opposed to just a recording device. A studio really is a tool to be used… Me and Marky had been DJing a lot of the last year and there is just so much good music out there at the moment. So we'd play something out at a club and the next day we get into the studio and get all inspired to use 'this' drum beat and 'that' drum beat… In terms of making it more electronic, I guess it's just a direction we feel we need to go and I really like it when people don't know what to expect from us. I like the excitement from that and I like to surprise people. As long as it is still good, I don't want to be different for the sake of being different."

With the second album having been recorded and written on a tour bus, Darren also happily explains that the warmth and friendliness of the established studio was also something that was very much welcomed for their third album. This fact is not something which should really come as any surprise. Being able to go home at night and sleep in your nice bed with a comfy doona and then coming back into the studio the next day must surely do something to cheer everybody up. It sure as hell must beat sleeping with your arm twisted behind your neck while your head bounces against the tour bus window. Darren couldn't agree more but for slightly different reasons. "This one was a lot easier." He explains to me. "After the first album was successful there was a lot of pressure to come up with a great second album and we wanted to alleviate the pressure and so we wrote the second album on the actual tour bus. We did it all live and recorded on the spur of the moment, it was that kind of album. It was recorded all on the tour bus, we didn't have any time to get into the studio and I actually really like to get into the studio to mess around."

"So the second album was a bit more live and it brought us into a lot of places we wouldn't normally play… the third album has been much more studio based and we have had much more time to work on it and in the end we are really much happier with it… Basically, if you have longer to brew on songs then that's a good thing. The more time you've got to wo