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Q&A: KOAN Sound


Q&A: KOAN Sound

After the release of their debut album ‘Polychrome' and two sold out performances in their hometown of Bristol, KOAN Sound are teaming up with musical peer Haywyre for their co-headline ‘In Parallel’ Tour. We caught up with producer duo KOAN Sound ahead of the Tut’s gig.

How long have you both been producing for and how did you get started?

Both of us began playing instruments at a relatively young age, and quite soon after meeting one another (in around 2003) we began playing in bands together, so our entry into creating music was really through that. Will’s older brother (who was already into production) introduced us to a lot of DnB when we were young teens, and he had a copy of Propellerhead’s Reason 3.0 which was our gateway into producing music ourselves.

Where did you get inspiration for the sound of the Polychrome?

I think we were both really proud of the fact that Polychrome summed up all of the facets of our sound, whilst at the same time evolving into something new and different for us. We wanted our first full-length album to fully represent and showcase us both as musicians and producers, which meant including lots of variation in each track. Part of the reason the album took so long to put together was finding a cohesive way to fit all of the different ideas side by side.

Favourite tracks from the album?

Jim: Chalk It Out & Jongmyo

Will: Viridian Dream & Cobalt

You’ve teamed up with production experts to deliver visuals to go with the tracks, have you done this before?

We’ve commissioned visuals from a few artists before, but they were always secondary to the music, and not synced with or created for any particular song. For this show, we worked very closely with a team of artists, and created a sort of bespoke music video for each track in the set. We thought a lot about the imagery behind each specific piece, and how we could translate that visually. Will especially has always been a very visual thinker, especially in response to music, so we wanted to try and express some of that in the new show.

First gig you ever attended?

Jim: The Who at Ashton Gate stadium in Bristol.

Will: First DJ I saw was Skream at Native in Bristol when I was about 16. I think my first band was a jazz trio my parents took me to when I was younger.

What music did you listen to growing up?

Jim: For me it was mostly what my Dad played around the house, which was all sorts, lots of Hendrix/Led Zeppelin but also Motown bits as well as more leftfield stuff. Once I began to form my own preferences I got really into Drum & Bass and then early-ish Dubstep. Growing up in Bristol meant that we were exposed to loads of really fresh underground music on a very local level, right on the cusp of the internet blowing everything up.

Will: Bands like Incubus and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, which then progressed into heavier stuff like Drum & Bass and metal.

If you could have dinner with anyone in music past or present who would it be, and why? 

Jim: Probably Brian Eno. I think he has a really great outlook on creativity, as well as different and interesting ideas about lots of other things unrelated to music and art.

Will: Matt Garskta, the drummer from Animals as Leaders. So I could pick his insane rhythmical brain.

Is there anything that you can’t go on tour without?

Jim: Noise cancelling headphones are a real lifesaver for travelling.

Will: Some kind of gaming device for those long flights/drives!

KOAN Sound play Tut’s on Wednesday 4th Sept with support from Haywyre.

Purchase your ticket here: