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Ko-Plume Southampton
Photography by Kim Simpson

Ko_Plune are an upcoming alternative indie progressive rock band, consisting of four members; Carl Edwards, (Guitarist), Jack Hill-Jones (Bass), Courtney Gray (Vocals) and their newest addition, Guy Anderson (Drums).

Their debut single ‘Panda’, was released on the 18th of September and features elements of Jazz and rock spun together to create a song full of energetic vibes, with a catchy bass line and lyrics that will swiftly carry you away. The song is both lively and calming at the same time, whether you’re in the mood to relax or get pumped up.

Ko_Plune take a very DIY approach to their music as with their debut single they recorded everything themselves. The band are based in Southampton, playing brilliantly both locally and in neighbouring cities, having performed at Exile in Plymouth this year, supporting Cleft, Steve Strong, Press To Meco, Signals and Acoda at The Talking Heads in Southampton, playing their first headline show at The Railway in Winchester and finally at The Sanctuary in Basingstoke. They’ve covered a lot of ground since forming in July this year. They are currently recording their debut EP and are playing shows around the UK.

Artwork courtesy of Beth Warne.
Artwork courtesy of Beth Warne.

KO_PLUNE INTERVIEW

We met up with Ko_Plune to interview them and they had kindly let us conduct it inside Carl’s flat. Between the time we introduced ourselves and the start of the interview, it was clear the band members had great chemistry and playful attitudes. The interaction amongst them showed they were all good friends.

Introduce yourselves and your band:

Guy: I’m Guy and I play the drums.

Carl: I’m Carl Edwards and I play the guitar.

Courtney: I’m Courtney and I sing.

Jack: I’m Jack and I play bass.

How did you guys get into music and form Ko_Plune?

Jack: Well I’ll start. Took up guitar about nine years ago and then I met Carl and the original drummer at university, then I started playing Bass for the hell of it.

Courtney: Cause you couldn’t handle six strings.

Jack: Yeah I couldn’t handle six strings, of course. Night Verses are a big influence on the approach that I take with playing bass.

Courtney: For as long as I can remember I’ve always been singing. I started in school and college. I met Carl, Jack and the original drummer at Uni last year and it just came together from there.

Carl: I Started playing guitar on 23/3/05 so about10 years ago, I remember it that clearly since I broke six ribs the day before. I got into bands like At The Drive In and The Fall Of Troy when I first started out and delved more into progressive music from there. A lot of my current ideas are taken from listening to Incubus and Hiatus Kaiyote.

Guy: Well, I actually wanted to play the steel drums instead, asked my mum for lessons but she actually got me normal drum lessons at school. I found Ko_Plune on Facebook and became a fan of the band. I initially started as a temporary fill in but ended up staying after my other band The Mavericks broke up. I get a lot of ideas about drumming from Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys and Paramore.

Courtney: I’ve been listening to my usuals; Florence and The Machine and Them Crooked Vultures, a bit more mainstream than the others.

What was it like starting the band and creating music?

Carl: The songs were actually already written before the band was formed,I wrote most of the songs when I was living in Plymouth. The first song we had completed was Panda, it’s actually quite an old song but it’s been changed completely from the original.

So it really all just started from there, me and the original drummer started out as a two piece, then Jack joined a week later, then Courtney and finally Guy replaced our old drummer. It was hard finding members since a lot of musicians weren’t really into the music that we were playing.

Jack: There were a lot of metal heads down here.

Your debut single ‘Panda’, why the name and what did it mean?

Carl: Well, all the titles had mildly offensive names so we have to shorten them to make them usable.

Jack: Not all of them.

Courtney: It’s so random, like he’d write a song, thinks for a moment and goes; “Cheesecake”.

Carl: It’s just easier to remember rather than writing ‘Riff 2’ and the date, which probably would be a more organised way to do things. I actually did that for like a week before giving them funny names. Panda is actually short for ‘Pandasshole’.

Guy: I thought it was short for Pandemonium.

Carl: No, it’s just a combination of ‘panda’ and ‘asshole’. Most of the song titles don’t actually mean anything.

Courtney: I wrote the lyrics for Panda, it’s not actually about a panda, it’s just about letting go. Someone struggling to go but they need to.

What is your favourite memory since forming the band?

Guy: Driving six hours to the Plymouth gig.

Courtney: It was a good car journey, I enjoyed Guy snoring on the way back, but probably after we just finished playing our first gig since it went really well. It was a great gig with a great atmosphere and a good crowd. It was just one of the best feelings.

Jack: Well… apart from Carl treating me to a cup of tea on the way back from Plymouth, it would probably the first time that we played Hydra at our first show, people just went crazy for it. It was just a great feeling; I didn’t expect people to love it so much.

Carl: Probably when we played our first show, because of the responses we got from people. I’m never sure how people will respond since the music we play is quite varied.

What was the worst?

Courtney: Probably this summer.

Carl: Yeah this summer.

Courtney: Just transitioning to get organised, we were from Bournemouth Uni before transferring here to Southampton, we all had different jobs, times, moving. It was difficult to get band practice.

Jack: Yeah but it went okay, we got Guy at the end of it.

Carl: Probably when we got all those gig offers too but we were all too busy to attend and I thought we were going to break up because we couldn’t find a drummer but then we found Guy.

What thoughts and feelings you are hoping people will receive from your upcoming EP?

Guy: Happiness… Happy Vibes.

Carl: I just want to show people that we’ve really worked hard on it to achieve a high quality throughout.

Jack: Yeah we record all of it ourselves and that’s what works for us, rather than handing it to a producer.  We just want people to enjoy it.

What path do you hope to take/experience with your music?

Courtney: Next step is tour, get the EP out.

Carl: Doing as much as we can as a band whilst keeping our approach as ‘DIY’ as possible.

If you could have any job, what would it be and why?

Carl: I just want to carry on playing music but, eventually I want teach music. Overall, I just want to do anything music related.

Guy: I’d love to be an astronaut, when I was a child I read that astronauts can’t be over 6’2 but now I’m 6’3 and my dreams are shattered.

Courtney: Just singing and playing music I don’t really want to do anything else.

Jack: Well you made it.

Courtney: Oh wait I wanted to be a ski instructor, which I nearly got but I was actually too young for the scholarship.

Jack: I wanted to be a pilot in the RAF but my eyes are too bad for it.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

Jack: Get Good.

Courtney: Learn everything you can and make sure that you can play the music that you want to the best of your ability. Learn other genres of music even if you hate it in the beginning it’s always good to explore, learning music theory is really important as well.

Carl: Learn about the music industry, different styles of music and get involved with anything that comes your way. Share your music with everyone; you never know if someone could be interested.

Guy: I feel less qualified to answer since I do this as a hobby than a job but practice as much as you can and expand your horizons.

Courtney: Yeah expand your knowledge and skills with all kinds of genre and aspects of music.

Jack: Gather connections and speak to as many musicians and people who are involved in music and other creative fields. Having a network of creative individuals can really make things easier for your band.

How has your Southampton Solent University life been and how has it helpful to you now?

Courtney: Well we’ve only just started since we’ve all transferred from Bournemouth but, honestly I love Solent, the lecturers actually give a shit about their students. They’ve even come to some of our gigs, they’re genuinely interested in what their students are doing and really supportive of everything regarding Ko_Plune.

Jack: Yeah they’re always supportive of other musicians and what we’re doing. They advise you on things to improve on instead of just giving you negative or irrelevant feedback.

Carl: Even though we didn’t have the best experience at our previous Uni, it’s where all of us met so we may not even have the band if we didn’t start studying there. Solent University is really focused on ensuring that their students are able to work in their chosen industry. There’s a strong sense of connectivity between students on other courses.

Guy: I’m not actually from Solent but the facilities in the rehearsal rooms and studios are up to really high standard.

If you were a fruit, what would you be and why?

Courtney: A star fruit because I’m a star. Guy would be a banana.

Guy: I’m not a banana!

Jack: But you’re always eating bananas.

Guy: I like eating bananas!

Jack:
I’d be an onion.

Guy: That’s not even a fruit.

Jack: I just wanted to be edgy.

Courtney: Carl would be a durian, because at first he’s interesting but when you open him up he’s actually really disgusting.

Carl: I definitely agree with that.

Guy: Well, I think I’d be a dragon fruit because I’m exotic.

Courtney: How exactly do you consider yourself being exotic?

Guy: I’m half Welsh!

What’s the process of how you typically write and produce your songs?

Guy: Carl starts with the general idea for the songs and gives me completely free reign on the drums but everyone makes suggestions on how the songs turn out. It’s a group effort and everyone has a collective input.

Carl: I usually start with a riff or a rhythmic idea or beat then gradually add other stuff into it. It’s usually a combination of combining arpeggios and different dynamics together. Once I’ve got a general idea I’ll input it all into guitar pro and start arranging sections and try to make a general structure.

Once that general idea is complete we’ll take it to practice where we’ll usually start to cut away a lot of the parts that we don’t need if they don’t fit and completely rebuild the song. Sometimes things work really great when you’re using software because a computer can play those parts back perfectly not that we aren’t capable of playing those parts, but those ideas can be really impractical or overly complex, we are more focused on the quality of the songs than playing things that are difficult for the sake of our egos.

Once the structure is completely finished we’ll usually film it or record a demo and give to Courtney and she’ll start writing lyrics.

It usually takes us about a month to write a complete song since there’s so many different sections and changes happening through one piece, though we had the majority of songs for the EP written within a month but, we are taking a bit more time with what’s actually going to be recorded since it’s a different process with what we can do when we play it live since Panda is actually at played at double the speed in comparison to the recording. It didn’t sound right when we first recorded it so we had to slow it down.

Between the members, whose body would you swap for?

Guy: I think everyone would swap for my body.

Jack: Probably Carl cause he got really good hands.

Courtney: I’d have Carl’s hands but Guy’s body so I could play drums as well and Jack’s personality, stick it altogether and become the best person ever.

Guy: I’d take Carl’s hands, that’s all I want from him.

Carl: I like being myself, so I wouldn’t take anything.

Jack: Maybe Carl’s hair too.

Courtney: He does have good hair.

What would you tell your past/future self if you could?

Carl: Don’t worry about joining any other bands, just focus on developing your musicianship and focus on enjoying everything you can about music.

Jack: Yeah probably the same. Don’t worry about getting into a band, stop stressing because you’ll eventually join Ko_Plune.

Courtney: Yeah I had that, I felt really under prepared when I started studying at Bournemouth University and that I wouldn’t be taken seriously since I wasn’t in a band.

Guy: I’d say don’t worry about steel drums. You don’t need them.

 

Any Last words?

Courtney: Come to our gigs!

You can buy Ko_Plune’s debut single online at:

Artwork courtesy of Beth Warne.
Artwork courtesy of Beth Warne.

Follow them on Bandcamp at:

https://koplune.bandcamp.com/

Debut single ‘Panda’:

https://soundcloud.com/ko_plune/panda

https://koplune.bandcamp.com/track/panda

Live footage of ‘Panda’:

Artwork courtesy of Beth Warne.

Photography by Kim Simpson.

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