Southampton’s Ko_Plune is about to release their anticipated debut EP Auditory Atlas, their sound stirring curiosity around the south coast.
Sounds of drums and feedback find their way through the walls as Solent Music sits down with Ko_Plune in a dimly lit rehearsal room. They don’t seem to mind the interruption of their practice, but they’ve been working hard in anticipation for their upcoming gig – a headline slot at Southampton’s The 1865 on 25 February for the release of their debut EP Auditory Atlas.
People always seem to find it surprising when Ko_Plune discloses that they have only been together a short time, having only formed in late 2015, but the bandmates meshed incredibly well right from the start and their music reflects that. Constant practice and gigging has pushed their talent musically and they have had incredible support from their local town of Southampton.
Ko_Plune found themselves in the first support slot during the very first show they played together. Bassist Jack Hill-Jones comments, “It’s rare that we’re the first one on, and it’s quite humbling that people put us ahead in line-ups. I think we’re very lucky, we’ve done headline shows already and we haven’t even been together that long. It’s quite amazing.”
The industry has recently seen an influx of bands intent on breaking the rules of genre constriction and Ko_Plune are intent on staying undefined in that area. While terms like experimental and alternative commonly get kicked around when discussing their music, guitarist Carl Edwards likes to use the phrase ‘working class jazz’ because much of their musical foundation builds from jazz theory.
Ko_Plune’s sound encompasses strong female vocals interlaced with complicated riffs. Pre-released EP single ‘Panda’ brings forth spacey guitar phrases with vocalist Courtney Gray’s flowing vocals to create an overall tranquil yet upbeat vibe. Each of the five tracks on Auditory Atlas comprises of a different genre, Edwards commenting, “I write [the songs] as a compositional challenge, so that’s why all they’re all different. I figure out what can I do to push my band to the next level.”
“I just want to make whatever music I think sounds good,” he continues. “I don’t really care about genres and I’m not really trying to appeal to anyone. Like Cedric Bixler-Zavala from The Mars Volta said, ‘If you write music, the more selfish you are, the better’.”
While Edwards writes most of the compositions, vocalist Courtney Gray writes the lyrics. “Sometimes you get a little flicker of inspiration out of no where,” she states. “There’s times when you could be sitting on a train or walking through town and then all of the sudden a really cool lyric line comes into your head and you’re like I have to write that down, and you end up writing it on your hand because you’ve got no where else to do it.”
When it came to the production and creation of the EP, Edwards admits the most difficult challenge was the recording itself. They took on most of the process themselves but had a bit of help from other musical friends. “We’re just learning how to do it all professionally, but the majority of it we did ourselves,” he explains. “It’s all very DIY.”
Ko_Plune would like to invite everyone down to their gig for the release of Auditory Atlas and would also like to give a shout out to Southampton bands Cold Holding and Beat Easton, Bristol band Rickyfitts, Brighton band Orchards and last but not least Southampton’s Lost Focus for helping them with their engineering.
Words by Kaitlyn Ulrich