5 Minutes With… NKOSI
Dave Sherman and Echoboyy are both east-coast natives who moved to LA to pursue a career in music, separately. Echoboyy was a vocalist for an up-and-coming rock group and Sherman a guitarist in a hip-hop band (Audible Mainframe). Having previously featured on tracks together and occasionally shared stages, when the two musicians found themselves at loose ends, they decided to join forces. The two began collaborating on songs as a creative outlet and what started as somewhat of a catharsis, has now developed into an intriguing and inspiring project under the name of NKOSI.
We had a chat with the duo ahead of the release of their forthcoming single ‘White Gold‘ to talk influences, the 80’s and gigs in nudist colonies.
Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?
Just another beautiful day in Sunny California! Working on new songs
To those not familiar, how would you describe your sound?
New Wave Electronic Dance, but song-driven, with emphasis on the vocals. A lot of the sounds you hear, on ‘White Gold‘ in particular, were created by guitar, originally. We’re trying to find our own niche in the Electronic world, hopefully not re-treading over ground that has already been explored.
Can you the name albums and artists that have influenced you the most?
A lot of post-punk, New Wave UK stuff, like: Psychedelic Furs, Joy Division, Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Smiths, The Police, especially Synchronicity, The Cure – Disintegration, Depeche Mode – Music for the Masses. Also bands that don’t fit into one category, necessarily like: Jamiroquai, Prince, Pink Floyd (electronic music originators as far as I’m concerned). To us Americans, growing up with the sounds that were coming out of Manchester in the early 80’s must have been quite interesting.
Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?
Dub Fx, Chromeo, KasKade, Kasabian, YellaWolf, BassNectar. Been on an Amy Winehouse kick, recently. For the last 6 months or so leading up to the creation of these songs we’ve been stuck in the 80’s, especially some of the bands listed above.
What would we find under the category of ‘Guilty pleasures‘ in your music collection?
Men At Work – Business As Usual.
The UK music scene is certainly always changing. Some might say that at the moment it’s more electronic oriented. Do you think this makes it more difficult for indie/alternative acts to get recognition that it would have done ten years ago?
If anything, it’s harder to stand out in your field these days, a lot of electronic producers and DJ’s will reach for the same sounds or plug-ins as someone who is ‘hot’, or popular at the moment, rather than creating your own samples.. This leads to a lot of the music sounding the same. The dancefloor-driven stuff ends up at the same tempo too, since the goal for the DJ is to keep the crowd moving.
If not the popularity of electronic music, what would you say some of the challenges indie bands face today in the music industry today?
As mentioned above, creating a unique voice and standing out in the crowd. The accessibility of audio software has given rise to a ‘quantity vs. quality’ issue, since now, everyone and their mother can be a DJ, or a producer, as David Guetta himself has said recently.
Where do you gather song writing inspiration?
Personal experience. The two of us have separately been through a lot of ups and downs in both our personal and professional lives. Losing friends, bandmates and family members gives one a lot of emotions to draw from. At the same time, you can get a lot of positive inspiration as well, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, but most songwriters will agree that the darker emotions are often more powerful.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when put music together?
Dave will often start putting the skeleton of the beat together and send it over to Echoboyy to get his opinion. He’ll then sing a vocal melody or lyric into his iPhone and send it over. If we both give it the green light, we’ll do a rough vocal session just to get the ideas down, and build it up from there. A lot of medication is involved throughout the process.
What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?
Echoboyy got to do a weekend of gigs in Hawaii with a previous project. The overall experience, the lifestyle… makes one want to live in Hawaii some day. The first big ‘professional’ gig Dave got to play was opening for hip-hop acts Jurassic 5 and Blackalicious to a crowd of over 1200 college students. There’s nothing like your first big gig!
And the worst?
Dave’s previous band was booked to perform at a nudist colony. No joke. The band had no idea what to expect when we arrived, but soon discovered we were among the only people clothed at the festival.
If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
A vet, or someone who cares for animals. Echoboyy would be on the Sea Shepard, saving the seals and chasing away the whalers.
Do you have any particular gigs or festivals that you dream about playing?
Coachella, for one. Outside Lands in San Francisco. Bonnaroo… Being from the ‘States, any chance to travel abroad (UK in particular) and play our music would be amazing!
If you could perform alongside any other band or artist, who would it be?
We’d love a remix track with Freddie Mercury, if such a thing were possible. Or any one of the artists listed above. Would love to do a track with Siouxsie Sioux or Morrisey, Dave Gahan… someone with a real unique voice and mystique.
Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
Just our first single ‘White Gold‘, although we’ve been stacking up lots of other songs, waiting for the right moment to share them with the world!