Q+A: 5 minutes with Koala Voice

Breaking into the international music market can be a challenge for non-native English-speaking musicians. It is for this reason that it doesn’t seem to happen often, but this is not true for today’s Q+A guests. Koala Voice is a Slovene band that has seen the world so to speak, having toured the Balkans three times, North Europe, the Baltics, Eastern Europe, and Spain. They have even opened for the prominent American band The Pixies. With a distinctive alternative sound, Koala Voice seems determined to continue their venture into foreign waters and novel sounds, their new single, ‘The Bigger The City’, being a continuation of that journey. 

What else? We let the band tell us more, so without further ado, here is Koala Voice

Stream / Download: Koala Voice – ‘The Bigger The City’

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

I’ve always been interested in many art forms. It’s quite a cliché answer but, honestly, since my childhood. I’ve been interested in visual arts, theatre, and mostly music. It all started with discovering the guitar, the bands I like, discovering the songwriting process, which I think was one of the biggest “hypes” for me, what kept me interested in music and what made me want to develop and become better at it.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

I think think the best thing you can do as an artist is to let the process guide you, to keep yourself open, to see what happens. Sometimes it’s the sound, sometimes it’s the concept, sometimes a fragment of a melody, a lyric; everything could happen. And I think that is actually the beauty of music, letting it happen by itself in some sort of form. And that is also how we as a band try to create music. We don’t put ourselves in frames, brackets, we have a policy where each of us can start a song, a lyric, the beat, the concept, leaving it as open as we can.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

Our newest single ‘The Bigger The City’ is totally a Koala Voice song. Apart from the contribution of our producer. We don’t have many collaborations as a band, but we do some collaborations as individuals.

What’s on your current playlist?

The evergreens for me would be some Strokes songs. Lately, I’d add some Rosalía tracks (quite unusual for an indie rocker, I suppose), and I think that it is slowly time to listen to some Beach Boys since we are just starting summer.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

The energy and the vibe we have with our audience is one of our biggest strengths. It’s what we’ve been told but also what we feel as we perform. It’s always very special. I love seeing people who are touched by our music, who take it as their own. I mean people sing our songs at their weddings, and they sing them when they are brokenhearted, and I think that is beautiful, and I will always cherish those moments that we get to live while performing.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I believe our original sound developed from the fact that when we started the band we mostly just started to learn to play our instruments and most importantly to learn to play with each other and to create with each other and not to be too bothered with how it should sound but just to start making our own music. And that drove our sound in the beginning, and it of course developed more through the years of many concerts and albums.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

We like to stay and live in the studio for around two weeks. We like to wake up together and have a chill morning, listening to ideas, jam sessions, debating about our work. Then the process varies. If we are in the stage of preparing the material then there is a lot of jamming and recording the jamming and then deciding which parts could become a song. And if we already have a song prepared we try to approach it in a way so that we keep its vibe and energy as we like it throughout the takes we record. We generally like to record our songs live, all of us at once, because we believe that is the best way to capture the essence of our performance.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

I don’t think I have a specific moment where I thought this is what I want to do, but I had like a revelation of “Wow, this is what I get to do” and feeling an enormous gratitude that music is what I get to do in my life. For me, I just kept on going, and it kept on becoming a bigger part of my life. And it just took me over. And for that, I am very very glad.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Just the basics: some water because I always forget to drink it while on stage.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

As far as Slovenian scene goes, we do have a surprisingly good outbreak of young artists and bands that have started to appear. For example Kokosy, Before Time, Regen, Jet Black Diamonds…

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Lately, it has been moments when I get to be outside in nature, having a moment of my own to think about things that are happening to me – think about inspirations. And also just playing around with the guitar is always something that gets the juices flowing. And as I band I think what gets us going is jam sessions, talking about ideas, and just living this life we have created.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

At home, I primarily use a Taylor acoustic guitar, Big Baby. It’s a lovely guitar to create on. During concerts, I use a Fender Telecaster and Fender Princeton amp, an akai miniak synth. I don’t (right now) have any pedals of effects for my guitar. I just use the raw, clean sound that the amp and the guitar give me.

Any side projects you’re working on?

I am also interested in performing arts and dance. So lately I’ve been trying also to develop some projects in that direction, apart from creating with Koala Voice.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I think we learned a lot of information over the years of playing and making music about all the creative processes and the industry. I think we are getting better and better at both, but it’s just a never-ending journey of learning.

Break down the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

We just released our newest single, ‘The Bigger The City’. We are currently in the summer concerts and festival season. Playing all around Slovenia. In the fall we will be releasing more music and recording more music. We are working on creating a new album as soon as possible just because we are excited about the new material that we are preparing. We are also planning to play some international tours in December and in the following year.

Famous last words?

Love against all fear, staying honest to your work and expression, staying humble, truthful, curious, and just keep on creating.

Watch the official music video for ‘The Bigger The City’ here:

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