Image credit: Bill Shupp
Award-winning pop trio KARMACODA will be releasing their ‘Feels’ track as an Instant-grat alongside ‘Dream On’ and ‘Lo-Fi Girl’ on the 18th of June. The songs are taken from their upcoming album, Slow Down, Melt and Catch Fire which will be released on the 2nd July via Sola Musa Music. The trio has received support from the likes of CLASH Magazine, Hotpress, CelebMix, Son Of Marketing, and Irish National radio RTÉ 2XM’s Dan Hegarty, to name a few. The video for their single ‘Make Me The One’ won two 2021 Hermes Creative Awards (Platinum) and Unglued music video (Gold). In total, KARMACODA has gained just under 650 000 plays across streaming platforms and have had their creations placed in several film and TV scores.
The team is composed of Jessica Ford (vocals), founding member Brett Crockett (aka B. on vocals and producer) and Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist Eric Matsuno (bass and other unique elements). B., originally from Chicago, is currently based in San Francisco along with the rest of the band. Jessica spent 10 years living in Nashville, TN. While creating their otherworldly music, KARMACODA, turn to the variegated likes of Massive Attack, Radiohead, Florence And The Machine and Gotye. Between the lead singer’s stunning vocals and the sophisticated production style, the album calls to a unique combination of Massive Attack, Radiohead, Frank Ocean, Glass Animals plus Sia, Adele, Hope Sandoval and Alicia Keys.
Tell us about the genesis of your project. How did you get to where you are now?
B.: Karmacoda is a San Francisco based electronica group. It began as a studio project that I started out of a need to explore new exciting sounds. Soon it became obvious that Karmacoda needed to be a full band with different inputs and ideas from the others.
J: B. sends me tracks to write too. He names them something random like “Kindred” or “Feels” or “Traps”. I play a little songwriting game with myself. I make sure I write about what the random song title is or I make sure the word is somewhere embedded in the lyrics. It’s always there, you just have to play attention to it. Now my big songwriting game secret is out!
How would you describe the highs and lows of being an artist?
B.: For me the highs are the act of creation when writing and recording. You are pulling ideas out of thin air, not knowing where they are coming from and that’s thrilling. Performing live is also a high. The lows come when the ideas aren’t coming so quickly.
J: The highs are winning the awards of course, getting recognized for your art is truly special but the best high is the “thank you this song changed my life” type of comment. That is truly the deepest gift of music. I don’t know that I necessarily have had any lows with KARMACODA… art is subjective, if you like it that’s a good thing and we grow together from there.
Who are your all-time musical icons?
B.: I’m a big fan of the Beatles and Peter Gabriel. Also, Massive Attack. Lately I’ve been into Frank Ocean and Billie Eilish. Both fresh voices on the scene.
J: Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Billie Holiday, I love the oldies. I also love 1990’s house music and worship music, it’s so inspiring.
What are some things to do to keep your inspiration alive?
B.: I find inspiration in non-music creative activities and entertainment that feeds into our music. Things like films, photography, art, video making, and books (fiction and poetry) refill my creative tank.
J: I find inspiration in the ocean, the birds the trees, smells, colors and I like to describe them in detail, I wanna see the lyric in my head visually
Who is an artist that you look up to more than others today?
B.: This may sound odd, but I am a huge fan of the painter Robert Ogata who lives in California. His art is Zen-like and beautiful. I try to write songs that go with his paintings.
Favorite activity to blow off some steam?
B.: Believe it or not writing songs is my happy place.
J: I head to the lake. It’s all about the Lake; to stop the rat race of the daily hustle and just pause, reflect, recharge, connect spiritually and smell nature. I love to watch the sun rise
Tell us about your latest release and how it came about
B.: Slow Down, Melt and Catch Fire was written and recorded during the pandemic in 2020. All the uncertainty and unease strangely helped us look into ourselves and create the most emotional and personal record we’ve ever done.
J: The beginning of the shut-down I was happy, we wrote ‘DREAM ON’ … then locked down…. we all went into hibernation filled with fear, not knowing what was happening… I went to a dark place and felt trapped, so the song “Traps” was born. Then the song “DEPARTURE” came about. I was sitting in my backyard “not allowed to leave the house” listening to the birds chirp writing to the music. I thought I wanna be that bird right now and fly away. I wrote Departure… B. kept the birds in my backyard, on the track, I love that so much. Later I had to get centered spiritually and pull myself out of the darkness… that’s when “Not Afraid” and “Becoming One” and they were born. Lastly like we are having now, Burn was written during the wildfires last summer. That was the end of the album and season of writing in lockdown for us.
What are some things you do to deal with anxiety and creative blocks?
B.: I find that just showing up to the studio to write will break any block I may have. If I just sit there and start playing 99% of the time something comes. It’s just trusting that something is in the air and you must be receptive to it.
J. Creative blocks come and go. When I’m on I’m REALLY INSPIRED and I make the most of that when I’m feeling it.
What’s the future looking like for you?
B.: This new album opened a new door for the band, and I’m thrilled for what’s next. We’ve evolved our sound and approach to creating music. The record just came out and we’re already working on the next one.
J: 6 songs deep into the next album… we are rocking and rolling
Who inspires your style and aesthetics?
B.: I have a certain aesthetic of my own and things like clothes and cars just resonate with me. When I find something, I like to wear I’ll buy several of them so I don’t have to hunt for them. My color pallet runs from dark blue to black
What is the achievement or moment in your career you are the most proud of and why?
B.: We work with very talented filmmakers to create our music videos which allows us to use a different creative “muscle group”. Lately our videos have been recognized with creative awards. As a frustrated filmmaker that gives me great pleasure.
What do you think is the best way to make it as an artist nowadays?
B.: Create compelling music and art and put it out there. Don’t be afraid the reach out to other artists to work with each other.
J: You need amazing artistic music, and amazingly talented people behind you willing to expose it
What would you change in the music and entertainment industry especially after this past year?
B.: I would love for streaming to pay artists what they are worth. It’s impossible to make a living off of streaming.
J: Pay your artists, pay your songwriters, pay the band, they are worth it.