Koyo are a band that are snowballing fast and show no signs of slowing down. With their debut album, a seemingly endless strings of gigs and new material on the way, they’re a band that are refreshingly exciting to follow. The Leeds band’s debut album is a mass of spiraling sonic structures and heavy hitting harmony, tagged by many listeners as progressive rock; “we’re just a rock band” lead singer Huw clarifies, “but it did end up sounding very progressive.” With this album being released at the end of 2017, it would seem that Koyo are relatively new, but Huw explains how the concept of the group began back in early 2015.
Beginning as just lead singer and guitarist Huw and synth player Jake, it took over two years for the band to grow into its current formation. It wasn’t until after the album was finished that the bands current line up was finalised and moving forward the band are taking a different approach to writing; “It used to be Tom providing killing drum tracks and then me and Jake just throwing shit at it, it was quite experimental. We were like mad scientists, which is cool. We are obviously really proud of it, but one thing that has definitely changed is it’s more of a band effort. A more solid sound that has been crafted while we have been gigging and touring the album. The next one will be a bit more stripped down, more like a drum part, a bass part, two guitar parts, a vocal part and synths”.
“We were always working towards an album. Obviously we had to write everything first, so when that was done it just took ages to figure out how we were going to do it, where we were would record it and just being able to afford to record it. We had to break it up over the course of a year and a half; we didn’t have a whole album when we started recording, we had around three songs, then were like ‘fuck doing an EP, lets do an album!’. So we wrote three or four more and went back to the studio”.
The band have a lot planned for the coming year and have recently been recording at The Nave studio in Leeds with local producer Tom Orell. “We recorded a single about a month ago, which will be on the new album, just to test it out, rather than commit to the entire thing, and we are really happy with the results,” reflects Huw. “It will probably be coming out before the album, as a single, it’s called ‘Before’ as well so that fits!”. I couldn’t help but notice the excitement in Huw’s voice surrounding the recording; “We had a great experience with Tom in the studio. We really wanted to do it with him; he’s our age and a lot of our influences are the same. He totally gets what we want to do. He’s a dream to work with!”
I recently saw the band on their UK tour in September and they did not disappoint. The huge sound they manage to produce was breathtaking and they flowed from song to song, keeping the audience captive with ease. Huw mentioned that for the band this tour was “putting a close on the album” with the plan to “lock ourselves away, finish writing, record in February, and then aim for the album before summer.” The setlist at their Leeds gig held a few of their new songs, with one in particular sticking in my mind, ‘Against All Odds’. This showed the bands progression and Huws very honest and deep cut lyrics demonstrated maturity and huge promise for their new album, something which everyone should be very excited for.
By Tom Nixon