By Nicholas Jason Lopez
With about 650,000 plays across streaming platforms and placements in several film and television scores, award-winning dark-pop trio Karmacoda will drop their new album ‘Slow Down, Melt And Catch Fire’ via Sola Musa Music on July 2, 2021.
They’ve garnered comparisons to the likes of Massive Attack, Radiohead and Glass Animals upon the emergence of quarantine-concocted singles like “Traps,” “Make Me The One” and “Feels.”
Karmacoda are lead singer Jessica Ford, founding member Brett Crockett (aka B. on vocals and producer) and Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist Eric Matsuno.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Jessica/B. about their new music and more.
Music Bugle – What has been your proudest accomplishment so far?
B. – Our new album, ‘Slow Down, Melt And Catch Fire’ is one of my favorite Karmacoda albums that we have created to date. Something about the events of 2020 really brought a fresh focus to our writing and recording. I love every song on the album. Also, we have been working with some very talented film makers and directors to create our music videos, many of which have won awards, which is always nice. They are an exciting way to share our music and artistic vision with the people.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
B. – This genre of music – electronica, chill out, downtempo, trap soul – isn’t really limited in what we can create stylistically. It can veer from a pop sensibility to darker themes. It’s really very freeing.
Music Bugle – What are some challenging aspects of being a musical trio?
B. – Normally, I would say having less people to provide input during the writing and recording process, but we overcome this by working with a worldwide set of musicians who we have known for years. It’s great to be able to say, “You know Andy would be perfect to play drums on this track.”
Music Bugle – What inspired the act name?
B. – Karmacoda began as a studio project I began with the desire to create something entirely new, having been tired of the alternative rock music scene. Soon, it became obvious that it needed to be a real band and the members sort of appeared and joined in a magical type of way, like a form of good karma and the fact that we heavily use musical loops where a piece of music returns to the beginning and repeats, a musical coda, the name “Karmacoda” naturally formed.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your single “Traps”?
B. – “Traps” started with a musical idea that I wrote and that I shared with the rest of the band to fill it out. Eric created the bass part and Jessica, as she often does, wrote a great melody and lyrics to fit the mood of the music. Then, she said, “I’ll sing the first half and you’ll sing the second half and we’ll both do the outro, it’ll be perfect,” which I think was the perfect thing to do.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Jessica Ford – What inspires me in the EDM world… is listening to the transition parts of how house music intertwines and moves from one song to the next, overlapping to create a seamless transition, so it’s not one song specifically, but what the local San Francisco DJ’s are spinning and the set itself that creates a mood and takes you on a journey, that is inspiring.
Music Bugle – What was your biggest obstacle with recording your new album ‘Slow Down, Melt And Catch Fire’?
B. – Obviously, writing a record during the pandemic was a bit challenging. We started writing the record before Covid hit and for about a month or two, inspiration was understandably low, but then something happened and for me personally, I was very inspired to create and started generating a lot of song ideas. The album title was actually inspired by that time. The world totally slowed down and we all melted down in our own ways and here in California in the Summer of 2020, there were terrible fires, hence the title “Slow Down, Melt And Catch Fire,’ but then, as some parts of the world began to come out of the pandemic in 2021, the title offered new hope with a new view. In the new normal, we’re hopefully able to slow down a bit and reflect on what just happened and maybe, our hearts will melt a bit with renewed appreciation for each and then our minds and spirits will catch fire. “Slow Down, Melt And Catch Fire.”
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
B. – It’s funny, songs either write themselves and come very easily or they are birthed kicking and screaming. We actually wrote more songs than appear on the album. Those that we left off were the hardest to write. Those that made it on the record are very special to me and that’s probably because they came to be with a certain ease and magic.
Music Bugle – How else have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
B. – We wrote the music remotely, passing ideas back and forth through texts, emails and file sharing, sharing vocal ideas via phone messages. When it came time to record, we were like, “How are we going to do this!?” Luckily, we have our own recording and rehearsal studio on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay. We would go in in pairs. I would engineer and produce the sessions with Eric and Jessica and mask up and social distance and have these air filters running. We also worked with drummer Andy Korn, who’s in Portland, Oregon and keyboard player Eamonn Flynn, who’s in San Francisco. They both have their own studios and we’d send them the songs and they would send back their parts. They were always perfect.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
B. – “Creating and playing music is like breathing. If you stop… well, you know.”
*Photo Credit – Gianfranco Bichine*