“The music just does whatever it wants to, we don’t plan it out,” Shannon Patterson says. “It’s kind of like making love. Once everyone’s parts and energy start coming together, there’s no better feeling in the world.”
The frontman of West Australian jazz/hip-hoppers Koi Child finishes nearly every sentence with a warm, sincere laugh. He’s able to galvanise almost any topic.
Patterson and the rest of Koi Child are enjoying coffees at the North Fremantle Bowls Club, a place the septet come every Tuesday morning before rehearsal. The band’s self-titled debut album is about to drop, and industry interest is piquing.
“We’re getting a lot of attention. It’s been a bit of a shock and it’s a bit overwhelming, but we’re very excited,” Patterson says. “As a band, things are looking up, but individually, we’re all still working a heap of shitty jobs. We’re pretty much in the same place we were when the band started.”
Though sonic parallels to hip-hop fusionists The Roots and Robert Glasper Experiment can be drawn, Koi Child's sound is more exuberant and organic. On 1-5-9, Patterson’s playful raps leap from a foundation of psychedelic cymbals. The erratic horns and heavy tempo-shifts of Black Panda evoke a kind of eccentricity.
A consolidation of West Australian jazz quartet Kashikoi and hip-hop trio Childs Play, Koi Child formed initially for only a one-off Fremantle show back in 2014. Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker happened to be in the audience. He was so impressed, he offered to record and produce the band’s first album.
“It was amazing seeing some of the stuff he can do,” Patterson says. “At first it was kind of scary, knowing he was on the other side of that wall listening. He’s a rock god. His songwriting and mixing are just out of this world.”
Most of the album’s tracks were recorded on a tiny island the band dubbed “Mangebong”, isolated within the waters of a southern Perth river.
“To get there, we had to paddle our gear across 10 metres of water on a little dingy,” Patterson says, laughing. “The house we stayed in was really small, and it’s in no form a recording studio. I recorded my vocals in the kitchen. I remember cooking sausages in there while the mic was on."
From these lo-fi beginnings, Patterson is intent on taking the band as far as it can go. “We want to travel and represent Australia, because we think Australia really has a lot to offer in terms of hip-hop,” he says. “Most stuff you hear comes out of America or Europe. Not much hip-hop has made it out of here. We want to be one of the first artists to do that.”
Koi Child’s self-titled debut album is out March 18, 2016 via Pilerats Records/Warner Music Australia.
Koi Child Tour Dates
Northcote Social Club
March 17, 2016.
March 18, 2016.
Newtown Social Club
March 19, 2016.
The J Shed
April 2, 2016.