Winter may be behind us, but that doesn’t stop local gothic post-punk duo Koban from bringing the gloom on their sophomore release VIDE. Their first release with Weryd Son Records, VIDE is set for release next month and Brittany Westgarth, bassist and singer, and Sam Buss, guitarist and singer, are exuberant about working with the label’s founder Michael Thiel.
“It’s been amazing,” says Westgarth. “He is just so unbelievably supportive and very excited… it’s just good to have somebody like that onboard with us. He’s based out of Brussels so it’s nice having someone over [in Europe] who’s so involved. He helped with the formatting of the [album] artwork and helped us book shows in Europe.”
Westgarth and Buss have been playing and releasing music as Koban since 2010, characterizing their sound by dual vocal work, screeching guitar, textural synths, and the use of a drum machine onstage. While the drum machine was initially used out of necessity, its use has since become a part of Koban’s musical identity. “It kind of developed our sound in a direction that we weren’t necessarily trying to go, it just kind of happened,” Westgarth comments, “but we like having control and simplifying [our sound].”
The songwriting process has certainly evolved over the course of Koban’s career. “Before we would write a song more around guitar riffs or bass riffs. Now it’s shifting more towards building a song around the synthesizer or drum machine,” says Buss. “I’m trying to create songs lyrically, with a melody in my head, and then putting them down into guitar and synth, which I find a lot harder to do.”
Westgarth adds, “I’m experimenting with that right now to do see what I can come up with. It’s always in fluctuation and changing for sure.”
Koban are set for a busy summer. Along with the aforementioned album release, the band is set to debut their first music video for the VIDE track “Cool Wind,” and are planning a three-week European tour in July. With the promise of a tour send-off show on June 28th at a deliberately undisclosed location, Westgarth and Buss are ecstatic about taking their new material on the road.
VIDE is available for preview on Soundcloud. Koban plays the Cobalt on June 6th.
By James Olson
Photo: Shane Burzinski