Artist RADIO Kosheen (UK)

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Once in a while, a band comes along that doesn’t just ignore the rule book, but rewrites it. Since forming in the late 90’s, Kosheen have proved that success doesn’t have to come on someone else’s terms. Fusing the plaintive, potent vocals of singer Sian Evans with the darkly intimate electronica of Darren Decoder and Markee Substance, Kosheen create songs where the sounds tell the story as much as the lyrics while the boundaries of genres are blurred and challenged. The foundations of this revolution were laid years earlier when music changed the lives of all three of the band members. Darren Decoder - aka Darren Beale - played and wrote music for years in various punk bands at school in Weston-Super-Mare, always recording their efforts and so developing a simultaneous interest in the production side. When he went to university in 1989, though, he realised something was missing. “I was getting bored of the sound of the guitar,” he remembers. “I was putting it through so many effects and pedals that it wasn’t even sounding like a guitar any more anyway.” His salvation came in the form of a young Geoff Barrow, future founder of Portishead. “When I met Geoff, he introduced me more to the electronic side of music. What he showed me with samplers and stuff just blew me away! I’d never seen that before.” Spellbound, Darren sold his guitar, bought an Atari and a sampler and never looked back. “That was at the same time that the whole rave scene was going off which had a big impact on me as well. I loved Orbital and 808 State, so I started writing lots of electronica and got
a deal really early. Then I used to write hardcore stuff for raves and then did some really ambient drum n’ bass like LTJ Bukem before I started Djing at raves and parties with Markee in Bristol. I followed the whole path of electronica really.” Together, Darren and former Glaswegian indie kid Markee Substance created the seminal Ruffneck Ting club nights around Bristol and the South West. Raised on The Smiths, Echo and The Bunnymen and, later, Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, Markee became instrumental in the burgeoning drum n’ bass scene. “It literally was a few people in a pub with a couple of decks. It’s been over ten years since that pub gig!” The pair soon got to know Sian Evans. Brought up in a small town in South Wales, Sian had left home at 16 and moved to Cardiff to escape, living in squats and friends’ houses while working several jobs at once and travelling to parties and festivals all over the country. At the height of the rave scene, in 1991, she gave birth to her son, Yves, and was forced to reassess her priorities. For the next four years, Sian and her son split their time between environmental protests like Newbury and working at summer festivals. It was all she needed to give her a taste for living outdoors and so in 1996, Sian moved into a tepee on a traveller’s site in the Brechfa forest for nine months. “I just thought it looked like a lovely way to live,” she says, “and I wanted to give him the freedom to run around and have some amazing memories.” And this is the result

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