The Grand Final of Mojo Rising happens at Mojo’s on Saturday, December 2, with KOPANO, Wooly Mammoth, Carla Geneve, Last Quokka and POND DJs plus Felicity Groom.
What was your musical upbringing like? Were you influenced by what was immediately around you, or did you do your own digging?
I grew up in Botswana and moved here to Perth when I was 10, where I learned how to play classical piano, I was always influenced by artists that my dad played like Radiohead, Bjork and David Bowie but I think I really came into my own musically just as I was leaving high school. The name KOPANO came to me easily as it was my primary school back in Botswana, it means united- which was what I wanted my music to be.
What influenced you initially to become a performing/recording artist?
I knew I wanted to be an artist when I was in my final year of high school, I always used to challenge myself to play original songs at school recitals to the point where it made me sit back and think, ‘maybe I should pursue it?’ These days I can’t picture my life going any other way, it’s how I connect with my identity as KOPANO and with others.
Describe the relationship you have with your voice…
I like to think I have a special relationship with my voice; I consider KOPANO visually as a persona artist and most of the time conveying that comes down to the way I sing, I like to be dramatic and quite dynamic in my singing to really make people feel the emotions I feel lyrically, my music is very vocally orientated for that reasoning (laughs).
KOPANO expanded into a five-piece live outfit this year. What were your needs and visions for the expansion and have you met those?
My music started to develop instrumentally in more ways that I could produce, so the option of taking on a band was always in the back of my mind. I met three of the boys at SAE and the fourth through them. My music needed a bigger sound and I also wanted KOPANO to become a frontwoman, it was great that I met them, they have helped shape my music so much
You release the Malfunctions EP earlier this year. Were you pleased with what it evoked and alluded to about yourself and musicality?
The Malfunctions EP was a very spontaneous decision as I was recording with the boys at SAE when we started working on the songs, by the end of the semester we had this group of songs that we didn’t want to just leave – so we released them. I think those songs reflected myself as a young song writer, it’s had positive responses from locals, but I don’t think it reflects who KOPANO is as a person and an artist, it’s the tip of an iceberg about to be discovered
Are there any more releases planned?
We are currently working on a debut album with Sam Ford from Tone City recording due to be released in 2018, it is more emotionally driven and heavier- kind of like if Portishead backed up Florence And The Machine (laughs).
Describe your Mojo Rising experience and how you felt when you found out you’d reached the final…
I couldn’t believe we were the wild card, so I picked myself up and decided to get wild, our semi-final performance felt like a real knock out of the park kind of show. Overall, we are really grateful for this opportunity, Perth really has something bubbling in the scene and I’m excited to perform alongside the other finalists.
Looking into the New Year that is 2018, what are your plans and indeed your hopes?
I only ask if punters come and watch everyone in the good spirit of supporting local music! It’s a heck of a line-up, and we are ready to be the first band to kick it off!