THE lads are always up for a laugh…
and give a great interview! I have been speaking with Bokito about their latest smash, Love Gotten, and whether any more material is brewing. They discuss how their music has evolved and all the sounds they put together; if they have a treasured memory from their time in music; what they do to unwind – if there are some new artists we need to spend time with.
The guys tell me about their plans regarding gigs; whether they feel the mainstream, and big festivals, is getting a bit too predictable; what they hope to achieve before the end of the year – some of the artists and sounds they all grew up on.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Moses: How’ya! It’s been a busy-mad week!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Moses Moorhouse: We are Bokito. We’ve been described as 'Tropical-Indie' or 'Alternative-Pop'. Both, I can reluctantly agree with! We are best known for our lively gigs. I’m Moses, the vocalist.
Tom Houghton: I’m Tom. I play drums.
Sam Cahilan: Hello. I’m Sam. I play keys (I’m the DJ Lethal of the group).
Joe Mashitter: I’m Joe - guitarist.
Jody Lahart: I’m Jody - bassist.
Love Gotten is your new offering. Tell us the story behind this song…
Moses: It’s a song about a big ol’ bout of selfishness and desperation; how leaving one relationship and then diving straight into another, without really learning lessons or spending the time to grow, can leave a world of hurt around…
Bar that, musically, it’s our most fun song yet!
It mixes Afrobeat and Irish sounds together. That seems like a rare concoction in music. Does that reflect your heritage and musical tastes?
I don’t know if that is that rare back home! Irish music (specifically modern) to me isn’t so much ‘diddly-di-di’ and Lord of the Dance as much as it is what the Irish do best, which is to bastardise. You have bands like Republic of Loose or Messiah J and The Expert – or, even more popularly, U2 - who have taken all these influences and meshed them together to create their own sound, mainly because we don’t have the influences and music scenes to grow up around initially. I think that's why we are drawn to a lot of African music so much, because their interpretation of Funk, Disco and Blues is just so charming and distinct from American.
So; I do think it reflects our heritage, but not necessarily in the traditional way.
I get the impression you have a blast in the studio! Is there an infectious mood when a song like Love Gotten is being laid down?!
Joe: Definitely. We’ve been getting more and more comfortable in the studio and now we feel very much at home there. We really feed off each other’s energy and, as soon as the drum and bass tracks are down, the groove grabs us and the ideas flow. Our producer, Ben, is a calming influence and seems to know how to harness that energy into the track – so, we have a nice working relationship there.
Moses: There’s never a boring moment in the studio, which is surprising when you listen to the same song about 300 times in one sitting! But; we all are on the same wave creatively and it’s an addictive feeling.
Will there be more material from Bokito this year?
Oh lord, yes.
IMAGE CREDIT: Julie Moorhouse
Do you think you have made leaps since your first couple of songs? How do you think you have evolved as a band?
I feel so. We have developed, essentially, a whole new set since recording the first song, Better At Getting Worse, and the biggest difference is that we have all made these songs together and not just myself having something written before coming in. The evolution seems to be the defining style, but the diversity of the lads’ individual sounds working in each song.
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
Agh. We get this the whole time! No tour yet but it’s coming, I promise! Once we have a couple more tracks released, we can justify visiting a few cities around the U.K. and Ireland.
In the meantime, we do have a few gigs coming up...
Most likely the one you’ll be able to see by the time this is released is in Strongroom Bar & Kitchen on 27th May.
What can one expect from a typical Bokito gig? I can imagine it is quite a riot!
Joe: Our gigs very much depend on where in the line-up we play. If we are the support, then it tends to be a mostly listening audience, with a few people moving a bit (they’re still sober at this point!).
If we headline or go on later, then we are determined to get the whole crowd bouncing and, by the time we play our closer (Hoochie), it can be outright carnage on the dancefloor - which is fun for us, especially when they try to imitate Mo’s dance moves!
Moses: Oh, you betcha! Expect swinging hips, lively music; lots of ginger-haired men and a (usually) drunk audience. If there is one thing we can brag, is that we are a lot of craic live.
Is it quite hard, given the styles of music you fuse, to get gig attention from mainstream events?! Do you think mainstream festivals need to open their ears and minds when it comes to the headliners they book?!
Jody: We're still in our infancy as a band and aren't really on major festivals radar just yet. We'll be releasing lots of music this year so, hopefully, next year we'll be right up there.
I do think mainstream festivals lack imagination when it comes to headline acts: Coldplay/Muse/Metallica/Foo Fighters seem to have been headlining all U.K. festivals for the last ten years
What do you hope to achieve, as a band, in 2018?
Tom: In 2018, we hope to get on some of the major festivals. We want to start performing our music to a wider audience in an environment we think we are well suited for - due to the energy at our shows.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Tom: I was celebrating my 30th birthday and we played a stonking set at Whelans in Dublin and all the fun that came after that show…it was immense.
Jody: I'll have to go with Tom. The gig we played in Whelans was special. It was the first time my family and friends from home got to see us. A great night was had afterwards.
Moses: Dammit guys, that’s mine, too! That, or the second time we visited Ireland for the Hard Working Class Heroes festival. It was incredible because of that unique feeling you get from an Irish crowd. I felt I met my match.
Joe: Playing live is the pinnacle of playing music for me, so I’d have to say our set at The Great Escape festival in Brighton. It was an early slot but the venue was packed and there was a great vibe in the room. We were really on our game and got a great response from the audience. Awesome feeling.
Sam: For me, it's when we played at Tooting Tram and Social. I hadn't been with the band for too long and it was probably the first time I heard a crowd proper belting out our lyrics back to us. To hear that was pretty special.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Moses: Leave the ego at the door in rehearsals and the studio and then take that ego in full force when you play live. It makes both experiences a whole lot more enjoyable.
IN THIS PHOTO: Good Guy Clarence
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Jody: We gigged with Good Guy Clarence recently - they were class.
Moses: Oh ya, they were CLASS.
Do you all get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Tom: I like Sci-Fi movies and taking the pooch out for a walk in the forest.
Sam: I teach, so I get school holidays to chill. So, for me, that's sitting down with a big cup of Earl Grey tea and eating a whole pack of biscuits.
Moses: I’m a filthy Playstation fiend, but find solace in jogging.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Jody: Metronomy - Mick Slow
Joe: Sylvia Says - Charlotte Gainsbourg
Sam: Tayutafu - Susumu Yokota
Tom: Lines -The Hics
Moses: Rejjie Snow (ft. Caroline Smith) - 23