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Music / Kosheen

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L to R - Markee Substance, Sian Evans, Darren Decoder
Kosheen were an electronic music group formed in Bristol, England in 1998, by the vocalist Sian Evans and producers Darren Decoder and Markee Substance. The band started off as a trip hop band, but Darren and Markee's drum and bass remixes of their own songs became so popular that they shifted direction to drum and bass. The band released several singles in 1999 and 2000 (including the non-album "Yes Men" and "Dangerous Waters"), before a 2001 reissue of "Hide U" catapulted them into the mainstream. The album Resist became a big success and featured several more hit singles. The band's follow up album "Kokopelli" was one of the best selling albums of 2003, but alienated some fans who felt they were selling out to a rock audience (the lead single "All In My Head" being based around a guitar riff, something none of their singles had previously done). The band acknowledged that they'd always had these rock influences and wanted to make the music they liked rather than pay attention to critics. The charts hugely changed between 2003 and the eventual follow up album "Damage" in 2007, meaning that the album did not sell as well as it could have done. To those who heard it, however, "Damage" was well received - it introduced a lot of electro elements that showed a growing depth to the band's songwriting, evident in the lead single "Overkill". The band have continued on with the following albums "Independence" (in 2012) and "Solitude" (in 2013).

The band split up in 2013, due to Darren Decoder leaving the band and Sian wanting to work on solo projects. Sian has guested on some tracks by several dance artists. In September 2013, she began an acoustic project with her partner Ron Mc Elroy, which is ongoing.

Unlike many electronic bands, the band played their music live with a real drummer and guitarist and well as live vocals.

Contains examples of:

  • Early-Installment Weirdness: It may be a surprise to find that the original mixes of the band's first two singles "Yes Men" and "Dangerous Waters" are quite slow and moody trip hop, as opposed to the drum and bass and pop the band would be known for. The remixes however tell a different story and are what got those songs popular.
    • Also, the original radio edit of "Hide U" (from the single backed with Empty Skies) did not yet have the "Take my hands" B-Section, instead featuring a part with a different melody that goes "I'll hide you, away from danger cover you, night and day". This part isn't present in the "long version", which just consists of the first verse and chorus repeated endlessly.
    • Though it wasn't the single version, Catch (Original Version) is more based around ambient moods, has different drums, and features guitar in the chorus which the final does not. This could probably be considered a demo, though the band have not been asked about it. This version only appears on the original single with white cover.
  • Fanservice: Sian swimming and floating in a low cut Little Black Dress in the video for "All In My Head", as well as being soaking wet when out of the water.
  • Genre Mashup: The band have a wide variety of influences, they all were inspired by folk, rock, punk and new wave before moving on to dance music. The album Resist is a roughly three way split between drum and bass, trip hop and pop songs, whereas Kokopelli has some pop-rock stuff added to the mix, Damage has some electro, and the latter two build on those.
  • Little Black Dress: Worn by Sara in the video for "All In My Head".
  • Meaningful Name: The band thought Kosheen was a nonsense word, but when touring Japan, they were informed that it sounds like a combination of the Japanese words 'ko' (meaning old) and 'shin' (meaning new). The band have said this was meaningful as they use high end modern equipment to create songs that have a conventional structure.
  • Multinational Team: Sian is Welsh, Darren is English and Markee is Scottish. They all met in Bristol.
  • Rearrange the Song: They did several songs acoustic for a radio session. Unlike a lot of electronic groups, Sian writes her songs on guitar, so it was a natural fit.
    • They also have many songs reworked into D&B mixes. Some, such as "Dangerous Waters (Decoder And Substance Mix)" and "Hungry (Satoshi Tomiie Vocal Mix)" stick to the original vocal melodies and are extremely popular amongst fans.
  • Updated Re-release: Hide U and Catch were first released as singles in 2000, but were reissued in 2001 with new (more radio friendly) mixes, new B-Sides and new artwork. The reissues proved to make Kosheen a chart success in the UK, and helped the album Resist (which hadn't been planned when they were originally released) sell well.