Like a wild flickering image projected in widescreen, HOKO stretch alternative into 360-degree experimental pop. The New York duo—Nathaniel Hoho [vocals] and Jesse Kotansky [guitar]—invite immersion into layers of rich soundscape architecture and hypnotcally hummable hooks. Painting in broad strokes of psychedelia and rock, they unearth an uncategorizable and undeniable sound equally malleable and magnificent in its execution. After generating streams in the tens of millions and building buzz worldwide, this vision comes into focus like never before on a series of 2023 singles for EQT Recordings/Republic Records and their forthcoming full-length debut.
“HOKO are experimental recording artists.” “We approach music from an ‘open’ perspective. We care about creativity, and are trying to offer a creative sound in a contemporary format. We don’t want to be tied down to a genre.
As the story goes, Nathaniel initially picked up guitar at just 10-years-old in Central Pennsylvania. A series of epic parties left him grounded and stuck in his room with no other option than to play music and “discover songwriting,” as he puts it. Making a choice to pursue his passion full time, he honed his chops on the streets, traveling from one college and beach to another, busking to survive, and sleeping in the car. Eventually, he settled in Brooklyn where he first crossed paths with Jesse at a barbecue. A world-class musician in his own right, Jesse shined as a Balkan violinist throughout his childhood, traveling to Turkey at six-years-old to perform and, eventually, playing with a myriad of artists later on. The two have collectively worked with artists Pond, Nick Allbrook, GUM, Fab Moree of the Strokes, Mikey Shoes of Queens of the Stone Age, Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant, J Mascis, Uffie, Charli XCX, Elliphant, Peter Cottontale, Willie J Healy, Royal Blood, and Adam Green.
Collectively inspired by David Bowie, Tame Impala, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Strokes, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys, the pair “started experimenting with new sounds in a pop space.”
The guys caught the attention of EQT and signed in 2020 as “OK OK” impacted radio and reeled in over 4.9 million Spotify streams, paving the way for their independent EP Heathen. Highlighted by fan favorites such as “Candy Eyes” and “Hellogoodbye” (which fellow alternative maverick PVRIS officially remixed), the band only continued to gain traction in between performing at festivals including Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and more. With the utmost respect for the contributions of the late artist, producer and mixer Phillipe Zdar [Cassius, Phoenix, HotChip], they opted to cross the pond and record their follow-up at his studio, Motorbass, in Paris. Working with producer Andrew Wells [Halsey, Kaiser Chiefs, Jake Bugg, Biig Piig], HOKO’s signature sound crystallized in the process.
Now, they introduce the next chapter with the single “Hazy.” On the track, glassy synths wrap around glitchy beat-craft punctuated by electronic transmissions and off-kilter guitar. It builds towards the swooning high register refrain,“Whenever I think of you now, it’s hazy.”
“Lyrically, I’m looking at all of the things I was afraid to let go of for so long and realizing, now that they’re gone, I don’t care as much as I thought I did,” he explains. “There’s something very freeing to realize the inevitable impermanence of everything. For me at that time it was letting go of a city, an apartment, relationships, and along with that concerns of things I was trying to control but couldn’t.”
However, the song only hints at much more on the horizon from HOKO. The band will undoubtedly bend and break boundaries as they reimagine what alternative and pop can be.
“We make so much music and experiment in so many different styles, that although we have only shared one EP so far, we are eager to start sharing more music. We want to reach further into new genres and sonic landscapes.” Nathaniel leaves off. “For me, HOKO is the culmination of all of the things I’ve learned through music and all of the people I’ve met. It’s my contribution to the greater world of art. I’m doing this with individuals I have the utmost love and respect for.”
White Eagle Hall
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Buffalo Iron Works
Middle Ages Brewing Company
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Mulcahy's Pub and Concert Hall
RISING NEW YORK ALTERNATIVE DUO HOKO RELEASE NEW SINGLE “PRETENDER” LISTEN HERE NEW YORK, NY – Buzzing New York alternative band HOKO serve up a brand new single entitled “Pretender” via EQT Recordings/Republic Records. Listen to “Pretender” HERE.…Read More