Call them trip hop, electro-pop, or a hybrid of electronic, rock and jazz, just be careful not to incorrectly pigeonhole San Francisco’s Karmacoda as an ambient, electronica band. “Our mood is quite a bit more mature and subdued. It’s ironic, really; we are blatantly subtle,” says bassist Eric Matsuno. Karmacoda is truly a cut above most indie bands and their musical influences are so diverse that layers of complexity reveal themselves with repeated listens.
As a total DIY band that self-produces all of their music, Karmacoda has created a sound where the production and recording is just as important as the writing and performing. Lead male vocalist, pianist and guitarist B. (Brett Crockett) also acts as the band’s engineer, producer, arranger and mixer. “We all have strong jazz backgrounds and the use of improvisation is key to how we write, record and perform music. In many cases all of the parts that you hear are written but performed in an improvisational manner. Then I take the best parts of those performances and create the final song,” says B. “Most people don’t think that electronically oriented bands would write, record and perform with that mindset but it’s key to our vibe.”
At their core, Karmacoda is about thought-provoking lyrics over hooky melodies, carried out by gorgeous, rangy, male and female vocals that add a tremendous amount of dimension. “We really make the music that we want to. We don’t write music to be trendy; it’s modern and genuine,” says lead female vocalist Heather Pierce. Fans of Portishead, Massive Attack, Tricky, Imogen Heap, Radiohead, Air, and Zero 7 will likely be drawn to Karmacoda’s DJ and producer-oriented construction with real world-class musicianship.
In addition to offering their audience a sonically emotional experience, Karmacoda aims to allow a visceral connection as well. Their live performances are as much a visual experience as a musical one, using big stage production with lights and video effects, and a dedicated VJ who uses custom software to create a stunning visual experience. “On-point vocals and instruments mesh with programmed beats putting the audience into a trance-like state,” says Pierce. “Gorgeous visuals change in real time with the music and add to the experience.”
Leading up to the August 2nd release of Eternal, Karmacoda is expected to film and release a handful of music videos and behind the scenes online short video segments, as well as acoustic versions of songs from the album. In addition, West Coast tours as well as live performances in most major US cities are also planned. The full-length album and singles will be available to purchase digitally, in CD-format and in limited vinyl editions.