Premiere: Meet KOPANO, who returns with her first single in two years, London
The dizzying art-pop gem is theatrical, danceable gem in-line with her influences in Confidence Man and New Order.
KOPANO, the musical alias of Perth's Jemma Bradford, is probably a name already familiar to those with an interest in the local pop world here in Perth. Her debut EP, 2017's The Malfunctions, was a four-track introduction to her quirky electro-pop lush with danceable synth and percussive grooves, the combination of which proving a winner in the live space as she blossoms into one of the state's most exciting performers: a combination of headline shows, support slots and one-off gigs an example of this.
In the recorded realm, however, the time since The Malfunctions has been left quiet; KOPANO instead using the time to refine her craft and lock down her sound while she finishes off studies and works on whatever's next. Today, the first taste of her future shines through with London, her first single in two years and proof that the time away hasn't pointless; her growth and evolution in the time since her debut EP well and truly making an introduction on a track that kicks off a new era for the national break-out to be.
London is a lush, danceable synth-pop tune that takes nods from her long-time dance music influences in New Order and Jamiroquai but completely flipped on their head; the grooves and pace these acts are known for meeting left-of-centre pop hooks and daring songwriting that you'd expect more-so from Charli XCX's dazzling hyper-pop or Grimes' ability to constantly stay ahead of the curve. It's artful and a little unexpected, but it's a bright line shining on Perth's left-field pop market that feels long overdue acknowledging this state's dominance in pop and electronic - but seemingly not the combination of both.
There's a lot to dive into here, but for now, re-introduce yourself to KOPANO and her daring pop sound with London below, and better introduce yourself to the emerging star-on-the-rise while you're at it:
Tell us about yourself?
I am a vocalist, producer and visual artist making pop-based music here in Perth, WA!
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with RuPaul’s Drag Race, HBO’s Euphoria, boilersuits and spending time with my French Bulldog Vader. On the plus side, I have this new song out called London which allowed me to explore a more realised and edgier version of KOPANO and I think I like her alot, so you might be seeing more of this side to come!
What’s the vibe music-wise?
KOPANO is about standing out from the crowd and exploring themes of heartbreak, personal growth and inner freedom through dance-worthy beats, glittery synths and mint vocal lines. I used to be, and still am, heavily influenced by 80s groups such as New Order and Human League but lately, I am enjoying artists exploring pop further like Charli XCX, King Princess and St Vincent. My ultimate ‘album influence of the year’ is Mark Ronson’s Late Night Feelings. I want my audience to feel like they are pouring out their innermost feelings on the dancefloor every time they hear a KOPANO track.
What are your production and writing processes like?
The songs I tend to produce often go through 2 to 3 different versions of themselves before I am happy with the final product and I believe that’s mainly due to me exploring what kind of artist I want to be. My favourite part is writing the lyrics and collaborating with other local producers because they help me make the songs sound more sparkly and true to who I am as KOPANO, it’s a great learning experience working with others and it helps me improve on my own self-production. For me it’s more than just making a song it’s visually and stylistically having the opportunity to shape my persona towards each track and I’m really excited to do that more often with each release!
Can you tell us about your new single, London?
So London has been about a year in the making and was co-produced by Yangda and recorded at Tone City Recording Studio. My dad is from the UK and has always pushed me to move over to England, specifically London and I guess the song is about those feelings of excitement and unsettlement experienced when living abroad. The actual vocal layering of the song which sings ‘sink myself in water’ is ultimately about me giving up and drowning myself in a place so familiar yet so foreign, that’s why the chorus is always describing me next to water, it’s like foreseeing the inevitable. I wanted to even out this intense feeling of isolation with the instrumentation of the song which includes lush synth strings and this awesome guitar riff - that’s why I like pop so much, you can vent about so many things but the production of the song allows you to dance to it too.
Visually, the aesthetics of the promotional images and single art was provided by UK based sculpturists Architects of Air, they had an exhibition in Perth for a short while and I loved the opportunity to bathe KOPANO in these city-like neon lights. The images were shot by Jarrad Levy and the single layout was graphically designed by Jamie Simcock.
Any shows coming up?
I am celebrating the release of London with a launch at the Bird on the 23rd of October (Next week wtf!!) and ya’ll should definitely come there will be tunes provided by the local queen Girlname, spicy beats by Bexx and hooks by Otiuh throughout the night. There are a few shows sprinkled throughout the rest of the year so keep an eye out on my Facebook and Instagram (@kopanomusic) and plans to do my first national tour in May next year! I’ve been really grateful for Perth’s music community and how they have still maintained an interest in me despite it being a while since I released any music - so shout out to the venues, audiences and local artists supporting me! It means the world!
What does the rest of 2019 – and beyond - have in store for you?
This is a new era for KOPANO and more importantly, IT’S THE RIGHT ONE! I can’t wait to share with Perth and hopefully Australia this newly formed identity. Get ready to be slayed by the looks I put together as well as the music I plan to share. Strategically I will be focusing on releasing singles at the moment to help build my following and create awareness for myself as an artist but creatively I will not be shying away from the opportunity to release my first music video in 2020! It would be amazing to expose myself to events like Bigsound and to keep collaborating with producers and artists along the way...I guess time will tell? Either way, one thing’s for sure, KOPANO HAS ARRIVED TO THE PARTY and you better believe she is the best dressed!
Where can we find more of your music?
Thank you angels for taking the time to listen to my music as well as follow my life:
Spotify / SoundCloud / Bandcamp