CoCo and the Butterfields: An Interview

First formed in 2011, Canterbury’s CoCo and the Butterfields have spent the last two years rapidly perfecting their musical craft, evolving from a busking folk trio into an energetic force of five whose members include: Tom Twyman (guitar & vocals), Dulcima Showan (violin & vocals), Jamie Smith (beatbox), Micah Hyson (double bass) and Rob Wicks (banjo).

In an industry keen to categorise musicians with specific genre labels, many can find themselves pigeonholed. CATB manage to transcend a number of different genres to create their original sound – a captivating, skilfully created blend of traditional folk music infused with hip-hop and R n B, coining a new genre – ‘fip fok’. The result is a catalogue of exciting original material and unexpected covers which earned the band the title of UK’s best unsigned act.

With their new single ‘Warriors’ set for release on July 29th, we caught up with the band to congratulate them and find out a bit more about the vibrant world and sound of CoCo and the Butterfields.

Congratulations on being named the UK’s best unsigned act. UK Live & Unsigned 2012 were quoted saying “They’re definitely the most original winner we’ve ever had.” Your music absorbs many elements from different genres. Do you find one genre is consistently dominant in your sound?

We would probably all say not. That’s why we love playing the music that we do, because it is always quite varied. There is the obvious influence of Irish jigs and reels, but then that is coupled with the Hip Hop/R n B influence of sound effects and beatboxing. Then we also have a slight bluegrass element from the banjo. It really is just a fusion. 

The ability of your music to move between genres makes it very unique. Are there are any bands or musicians in particular who have been a key influence on your music?

Again we would probably have to say not. From the very beginning when we started the band, we wanted to be as unique as possible, we wanted to come up with a fresh sound that made people stop and think, ‘wow, that’s interesting’. So in terms of sound, we try and take inspiration only from each other and what we feel is best. That said, with regard to small technical parts, there are sections in many of our songs where we have drawn inspiration from another song and thought, I like the way they have done that, I would like to do something similar, but that is more to do with the song than the actual artist.

The traditional folk elements in your music give it a very ‘English’ quality, yet you have enjoyed great success both at home and abroad. How do international audiences respond to your music?

When we play abroad, people are always very excited to see us and when we do play the response is always so amazing. We love playing abroad and hope to do it a lot more soon!

The cover art for your latest single Warriors shows a theatrical quality to your work. Do you regard this element of your work as equally as important as the music?

Most certainly. We absolutely love making things from the music to videos, photos, clothes, stage sets, merchandise etc. I suppose you could say that we try to make a good impression before we have even played any music.

Warriors opens with an extremely infectious chorus which gives way to an explosive instrumental. When you are composing your songs do you have a formula? Do you start with the music or with the lyrics?

We always start with the music. It is usually a set of chords that is played over and over. Then, with either theme in mind or just seeing what comes out, lyrics are then written. Then the song develops with all the other parts being put in.

Warriors is released on July 29th so what is next for CATB?

We hope to finally record an album which will be very exciting but that probably isn’t for a short while yet. In the mean time, a lot of gigging, everywhere and anywhere.

 

You can listen to the new track ‘Warriors’ now at: https://soundcloud.com/cocoandthebutterfields/warriors-1/s-frgat

Or find out more on their website: http://www.cocoandthebutterfields.com/index.shtml or on facebook and twitter.

 

Author: Rachel Hannah

Rachel is a music correspondant for Performance Reviewed. She enjoys seeking out the best live acts from intimate local ciruits to stadium fillers and everything else in between.