Andrew Kothen Vocals, Guitar Gabriel Wells Bass, Drums Elliot Scozzaro Clarinet, Sax Harry Graser Keys
Years Active 2018 – Present
Latest Release “I.T.T.I.P.” – 2019
Currently Reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Crack Up”, Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art”, e.e. cummings’ “100 Selected Poems”
Favorite Quotes Anything that Kurt Vonnegut or Voltaire said is probably worth saying again.
All Time Favorite Album This one is hard, maybe “Rounds” by Fourt Tet. I can always put that on and find inspiration in it. That or Vince Giraldi Trio’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” – that album slaps year ’round.
Best Wings in Buffalo Dalmatia Hotel, Kelly’s Korner, Bar Bill and Duff’s. We can talk details, and no I can’t pick just one, they all have a place in my heart.
How is everyone holding up during this time?
We’re doing alright. Everybody always seems to be moving at such high speeds sometimes it’s nice to hold up and smell the roses a bit– it isn’t under the best circumstances but hey, take a walk, do a little yoga, maybe build a fort, read a book, play that video game, make stuff just for fun and play around. We’ll get through this.
What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this experience?
Everything is impermanent, from our health to our systemic support systems. Be careful to take note how you go through this world and make sure you do what you love as often as you can. Spend time and attention on people you care about and who care about you.
How did the project got started?
I’ve always loved writing songs, and I suspect I won’t stop doing it. These recent songs from “I.T.T.I.P.” came from this sense of intentioned immediacy, to bring a visceral moment from a song, to make the time count, delicate or dirty. I wanted to find where the music led me and then birth melody and the story from there, But the goal was to record it as soon as the idea came out, sometimes within 24 hours of writing the song (Molecules, for instance). From the initial recordings- which were generally guitar, bass and vocals- we’d add layers, a little drums here, some clarinet there, a little synth, you know. Once enough songs were put down, it just felt right to put them out.
In terms of Koko Neetz as a name– I never had any intention to continue with just my name as the title for the place where the songs live. My grandma used to say this jibberish name, “Koko Neetz”, for innocent, fragile, cute things– like kittens or babies. So where else would intimate things like songs of mine live if not in the space of “Koko Neetz”?
Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?
Writing when I can, but without any specific pressure. An expectation of any kind other than your intention to create something and play is just, eh, not good. Can sour the mix ya know? I have a few ideas in the works, and they’ll likely morph yet, but for now it’s an end in itself while we’re stuck in our houses. One of my favorite Buffalo bands Heave was set to record with me before this all broke out, but for now that is postponed until the world is moving again.
What has your recording experience been like?
My pops started Select Sound Studios in the 1970’s and I’ve been fortunate to apprentice under him for the last bunch of years. I do my mixing and expand on some of the songs in the studio but I always get the initial ideas down at home. You can’t beat recording in your underwear.
What would you consider your best local show experience?
Our last couple shows have been a lot of fun. We’ve had Shawn Chiki join us live doing projections with us so that has been a cool way to add dimension. Also smoke machines help. A little whiff of mystery.
Anyone you’ve collaborated with recently?
Kevin Burzyinski did our album art, he’s a gem. Kevin O’Keefe did the “molecules” video, that was a lot of fun. Shawn Chiki does our live projections, lended an ear and some tweaks in the final mixes and has a ton of his own stuff going on- one of my favorite Buffalo acts and artists.
Anyone you’d like to collaborate with?
Adam Pressley, all of our pedals daisy chained together maxed out for 30 minutes. I’d like to write a song with Kevin Scoma.
What’s the next move?
Staying in, relaxing, recording. After the pandemic is behind us we’d like to get on the road and play more shows. Either way, you’ll hear from us again soon.
*Interview with Andrew Kothen