Ko Ko Mo makes triumphant return to Korea
Story By: Emma Kalka
Photos By: Courtesy of KO KO MO
Upon first watching French band KO KO MO on stage, it’s hard to believe all that sound comes from just two guys on a guitar and drums.
But the two – Warren Mutton on guitar and Kevin “K20” Grosmolard on drums – manage to sound like a five-piece band with their high-energy music. Sometimes sounding Led Zepplin, White Stripes and sometimes the more modern Black Keys, the band was first introduced to local audiences at Zandari Festa in 2016.
Muttons high-powered vocals have been described as “sometimes androgynous close to Robert Plant” with a guitar game “classified between Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix.” K20 is reminiscent of “John Bonham or Keith Moon of The Who for the sense of show and fury.”
They returned to Seoul in February this year for a show at Club Sharp with local bands The Monotones and DTSQ, which was in Mutton’s words, crazy.
“It was sold out and we really enjoyed the place… We do love those kind of rock’n’roll clubs,” he said.
Since the last time they were here, the band has toured great venues in Europe and released their first full-length album “Technicolor Life.” But Mutton jokes they were most looking forward to the smoking rooms on their return to Korea. He added they were excited about the show after having a great time at Zandari. He hopes they can return soon, possibly in October.
He said he noticed small differences between playing here this time and elsewhere… “For example, the sound engineers for the Olympics were placing the wedges directly on the snow… And it sounds totally normal to play outside with drums and guitars when it’s minus 15 degrees Celsius,” he quipped.
KO KO MO is an interesting band, to say the least. Outside of their two-man setup, Mutton prefers a 70s aesthetic to his look, saying he just enjoys that period of time when they were able to say a lot of things that can’t be said anymore nowadays. He often dons bell bottoms with his hair long and curly.
But ultimately for both, it’s about living from their passion, something Mutton says is their biggest accomplishment so far.
The two met five years ago at another band’s rehearsal. Mutton said that he and K20 thought they should create a side project to have more freedom on stage. After a year of playing bar gigs they met their tour manager LMP Musique and did a huge festival in France – Les Transmusicales – in 2015, which they say was a “good start” for them.
They’ve played in festivals including Solidays, Les Escales, Le Sakifo, Les Jeunes Charrues, Blues sur Seine, Blues Around Zinc and many venues around France. Outside of that, they’ve played in China, Indonesia, India, Switzerland and Spain, as well as South Korea.
They now also continue to work with LMP Musique, and teamed up with Al Groves, an artistic director and sound engineer at Studio Motor Museum in Liverpool, where Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, the Coral and the La’s went to record, for their album “Technicolor Life.”
Mutton continues that the name KO KO MO refers to a bluesman named James “Kokomo” Arnold, who wrote the song “Sweet Home Kokomo.”
“Delta blues stuff. It also means a lot of things in many languages. And it’s easy to remember, isn’t it?” he jokes.
He said that from the beginning, they have felt free and love each other as brothers, so he doesn’t think they’ve faced many obstacles as a band. “We are just too lucky, I think.”
KO KO MO plans to tour until September while also working on their second album, which they hope to release next January.
And still have fun together at the same time.
To learn more about KO KO MO, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thisiskokomo/.