PRINTED IN ISSUE 12
INTERVIEW BY APRIL KELLER-MACLEOD
PHOTOS BY KATRIN BRAGA
Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to see Connan Mockasin perform live will know that he is not just a musician, but a total creative vision taking form through sound and performance. Originally from New Zealand and presently living in London, Connan and his current band mates, Sophia and Nick, took a break from their North American tour to chat with April Keller-MacLeod about happiness, funeral music and what’s next for “Team Co.”
Let’s start with the basics, tell me how you all came together.
Nick Harsant: A series of coincidences and mishaps, pretty much. Connan and I met through a mutual friend and practiced for half an hour together and played a show, and we’ve been playing together ever since. That was in London. That was for the first album. We met Rory the same way, on tour.
Sophia Karchi: I met them [Connan and Nick] when I was managing Ariel Pink and was on the way to Paris with the band. Since then we’ve never separated.
Connan Mockasin: Matt, who plays drums with us, I’ve known since I moved to London about eight years ago. He’s from New Zealand too. Matt and I have been playing together for a long time. Sophia we met on the train with Rory. I gave him some bongos to play and he came on tour with us. There’s been loads of band members, but for tonight that’s everyone.
I read in another interview that you don’t listen to music.
Connan: From the Guardian? (laughs)
Yes, is that true?
Connan: All I said was that the last record I was really excited by was [Outcast’s] ‘The Love Below’ and he said, “that was made over ten years ago,” and somehow it got turned into that I haven’t listened to music for ten years. That would be a true commitment to silence.
Sophia: What he means is that he doesn’t follow what’s going on, we’ve been roommates for a couple of years now and he doesn’t own any records, he doesn’t listen to any music that comes out for the simple reason that he’s not going to put himself through the effort of looking for new music. He has more interests than just music. And me, I only listen to one band, which is MGMT (laughs) Oh and Bo Ningen!
Do you feel that you take inspiration from other bands when you write music?
Connan: You can’t not, but you might not really know who you are taking it from. And the sounds that you use in your music, where do they come from?
Nick: Those are from the Kookaburra!
Connan: Yes, the Kookaburra (laughs).
Other than music, do you experiment with other art-forms?
Connan: I love painting.
What does your creative process look like?
Connan: Just really milling about, and you’re on your own, and you have ideas. Yeah. And in the right mood.
What mood is that usually?
Connan: Happy, sad, excited. I like being excited.
What excites all of you?
Nick: My soon to be wife.
Sophia: For me it is my soon to be loves, soon to be friends. Do you plan on putting out another record?
Connan: No…(laughs) So what’s after this?
Connan: Yeah, yeah movies!
What would you like to be doing in the movies?
Sophia: Everything! Write the movie, play in the movie, definitely play the music for the movie.
Connan: Yeah I wanna make music for movies.
What kind of film would you most like to make?
Connan: A very emotional one, something that gives you goosebumps.
If you could describe happiness, what would it look like?
Sophia: I think it is really basic, and most people would agree on the same thing. Some people are lost, some take more time to get there, but it is just love. To passionately love yourself, to be passionately in love with someone. Or just being loved. So we are quite good at it, we truly love one another. That and peace. We are all, all of us in love [indicating band] but the ultimate happiness would be to share that with someone truly. Be content, be lucky enough to do the things you like, be positive, and have Kirin around to take showers with!
Connan: Yeah, you have nice moments that happen, and then you should always appreciate that time that you’re having, because you always look back on it.
Sophia: I know a lot of people who try to be ironic when it comes to happiness, they talk about finding it in darkness. People like this have never experienced darkness, because when you have been that sad in your life once, you don’t want to go back there. You just want very simple things.
Connan: I never look for darkness.
Nick: And you know, happiness is also when you’re doing something and you really experience it, like when we play it’s not just playing music we experience. I’m not thinking ‘oh I’m at a concert playing music,’ it’s something else. Oh, also, you know when you find your funeral song. Like you’re listening to music and you hear a song and you say, “that’s it, that’s what I want them to play when I die!” It’s sadness, cause you’ll be dead for it, but happiness cause you hear it and you think “that’s what life is.”
Do you all have a funeral song in mind?
Connan: Yeah, we just changed it, Sophia and I have the same one, Ennio Morricone’s “Once Upon a Time in the West.” Sophia played it for me and I listened to it through a splitter when we thought our plane was crashing. We were flying to Poland.
What’s another moment in your lives that you thought “this is what life is for”?
Sophia: This. All of us meeting on the train, coming together.
Connan: Yeah, all of us. Sophia: Team Co, Team Kookaburra!
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