Everyone is talking about new Oxford band The Kokroachez. The garage punk rock group have already headlined at iconic venues such as the Bullingdon, played Oxford’s O2 and – despite their ages – The Jericho Tavern!
And today, you can hear The Kokroachez on BBC Introducing today (Saturday night) between 8pm-9pm on Radio Oxford. More than that March 17 sees the release of the band’s first EP – Pest Control, before a gig at Oxford’s O2 Academy on March 19, supporting American rock band The Protomen.
So who are Kokroachez? 16-17 year-old musicians Ella-Mae Edwards, Jamie Berry, Jim Green and Anna Guillain are all studying at the Oxford Institute of Music.
Jim and Jamie, met at school in Burford and started their own band with a few friends. “We rehearsed at each other’s houses and eventually convinced the school to let us play at the school leavers’ disco. It was a terrible gig. We sounded awful and the kit didn’t work very well, but the reaction from our friends screamed so much we couldn’t hear ourselves play!” Jamie remembers.
The girls joined more recently; the rhythmically gifted Anna (who lives in Woodstock) heard they were a drummer down, and Ella-Mae was spotted busking in her home town of Carterton and was nabbed immediately. The line-up obviously works brilliantly because since then Kokroachez have been on a roll.
Anna says: “I love playing live gigs. We have such strong chemistry when we all play together, especially in great venues like the Bullingdon, Jericho Tavern and O2 Academy. I hope that we can continue making music that we are all proud of and reach a wider audience.”
And while Jim and Jamie, who are both from Carterton, have written most of the sings, the four of them are now writing more collaboratively. “We all listen to and like different types of music, so there’s a bit of everything in there. I like music that’s a bit discordant, so I guess that’s a recurring theme. I do a lot of the music composition, but everyone brings ideas into the mix and if one of us has some lyrics or a theme, that will inspire the next song,” Jamie says.
And having just finished recording their first EP Pest Control with Nick Moorbath (who worked with the likes of Ride, Philip Selway and Frank Turner) at Evolution Studios, and then went straight to Tim Turan’s studio (Supergrass, The Ruts, Killing Joke) to get the tracks mastered, it’s easy to see why the likes of Windrush Radio, BBC Introducing Oxford, Melting Pot and lots of other radio shows are playing The Kokroachez unsigned songs.
Pest Control features three tracks fizzing with teenage spirit, political frustration and generational angst. From indie pop to the tragically heartfelt lyrics of the opening track, Misunderstood, the distorted guitars and anti-establishment rage of Never Enough, right through to the final track Pest Control, are a great introduction to The Kokroachez.
So what do the band think of the Oxford music scene. “We’re so lucky to live in Oxfordshire. The local music scene here is excellent and really supportive. When we play gigs like the O2 Academy and Jericho Tavern, they have pictures up on the walls of the Oxford bands that have played there,” Jim says. “Bands like Radiohead, Foals, Supergrass, Ride and Glass Animals – and that reminds us where we’re coming from as a band.
“If we can be part of this new wave of artists coming through from this city now, artists like Barricane, London Graffiti, Autumn Saints, Tiger Mendoza, Mila Todd, The Subtheory, The Mezz, Das Ghoul, Kanadia and Von Braun, and so many others, that would be amazing.
Catch The Kokroachez for yourselves by tuning into to Radio Oxford tonight between 8pm-9pm or buying a ticket to their next gig at Oxford’s O2 on March 19. Book here
New EP Pest Control can be streamed from March 17 on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, deezer and tidal, with pre-orders from March 1.
Follow them @the_kokroachez_official