Kero Kero Bonito’s sound is an endlessly fascinating mash-up, throwing together J-Pop, dancehall and video game sounds in a way that doesn’t sound quite like anything else.
We last caught up with the three-piece back when they graced the cover of our October 2016 issue ahead of their debut album, Bonito Generation. It’s a release that’s equally as bizarre as it is interesting, with the band’s vocalist Sarah Midori Perry half-singing, half-rapping upbeat songs in both Japanese and English and taking assumedly everyday objects such as trampolines and flamingos as their subject matter.
Needless to say, it only made sense for the band to take part in one of our In Fives. Here they share with us five tracks that have influenced their eclectic sound. The band play the Laundry Meadows stage at Standon Calling, 27th-30th July.
Halcali – Stylee Stylee
When we first formed, Sarah had never rapped before, so we listened to Halcali’s first album Halcali Bacon to get an idea of how to do it. Performed by two Japanese 16 year olds, it features some of the best pop-rap ever made, and we always get asked for track IDs when we play it.
Tony Rebel – Hush
In the early KKB days, Jamie and Gus were mainly interested in club music, cute music and anything that connected the two. Early 90s digital dancehall tracks go unbelievably hard but nonetheless have cute keyboard sounds and SFX everywhere. Gus’ dad is a Jamaican music enthusiast and made a dancehall compilation for us, including this banger.
Kazumi Totaka – K.K. Calypso
This is from the game Animal Crossing, which features a busking dog. He can play a song in every genre conceivable – a bossa nova song, a house track, a classical piece, etc. – and this is his calypso song. For the game, the composer made him dozens of different genre pastiches with little Casio sounds to reflect the game’s cute aesthetic. The result is full of personality, weirdly party-ready in a minimalist way and really influenced how we summoned genre and personality on [debut album] Intro Bonito.
The B52s – Rock Lobster
We met Sarah via an advert we posted for collaborators online, and The B52s were one of the references we listed in it. The B52s get a lot of respect for being totally irreverent, which is the dream, and this song is a key reference for the several animal-themed tracks we’ve come up with.
The Dixie Cups – Iko Iko
Two other influences on early KKB were playground chants and music where almost nothing happens. This is the ultimate example of both; apparently they jammed it off the cuff on an ashtray, a chair and a soda bottle. Everybody’s known it since they were very young.