Dublin boy Sean Arthur produces ambient sounds best described as a mixture between 2 step, R&B and beat music under the music moniker Kobina. Having only emerged on the Irish music scene in recent years, he has already amassed an impressive string of appearances and gigs; supporting Lapalux, Henry Krinkle & CLU and performing at festivals Longitude, Electric Picnic & Castlepalooza among others.
2013 saw Kobina launch his well received ‘Ahome’ E.P on First Second label – featuring 4 tracks to compliment, in his own words “The after hours of clubs and the hazed walk home” – a worthy cause to create a soundtrack for. Most recently Kobina has found harmonic bliss collaborating with Irish songstress Blooms on tracks ‘Guilty’ and ‘Touch’, and co-collaborating with Gil Lewis on track ‘Fall’ – all notching up an impressive amount of Soundcloud plays and showing his adaptability across genres, something that will no doubt stand to Kobina as his career progresses.
With a whole host of original tracks and charismatic remixes in his armour, he’s sure to be one to look out for in the future of Irish music and beyond.
To give us a better insight into himself and his music, Kobina very kindly answered some questions for Bawdy Fox:
Hey Kobina! What spurred you on to start producing your own music?
I’ve been making music in one form or another since I was about 7, but i’ve always struggled to express what I was hearing play in my head to others, which meant nothing ever really took off. About 3 years ago a friend showed me some recording software and suddenly ideas just started pouring out. It was exciting for the first time in years and limitless. I’m constantly trying find that moment where all the elements come together, the music suddenly something indescribable which connects with you and in turn the listener.
Where did the name originate from?
It comes from a few different strands really. Firstly it has a literal translation of “born on a tuesday“, which is day on which myself, my father and grandfather were all born. Secondly I like the idea languages I have no understanding of (In this case Ghanaian). I like how even if you may not understand the meaning of something it can connect with you emotionally and you can impart your own meaning into it. Finally, the core reason was that initially, I needed something to hide my own name because i was terrified of putting out music for others to hear.
You’ve recently paired your track ‘Flicker’ to a video created by PJD Productions, with aesthetically beautiful results! Are you as interested in the visual side of things as you are with music production?
Yeah the visual side of things is really important to me. I worked PJD because it felt like a collaboration. I had been approached by other but everyone wanted me to give them a complete idea or they wanted to create their own thing, alien from my ideas. I liked the idea of working together to present something which resonates with the music and yet allows them to put forward their vision too. This is year I got to do a once of show with the amazing Tarik Barri (Radiohead, Nicolas Jaar, live visual collaborator) and it’s really refocused my attention to how truly brilliant an A/V setup can be. See also amazing Dublin duo Clu for how to get it done.
Finding a harmonious music twin alongside Blooms showcased the best of your combined musical abilities, are there any other artists you would love to see yourself creating alongside with in the future?
With music in general I tend to take things as they come, I would only ever work with someone if there was a chemistry of sorts. Working with Louise was a rare instance where we both seemed on the same wavelength completely. I could create a bizarre piece of music and she would find the perfect melody to sit on it without any guidance. Louise is unique in that she encapsulate the mood and emotion of a song in the absolutely right amount of words. I’m currently working on a few collaborations but we’ll wait and see what comes of them.
Aside from your already impressive amass of appearances at Irish festivals, are there any ones, global or otherwise you would love to play at?
I think it’d be nice o play the electronic.art foundation’s Serata festival in Switzerland. Mmoths played last year and it looked really special.
There has been a saturation of new artists on the electronic music scene in the past few years, it seems everyone wants to produce music (but we know not everyone is good at it!) As a relatively new producer who has actually seen a degree of progression and success early on, what qualities as an artist do you think are necessary to stand out in what can sometimes seem like a sea of unvarying mediocrity?
I think everything is just about making what it is that you love. Make your music for you, first and foremost and if it connects with people, that’s incredible. If you set out with the mentality of jumping on a trend i.e. deep house you’ll fade out pretty swiftly. Twenty years ago trends could last a few years and you might grab small career from bandwagon behaviour but these days genres, trends and what’s fashionable changes so much quicker and it’s impossible keep up with. You’re average listener is too smart for that shit, they’ll see through you.
What’s the absolute worst Dublin nightlife experience you’ve ever had?
I can’t think of many specific instances as I love Dublin, but the overall experience of seeing forward-thinking spaces and interesting club nights being squeezed out by archaic licensing laws and “super-clubs” is a bit depressing.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Not a lot really. I’ve just finished mixing and mastering my second e.p. which will be coming out soon on Dublin’s First Second Label, so I’m giving my head a break by listening to old blues and jazz records (Son House, Chet Baker etc.). FKA Twigs, Arca, Haxan Cloak, Mount Kimbie and Evian Christ are always there in the background though.
– Aisling Abbey
Kobina’s second E.P ‘Sentinel Island’ is due for release on First Second Label in the near future.
You can listen to/find out more about Kobina on his Soundcloud, Facebook page & Twitter
Feature photo credit: Olga Kuzmenko