Das Kope brings his DIY Psychedelia to the Golden State.
As the world of music and streaming continues to shape the world of musicians, the DIY path becomes more and more vital. It’s not for every artist, but some like Das Kope seem made for it.
The Brazilian, now LA-based, psychedelic artist (who's requested not to reveal his real name) pairs visual artistry and sonically solid pop into one multi-faceted crystalline world. Not only does he write and record everything himself, he makes music videos to match, which involves creating backdrops, filming, directing, and, of course, performing. In the mere two songs Kope has released, he has spun simple long-drawn verses dipped in reverb, draped over sparkling synths, and wrapped in a blissful psychedelic bow. The paired imagery Kope creates depicts a kind of languid, dreamy California scenery most of us imagine and envy.
Kope grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, living close by the infamous Brazil psychedelic group, Os Mutantes. At the time though, Kope was playing in punk bands and didn't take much of an interest in psychedelic music.
“When I was really young, I knew of the Mutantes, but I didn't even listen to their music,” says Kope. “My parents used to listen to a lot of really local carnivale, regional music. I didn't really like it. I started listening to heavy metal when I was really young because in the building the kids were listening to that. Eventually when I got to punk rock – which in Brazil is really big – I feel like it really opened my ears to a bunch of different styles, appreciating a nice song. I accepted the beautiful melodies through punk rock, like The Buzzcocks. I feel like later that took me to post-punk and Bowie, and it opened my musical world.”
In 2006, Kope relocated to LA. As is the case for most artists, it didn't take long for him to feel the financial strain of the city. Kope found a small apartment in Hollywood and stayed there for a few years, tinkering with instruments and sounds, along with optical ideas: old VHS tapes, and whatever he could get his hands on. What came about was a tapestry of psychedelic textures: both sonic and visual, dubbed Das Kope.
“The name really comes from kaleidescope,” says Kope. “I thought I needed a name, and it represented this experimentation. Not that this sound is experimental, but there was a lot of experimentation to get to it.”
The allure of LA isn't hard to get. A sunny, vibrant city on the beach, full of new, creative endeavor; it's no wonder artists find themselves drawn to it. However, it's not all blue skies. Take Kope's “Ready For The Summer” for instance: With its sun-drenched lo-fi verses, Kope's voice spilling into high arcing choruses like cresting wave crashing down hard and smooth all at once. On first listen it almost sounds like an homage to LA, but it's somewhat the opposite.
Das Kniope - Ready For The Summer (Official Video)
“Back in Brazil people are like, 'oh, you live in LA?' and they think of all these iconic summer things like Venice Beach and the palm trees,” says Kope. “I was not really living these things that people dream about Los Angeles. I was just not there. That's what ‘Ready For The Summer’ is about – I want all that but I'm not living it.”
“Los Angeles can be like that for a lot of artists. You're here in this ‘paradise,’ [but] you can also be in your head and frustrated.”
For Kope, that dreamy landscape turned out to be right outside LA. His imagery in his music videos all comes from shots Kope has taken along the Pacific Coast Highway, the road running along California's picturesque coastline.
It's hard to say how Kope will blend his imagery and songs in a live setting; he hasn't begun playing shows yet. He also hasn't decided whether his new songs will keep trickling out or shape into a full record (though he has a full album of material ready to go).
“It's such a personal thing. I play all the instruments, I sing. It's been my baby,” says Kope. “I'm trying to break the rules. A lot of bands need a budget for recording, for visuals. I wanna do everything. I believe with creativity you can pretty much do everything you want.”