Artist Radar: KORA

Artist Radar: KORA

Welcome to the Pacific Island themed Artist Radar. Our weekly Artist Radar articles will be dedicated to each of the groups featured on the FREE Pacific Island Sampler. This week, we put our spotlight on new Zealands finest, KORA.

Little do people know that this Pacific Island Sampler, that was finally released on July 19th, was being put together since January. The line up for this sampler changed several times. We originally planned to launch the free release in April, but eventually secured July 19th as the official release date. For the sake of KORA, we’re certainly glad that we pushed the release back to July because KORA was a last minute addition to this sampler. They were touring the states this last spring and while they were in California, The Pier was able to connect with the group & we confirmed them on the Sampler as late as June!

We’re glad everything worked out with this Pacific Island Sampler & KORA is a solid addition to a solid line up. We’re very proud to have KORA apart of this release. We hope you enjoy the read, interview & video below. Go grab 2 songs FREE on the Pacific Island Sampler!

KORA Free MP3s:

FREE Songs: “On My Mind” and “Skankenstein”

KORA Background & Interview:
Experimental rock/funk collective KORA are a 5 piece band with huge live presence, vocal harmonies sailing on a powerhouse rhythm section. Solid musicians, the 4 brothers & Dan, represent the Pacific Islands being based out of Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Formed in 2003, KORA’s debut self-titled album was released in NZ in 2007 and shot straight to the top of the Official NZ charts – debuting in the Number 1 slot and has now reached double platinum sales. Album is now available in Australia and UK/Europe.

We were able to take a few minutes to ask the NZ natives a couple questions. Check it out…

The Pier: Being from NZ, tell us what the culture of the music is on the islands right now and how it may differ from the rest of the world.
KORA: new Zealand is proud of new Zealand music, and has generally got a lot of local support, also a strong underground music culture, in NZ we live our lives a little different, that comes across in the arts and music. but really we try to keep up with the rest of the world take bits and pieces from American funk/hip hop, European dance, Jamaican reggae etc.. Mash it all together with a bit of our own flavors in the mix

The Pier: With this FREE Pacific Island Sampler, you guys gave us 2 songs with “On My Mind” & “Skankenstein”. For a lot of fans, this is their first impression to your music. How do these songs represent your group, and what do you want fans to take away from your music?
KORA: It is hard to get a feel of our sound just hearing one or two of our tracks because most of our songs are different, we don’t belong in any genre, but we like to keep things Fresh, new, fat, dark and heavy.

The Pier: You guys recently did a US tour during the spring. Are there any > plans to return in the near future to the US or Abroad?
KORA: We loved the US tour, got really looked after and got a great response to the shows. We are planning to come back over as soon as we finish and release our new album

The Pier: With so much talent sprouting out of the Pacific Islands, What insight would you give us on groups coming out of NZ? Which groups are > making a lot of noise on the Island right now?
KORA: My favorie NZ act, shapeshifter are in Germany recording their next album, word is they are heading to the US next year, check them out; killer live drum and bass. In terms of reggae music, the old school who have been making noise with Fat Freddy’s Drop, Katchafire, The Blackseeds ,Salmonella Dub, Pitchblack, Ladi6. In terms of the new school, Optomus Gryme, Grushington, Tiki, House of Shem, 1814 and Six60 just to name a few.

The Pier: You guys have a more Funkier approach to your sound with a lighter reggae influence. How difficult is it to be an upcoming band from the islands looking to be recognized among other talent being pushed?
KORA: There is a lot of talent being pushed, but also a lot of support, so if people like you, they remember you, talk about you and recognize you. Helps if you have or develop your own style. It takes good skills and talent to stand out. In new Zealand, dub is huge, it is what we listen to. NZ has some great dub producers and musicians. It’s probably to do with the amount of herb smoked or something.

The Pier: Tell us what music or albums you have out right now and where fans > can pick them up. Any plans in the future for new releases?
KORA: Our second album will be released in the next month or two, check our website for updates at

Thanks fellas! As they said, look out for their new album to be released shortly. The Pier will have an album review along with a follow up Interview following the release of their new album. Stay tuned for more updates regarding new Zealand’s KORA and be sure to follow along inside our Pacific Island Blog

Interview by: Mike Patti

Here’s the official music video to the song “Story Ain’t Over “ that was launched just this year in March, 2011