Photo by Jack McKain
With destruction comes rebirth, and with change comes evolution–sometimes in the form of art. This phenomenon is distinctly evident in Los Angeles-based artist/producer, Koda, who emanates a palpable sense of deep-rooted, melancholic wisdom with every lyric, every guitar strum, and every breath he takes–an unmistakable mark of true artistry. Today, Ones To Watch has your first look at Koda's "No Turning Back," accompanied by a fervent live performance of the new single here on our Hollywood rooftop.
To call Koda passionate would be a stark understatement. As soon as "No Turning Back" opens, we are fully immersed in an ominous tale of regret, as his story-telling lyricism conjures vivid images of cobwebs, attack dogs, and drained bathtubs–along with whatever sinister notions your imagination might create. As the bewitching build up crescendos, all senses are satisfied when the piece explodes into an anthemic, percussion-heavy climax–a clear indicator of Koda's Radiohead influence.
Koda shared more insight on his creative process,
"It was one of those effortless things, the sort of creative process we all romanticize but know is rarely true. I love working with Graham because that’s kind of how it always goes - we just take ideas and run with them. It always starts with this vague picture and spirals out into this crazy fever dream so it’s hard to even say anything about the creative process because it’s essentially autopilot. I have all these warped ideas about authority and power. Salute this, respect that, and they never give you good reason to, you’re just expected to bend the knee. You have these grotesque authoritarian figures mumbling about law & order and it runs counter to reality. We’re run by thugs and bullies."
While long-time fans may recognize Koda for his earlier ambient-leaning, electronic releases, "No Turning Back" marks his return to the alternative rock roots he was raised on. With a voice best-described as a hybrid between Thom Yorke and Jonsí - with a splash of Jack White - we patiently await what's to come on Koda's debut LP, i hope this makes us better.
If you've somehow already recovered from the inescapable mental journey of "No Turning Back," prepare for an elevated experience as the song takes a life of its own in Koda's live rendition. We didn't even know certain muscles existed until we witnessed Koda's neck flex with such zealous power as he somatizes with every lyric–a tangible release of the artist's inner demons. While "No Turning Back" will not be included Koda's upcoming full-length, it represents a profound exploration of new (and old) sounds, and subsequently the evolution of Koda's personal identity as an artist.
"No Turning Back" will be officially released tomorrow, Dec. 15. Keep a close eye on Koda as more heart-wrenching releases are on the near horizon: