Kero Kero Bonito
About Kero Kero Bonito
The London trio Kero Kero Bonito is dedicated to the power of radically creative pop. On their early singles and 2016's Bonito Generation, the band combined Sarah Midori Perry's lighter-than-air vocals and Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled's production into bright, shiny songs indebted to J-pop, video game music, and dancehall. Though their style evolved quickly, shifting to the moody, punk-inspired territory of 2018's Time 'n' Place and the complex electronic art pop of 2021's Civilisation, Kero Kero Bonito's music always put equal weight on innovation and emotion.
Kero Kero Bonito formed in the early 2010s when producers and multi-instrumentalists Gus Lobban (who also records as Kane West and Augustus) and Jamie Bulled (who also makes music as Wharfwhit) decided to form a pop band with a direct sound and international appeal. The former schoolmates searched for a vocalist on MixB, an online forum for Japanese expatriates. They found Sarah Midori Perry, a half-Japanese, half-English artist who had moved to the U.K. at age 13 and developed the band's subversively cute visuals.
Kero Kero Bonito's debut single, "Coursework Story," appeared in 2012 and was followed by a slew of tracks as well as the 2014 mixtape Bonito Intro. Later that year, Bonito Recycling featured Intro Bonito remixes by Danny L. Harle and Spazzkid. The trio released its debut album, Bonito Generation, in 2016 and chased it with Bonito (Retakes), an EP of remixes by artists including Frankie Cosmos, CFCF, and Saint Etienne, the following year.
Kero Kero Bonito went in a different direction with 2018's Totep EP and its single "Only Acting," incorporating punky guitars and live drums into their music. The single also appeared on the trio's second full-length, Time 'n' Place, which found Kero Kero Bonito exploring rock, orchestral, and noise elements. Recorded in Lobban's bedroom as well as with engineer Jimmy Robertson and former Stereolab drummer Andy Ramsay, the album arrived in October 2018. That year, Kero Kero Bonito also appeared on Manon's album Teenage Diary.
The band switched gears again with September 2019's Civilisation I EP, which adopted a colder electronic sound that reflected its darker messages about government corruption and climate change. After composing the theme song for the video game Bugsnax and appearing on a remix of 100 gecs' "Ringtone" in 2020, Kero Kero Bonito returned in April 2021 with the Civilisation II EP. Like its predecessor, it was produced and recorded in Lobban's bedroom studio with vintage hardware, and drew inspiration from decades of art pop as well as the best and worst of humanity. Later in the year, the band issued Civilisation, which gathered both EPs into an album. ~ Heather Phares