Feature Friday- Niño Koi

Posted: January 21, 2011 by Is This Revolutionary? in Interview
Tags: , , ,

Voted the top new band of 2010, Niño Koi has made a name for themselves in a very short amount of time. These guys have so much talent, so much passion, that it’s hard to be ignored. Being fans ourselves, we jumped on the opportunity to ask about the origins and the future of Niño Koi.


Ben: What is the meaning behind the name?

Chris: Back in high school we had a friend, Jochen, who got a tattoo of a koi fish during the 10th grade, which covers his shoulder and extends down to his upper elbow. At the time I would call him Niño Koi (Koi Kid), since it was short and catchy we adopted it as our band’s name. 


B:  How did Nino Koi begin?

Chris: I knew Mau shared that same interest for instrumental rock as I did, so I proposed the idea to him. Fabrizio later on joined the band as our drummer and Fede was in the line up afterwards. Geo was last though he had previously played with Mau and I in a high school band called El extraño mundo de Alexis. Geo loves to share that story.

B: Spanish song titles but English samples in the songs. Is there a duel-language thing about Costa Rica I’m missing? [Laughs]

Fabrizio: Instrumental music tends to have a wider approach culturally speaking. Even though song titles may be in Spanish, creating a relationship with the song is easier for the foreign listener. The English samples are a coincidence of choice. We like a movie, and the movie is in English. Or we think of a stewardess speaking and we found a recording in English (international flying language?) [Laughs]. But personally speaking, I do think there is a dual-language “thing” about our country. Best example: I’m answering to these questions in a foreign language.

Chris: The language used in our samples, or the samples themselves, are really secondary in the landscape we are trying to depict. The aesthetic experience is entirely up to the individual and what they felt while listening to our songs.


B: Can you describe what it feels like to be voted the #1 new band of 2010?

Fabrizio: Feels good. We are not really buying it though. [Laughs]

Fede: We are very grateful with all the support our friends and family have given us; also with the many people around the world who have been nice to us, listening to our music and sharing it. Thanks.

Mau: Personally, i think the beauty of this is that we can notice that our music is being listened to outside (of Costa Rica), we can not assure that we are the best 2010’s best new post-rock band by votes.

B: Where do you see Nino Koi going next? New developments?

Chris: We have several things planned for this year. Most importantly, we’re thinking about our second album. Besides that, we’re considering some projects that are related to the visual arts and involve people from that field.

Mau: When we started to play, I did not imagine Niño Koi where we are right now, so, if the same thing happens next year, I hope the development of the band continues to go beyond my expectations, but I only wish we can tour outside Costa Rica.


B: Why do you feel your music appeals to as many listeners as it does?

Federico: Songs on our EP are entirely different one to another, so many emotions can be brought by listening to the whole record (at least that’s the idea). Our songs can be heard by anyone who likes to listen to diverse rhythms, shapes and textures, slow and fast beats in one presentation.

Fabrizio: There’s a certain aggressiveness that appeals to our most basic instincts!

Mau: Because of its possibilities of multiple interpretations.


B: Did you feel like it was hard gaining recognition in a genre that is mainly dominated by North America/Europe?

Chris: I don’t know how to answer this question. To some extent I don’t think it applies to us. We’ve received feedback on a local level, with some references made about us outside of Costa Rica, such as ITR?, Zona de Obras and other blogs. Nothing big, yet very thankful these have happened.

Fede: Some people gain interest in listening to us because we are from Costa Rica, it could be an advantage due to the eccentricity felt towards our country.

B: What was it like recording with Nino Koi (or in general) for the first time?

Chris: It was fun and stressful at some point. Tomás at Automata Records was great and really made us feel comfortable while recording. This was my first time at a studio and it went smooth. Getting things ready for the release date was hell.

Mau: Pretty fun I would say, the majority of us did not have any experience recording, but we did it in simultaneous sessions, so, it was like being at a regular rehearsal but with much better equipment.


B: How did you first discover post-rock?

Chris: As cliché as it may sound, after watching Friday Night Lights (the film) in 2004 or 2005, I fell in love with the soundtrack. Explosions in the Sky changed my life at that point.

Mau: Explosions in the Sky.

Fede: Austin TV showed me post-rock even though I didn’t know they were, for me it was unearthly space-punk-like instrumental music from Mexico.

B: What bands do you feel serve as a inspiration to you?

Chris: While composing my inspirations are based on situations, experiences, places, and feelings. Lately, my fears and passions have really been poured into the songs I make. The bands that slapped me in the face and made me transition from playing the drums to a 4 stringed bass guitar are: Alkaline Trio, Austin TV, Explosions in the Sky, Pink Floyd, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Radiohead.

Fede: Mainly At the Drive-in and its ramifications.

Fabrizio: Inspiration in the creative process is an interesting thing. Sometimes places can inspire me more than bands. That said, I’m listening to a lot of Swans right now.

Mau: Personally: Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Austin TV, Explosions in the sky, and many others that are constantly changing.


B: As you may know, a lot of the music ITR? gets sent in is either
demo tapes or first time unofficial releases. Can you describe the your personal experiences on the difficulty of being signed?

Chris: We wouldn’t know since we’re not signed. Alegorías was pretty much DIY, and Automata Records is kind of a freelance studio.

Niño Koi: Thanks for listening to us! And a special thanks to Ben and the rest of the Is This Revolutionary? Team

Check out our review of their album

See them featured on Ben’s Best of 2010


  1. These dudes play some hot tracks. I have heard them rehearse 100s of songs and play live.

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