Fun, harmonic and magical are the three words that we would choose to describe artist Coco Varda. Taking dream pop to a whole other level, the Canadian-born, Brighton-based experimental artist has been sculpting her sound since 2016, merging and taking influence from a whole variety of genres into what she calls Cave Pop.
Honing her skills from 2019 when she learned how to use CDJs and started the radio show Atlantic Waves on Brighton-based station, 1BTN, Coco Varda has long been waiting to release something to the masses. Over the pandemic, she has taken her time to mix, produce and master some amazing tracks which have now been dropped.
C: The term Cave Pop came from when I was performing in drag, I had this alias - Demon Songstress - and I would wear devil horns and crazy makeup. From this, I invented a sad, sonic demon persona who entrances people in caves - like a siren and that's where I got the idea for Cave pop as the genre of my music."
‘There Are Worse Things On The Internet’ features five wonderful tracks that you should wrap your ears around!
C: "There are worse things on the internet than my music.... and it's still my motto today as there are some horrible things online and my music is definitely not the worst."
she says candidly which, spoiler alert - her music is by far not the worst thing out there.
Her aesthetic is beautiful and whimsical, her music transcendental, we were humbled by the sweeping use of classical fundamentals that merge well with her eerily melodic vocals. The first song ‘Airplane Mode’ sets the tone of the EP well: Infinitely daydreamy as if you were looking into an abyss of clouds. not only does this song hook you, but it also blends very nicely into the next, which leaves you feeling satisfied and excited for what's to come. Off to a strong start, we could hear musical influences taken from artists such as Julien Baker, Aurora and even more Avant guard artists like Bjork or Apex Twin
We feel themes of isolation and pensiveness through listening to its entirety, taking a step back from realism and becoming a musical hermit as her sound transports you to another place. This is what you want right? In light of the past couple of years, we feel Coco has taken the emotive nature and has created a cathartic release with her this EP.
C: "I like layering and looping, as it creates a sonic shape to my music which I really enjoy creating. Messing with different sounds and musical textures is amazingly fun"
The looping techniques are beautifully dissonant, for example, ‘Good Intentions’ lures you in with the frequent repetition, but the layering of different sounds keeps it fresh and new. It oozes cool attic party in Soho, NY with its deep house bass and fluttering disco rhythm, giving an edge to her music which is undeniably unique.
From performing Drag at sonic art events to creating a collaboration for artists within the Brighton area, you can't say Coco is not into the art world. Bringing Avant-garde and surrealism to your ears with a slick and well-polished tone is difficult to achieve and yet, she does it effortlessly. We really like the use of the piano as a magical stabiliser throughout her music, it's upbeat yet nostalgically innocent and let's not forget the constant looping which isn’t overdone but compliments the tone really well.
C: "Performing it live and creating music in the studio are very different experiences! Performing it live gives you an adrenaline rush and I still get nervous but I do find improvisational performances way easier as you are focusing on creating music at the moment rather than focusing on perfection."
Coco’s music mimics dreamy artists such as Four Tet does in Two Thousand and Seventeen yet creates a deep groove with the use of electronic beats like she does in her song ‘Branches’ in which her voice reminds us of Aurora. The slick trap layering, echoing voice and atmospheric bass is intense yet emotively lifting - would make an awesome DnB remix in our opinion. She keeps you moving with this song, it is 1000% performative, layering electronic synths to create a beat whilst still keeping the clarity of each individual instrument used, especially the use of a sweeping piano at the end.
C: "When you using a loop station, you are performing with yourself... I didn't know anyone else that was making the same kind of music I was, so I got (the loop station) to become a one-man band... and at the sonic art events I was using a lot of improvisation which has influenced this EP."
Jumping out next we have 'Pulp' which gives a semi-industrial feel with its free-flowing grain and texture, which is once again perfectly complimented by the use of her voice. Let us not pass the pop-inspired beat and the deep bass which keeps you grounded but leave your imagination to flutter off. We have loved, throughout this entire EP, how Coco uses vocal repetition as well as instrumental, and in Pulp, in particular, the heavy synth which gives the song a long shape which you do not want it to end.
C: "With this EP especially, I know there is a lot of space in my music for personal reflection as there are a lot of long build-ups. I invite people to use it as a way for people to reflect on their own things in their lives..."
We end on an experimental high with ‘Grab’, poetic lyrics, and poignant thoughts hit you in the face, keeping it psychedelic and almost psytrance-y in nature, coco gives a real raw sound with an underlying smooth trap bass and a tantalising rhythm that transports you to a whole new world. the lyrics are words that have a fuzzy texture which we think works very well in the song.
C: "I'm excited about the future, making more music and putting them out - I wish I had done it earlier"
From the chattering piano to the cycling harp, and then coupled with a synth-heavy baseline feels fleeting and electronically charged, leading your emotive state to wander freely. We can't put a specific genre on her music as it belongs in her own category.
All-in-all Coco Vardas’ music is minimalistic in musical structure yet carries a lot of punch in the layering and looping of instruments and vocals. she makes you feel cool and magical, lifting you high with the ultra-modern swagger that is addictively yummy. The only negative we can find from this EP is that she hasn't released more tracks and we look forward to what else she produces in the future.
I guess you'll just have to take our word, go and listen to 'There Are Worse Things On the Internet'! Now, please, we implore you, and let us know if you feel the same way we do.
Listen to our interview with her below!