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ArtForm: CityShowcase Act/Composer, New Zealand

Chris and Evan Brown have done things most guys their ages—22 and 24, respectively—never even dream of doing. Like traveling the world as competitive ballroom dancers, or dabbling in stock market trading. But not long ago the brothers decided to enter another creative venture. One with its own kind of gliding grace, a lush beauty to equal the moves of their dancing days—and one that looks to net them an even greater return than the Dow Jones or NASDAQ might ever yield.

In 2007 the pair formed Kotadama, a boldly inventive group that, with its startling debut album, Dichotomy, is about to become the fresh musical faces of pop radio.
Like many great bands, Kotadama (Japanese for “spirit of words”) arose out of its founders simply wanting to find an outlet for the songs they’d been writing. “Around the time I was studying for my university entrance exams I started bugging my parents for a guitar, and then I learned how to play,” says Chris, who with Evan and their two sisters grew up on their family’s 100-acre rural property in New South Wales, Australia. “I talked Evan into learning to play the drums, and we started working out U2 songs and other covers. We started writing our own stuff pretty soon after that.”

Before long, the siblings had converted a nearby farm shed into their own recording studio and were hard at work crafting the songs on Dichotomy.

And what songs they are. Sweeping, high-gloss epics that truly belie their composers’ youth. Uplifting and melodic, they reflect their composers’ obsession with age-old, universal themes: the relentless ache of unrequited love; a young man’s attempts to make sense of the world; that intoxicating, tingling rush of a first kiss. There’s “As I Am,” a driving, lay-it-on-the-line statement of self-belief with massive hooks and keyboards that sparkle like distant stars; and “Earth Vs. Man,” an atmospheric, introspective think-piece that Chris describes as “a bit of a warning to mankind.” And then there’s “See You Tonight,” Dichotomy’s first single. A yearning ode of romantic separation with a soaring, heartbreaking vocal by Chris, the track was picked up by New York’s KISS-FM in May 2009 and quickly became the station’s most requested song.

And for Kotadama things have been happening quickly, indeed. After becoming finalists in Europe’s 100% Music Songwriting Contest, the band appeared at the Kansai Music Conference in Osaka, Japan; was nominated for a Los Angeles Music Award; saw the video for “See You Tonight” air on CBS, NBC, FOX, and other American TV networks; played an acoustic showcase in the UK; won first place in the international Festival4stars songwriting competition; and received invitations to perform at the Barcelona Acció Musical festival in Spain and in Canada and the US. In 2009 the band partnered with top producer David Kershenbaum (Duran Duran, Tracy Chapman, Bryan Adams).

“Every decade or so there is a musical group that comes on the scene that takes your breath away,” raves Kershenbaum. “Kotadama is that kind of group.”
Recently for live support the band added two friends, bassist Scott Mallard, 28, and keyboardist Clint Fish, 25, Chris and Evan have been busy working on more music; in fact, Kotadama already has material for a second album. “The goal is still the same as when we started,” explains Evan. “To write songs that resonate with people of all ages.” One listen to Dichotomy shows it’s a goal Kotadama knows exactly how to achieve—with an approach that will take the band straight to the top of the charts. And beyond.

Biog as provided for City Showcase 2010

Featuring In:

Friday at Waiapu Cathedral of St John the Evangelist
Friday 26.11.2010
Kotadama in Just Jeans
Saturday 27.11.2010
Sunday at the Soundshell and Finding the Future 2010
Sunday 28.11.2010
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