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The duo's moniker is an amalgamation of the husband and wife's surnames (Tim Kek and Cherie Ko). Photo: Jared Rezel

Spotify Spotlight: Meet Kekko, The Lovechild Of Cocteau Twins And The Analog Girl

If you’ve been paying attention over the last month or so, you’d probably have picked up the buzz about the musical duo called kekko.

Formed by Cherie Ko and her husband Tim Kek, kekko – the name is an amalgam of their surnames – produces music with dream-pop vibes that sound, to this listener, like the lovechild of Cocteau Twins and The Analog Girl.

They have two singles out so far – "Within You" and "Past Lives", both released under the LA-based label Spirit Goth, and an EP is being planned to drop in June.

A little backstory

But who is kekko? Well, Tim is the director of Symmetry Entertainment, which has staged a variety of gigs like renowned Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men, Norwegian indie pop-rock artist Boy Pablo, American post-rock band This Will Destroy You and British indie pop group Superorganism.

Cherie has been churning out her musical creations: she sang covers as a YouTuber before becoming the guitarist in Obedient Wives Club. She also forged her own musical entities, forming power trio Bored Spies; doing a turn as synth-pop artist Pastelpower, before spearheading noir-rock duo TOMGIRL.

But all those musical excursions took a toll on Cherie, who took a break from music and channelled her artistic visions into her own label, Slimy Oddity (above), producing colourful totes, tees and more.

“When TOMGIRL ended, I had absolutely no intention of going back into making music because I was at this low point in life. I felt that I was stuck and stagnating creatively,” Cherie said. “I had to let go of my expectations of being a musician in order to explore other creative pursuits.”

Going back to her roots

But thanks to Tim, Cherie eventually climbed back on the music bandwagon. “He expressed a desire to create music together in our new space. I was quite reluctant at first but he was quite persistent and I’m glad he was!” she said.

More importantly though, kekko has given Cherie a chance to enjoy making music again, which she says “now comes from a more authentic place”.

“The previous sounds weren’t really a reflection of my ‘true self’ as I was still in the process of figuring myself out. Each project had its very own distinctive persona that I felt I had to play,” she said. “When I used to make music, the process was frustrating because I imposed a lot of expectations on the outcome and forgot how to let go and enjoy the process. Working with Tim allowed me to find that zest again and to create freely, without being afraid of ‘failing’ or making something that sounds good.”

According to Cherie, the kekko music-making process begins with Tim building “the world of the song” before she come ups with a vocal melody and guitar parts and arrangements.

“I wouldn’t say the roles are defined but that’s how it has flowed so far,” she said. “We worked with a great kid, Cameron, from Florida who helped with the mixing and mastered for both singles and our EP.”

Two Spotify hits and counting

The two singles are an attempt at “expressing the inexpressible”, said Cherie.

“With ‘Within You’, we were trying to capture the infinite nature that lies within each and every one of us,” she said. “‘Past Lives’ (is my personal favourite off the EP. The melody for it actually came to me while I was zoning out in the shower! I feel this song conveys the cosmic connection that Tim and I share, about how a force like Love can transcend time and space, and even span across lifetimes.”

Both singles have garnered more than 35,000 plays collectively on Spotify, and two videos were produced by YouTube creator I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK. "Within You" has garnered more than 90,000 views so far, and "Past Lives" has breached the 78,000-view mark.

“Cyborg is a friend of our label. They pitched ('Within You') to her and she liked it enough to do a video for it. We really hit it off as I was actually telling Tim that I could really envision ‘Within You’ set to the 1975 Australian movie, 'Picnic at Hanging Rock', and she ended up using (scenes from) that exact film,” said Cherie, who kept in touch with I’m A Cyborg to do the video for "Past Lives".

It’s about the journey, not the destination

Although kekko’s upcoming debut EP release is imminent, they haven’t set any expectations on their music.

“We intentionally set out without any. Tim just wanted to put our music out there as it felt like the natural conclusion of the creative process. To him, the focus was on the creating and creation, not so much the outcome and what comes after,” Cherie said.

“But of course, we’re thankful that so many people have enjoyed the two singles so far and we’re excited to share more.” on Spotify

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