The boundary-pushing, shape-shifting trio has amassed a supersized fanbase that spans generations. Over half of their audience are under the age of 22 and the band has a combined 175 million streams, all whilst remaining self-produced and independent. KKB has seamlessly morphed through alt-pop genres, from creepypasta ‘90s indie to fourth world alt-pop, aligning themselves with enlightened musical influencers such as 100 gecs, Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama, and exaggerated electronic pop music cabal PC Music.
‘The Princess and the Clock‘ is a lively and complex anthem that matches colourful synths with old-time mythology, creating an engaging balance of experimental and pop tendencies. The lyrics see KKB recount a fictional tale of their own devising, telling the story of a princess sailing the world who is kidnapped by a primitive society and held in a glass tower. One day the captors find her gone and the glass smashed; it’s up to the listener to decide how she left. The fable is perfectly illustrated via an animation by Dan W. Jacobs.
Kero Kero Bonito explain; “The Princess and the Clock is the tale of a young explorer who is kidnapped while sailing the world, imprisoned at the top of a tower, and worshipped as royalty by an isolated society. Trapped in her chamber, she spends years dreaming of escaping, until one day she disappears. A legend of our own invention, “The Princess and the Clock” was written before Covid emerged, though the long, lonely hours and escapist dreams its protagonist experiences will be relatable to many right now. It’s a song for anyone who has ever felt trapped, lost, and alone.“
KKB’s Civilisation era was inspired in equal parts by early ambassadors of art-pop such as Kate Bush, David Byrne, and Ryuichi Sakamoto, as well as their modern equivalents Grimes, Caroline Polachek, and Björk, as well as trumpeter Jon Hassell, who developed the concept of ‘fourth world’ music, which unified both primitive and modern sounds. Much like Civilisation I, all three tracks of Civilisation II are produced using only old hardware which both trivialises and exaggerates the ideas that lie within the EP, a thematic fusion of the ancient past, grand present and distant future all at once. Across the EP, Sarah Bonito wrote lyrics as they came to her, is half Japanese, half English, reflecting the multi-dimensional way she thinks and understands language.
The past 18 months have seen the band breaking new ground. Driven by their understanding of the machinations of digital culture, they have encouraged the extrapolation of their music by their fans; in 2019, KKB’s tracks ‘Flamingo‘ and ‘I’d Rather Sleep‘ went viral on Alt-TikTok, exposing their music to legions of new young fans, with both currently garnering over a million streams per month. They found themselves going viral again in 2020 after they composed ‘It’s Bugsnax!‘, the theme to the hit PS5 video game, which led to them being described as “the internet’s new favourite meme ingredient” by GamesRadar. The band also appeared on 100 gecs’ ‘ringtone‘ remix alongside Charli XCX and Rico Nasty. These affiliations and collaborations placed the band squarely in front of an emboldened audience who were willing to dive headfirst into Kero Kero Bonito’s borderless and undefined pop music.
‘The Princess And The Clock’ is out now, buy/stream it here.