A collective of musicians devoted to walking the blurred lines that divide disco, funk, boogie and house, Kokoro Disco San first appeared on the RNT radar with their 2019 “Isla Fantasia” release on Rocafort Records.
KDS now brings their uncanny ability to capture the mood and instrumentation of classic disco and soul with the uplifting summer anthem “Sunshine” and the Candido-esque sonic journey “Jungle Deep.” Rounding out the EP are two remixes of the title track by label co-head JKriv, who delivers an extended acidic exploration with his Beach Burn Mix, and a bumped up yet loving treatment of the original song with his SPF76 Mix.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m Miguelito Superstar, one third of Kokoro Disco San. The other two thirds are Lalo López and Thompson (aka Javi López). Together we are Kokoro Disco San, a musical project devoted to disco and other related sounds.
What city is it you live in and what do you love most about your city?
We live in Barcelona, a great city known for the nice weather and good food. What we like most about it is that it is (and has always been) a cultural melting pot with lots of people from different corners of the world meeting and influencing each other here.
Who are the artists that have inspired the sounds of Kokoro Disco San?
We are mostly fans of classic funk and disco sounds but from there we also favour genres that evolved from there like boogie, house and many others. We like some of the nu-disco sound that has updated classic disco with light touches of electronica which is very appealing to us. There are many artists that inspired us, too much to list them all, but I’d say that songs like Candido’s “Thousand Fingers Man”, Idris Muhammad’s “Could Heaven Ever Be Like This” or Masters At Work (specially under their Nuyorican Soul moniker) give an idea of the kind of sound be lean towards.
What are the key elements of the ‘sound’ of KDS?
We try to find a balance between programmed and live elements so that we can have the punch of electronic beats combined with the vibe of live musicianship.
Do you think your music fits into a box or genre?
Disco is no doubt the most fitting box for our sound. But there are many sides to disco. Balearic is usually used to describe our sound, but I don’t think defining music is our job. I can tell you we like a nice beat, a good bass line, beautiful harmonies and always favour a Latin tinge thrown in for good measure.
Are KDS liver performers too?
KDS is a studio project (at least so far), so we’ve never played a live gig. On the other hand, me and Lalo have been playing together for more than 25 years with our band Fundación Tony Manero, a band devoted to more analogue funk and disco. Thompson does also play bass with garage and rock bands Los Critters or Boyle Heights from time to time. I can tell you that my last gig with Lalo and Fundación Tony Manero was great: lots of people dancing and singing to our songs. We are facing our farewell tour, so it gets a bit emotional at some points, but that’s great.
Talk us through the Sunshine EP a little?
The ‘Sunshine EP’ is made out of a couple of original tunes (“Sunshine” and “Jungle Deep”) and two remixes of “Sunshine” done by JKriv. “Sunshine” is a piano driven disco tune with a bit of a Latin twist. The piano was played by our good friend Manuel Dabove who did a great performance. It also features Clara Gispert on vocals singing the chorus and giving a smooth touch that fits the song perfectly.
“Jungle Deep”, the other tune, is a percussion heavy affair that Brings Candido to mind with a little afro touch at some points. We had Ernest Martinez come to the studio and play lots of percussion tracks that we used at will afterwards. Not on the 12” but available as a digital bonus is a vocal version of “Jungle Deep” with spoken vocals provided by Marina Molina that gives a different approach to the song.
JKriv’s remixes are both great and we are super happy to have him remix our tune. The SPF 76 remix is quite respectful with the original song but rearranging the elements to give more punch and a more modern sound. The Beach Burn mix is just great and adds some acid lines to the tune making it way trippier. Both work fine for different moods and moments of the night.
Where was it made, and how long did it take to make it?
We started working on “Sunshine” a few weeks before the Covid 19 crisis arrived in Spain. Suddenly everything music related stopped but we managed to keep working on line, sending ideas and tracks back and forth from our respective homes. I was taking all these ideas and tracks and putting them together in my studio and when the song finally took shape we thought it would be great to have a good piano performance on it. That’s when we sent the track to Manuel Dabove who was (as everyone else) locked down at home and bored to death. He quickly jumped to it and did a great piano track.
Since he already had the song we asked if his girlfriend, Clara Gispert, would rerecord a vocal hook we were using on the track and weren’t that much fond of. “Since you’re setting up to record why don’t you give a try to the chorus and see if something comes out?” we asked. The answer was much more than we expected: she hit us back with the wonderful chorus melody and lyrics that gave the song an extra mellowness.
Meanwhile we also started working on “Jungle Deep” which was worked more or less in the same fashion (online exchange of ideas and tracks). When the idea was well defined, and as lockdown was easing in, we could meet for a session with percussionist Ernest Martinez who brought lots of percussion instruments and toys and delivered a handful of great tracks that helped a big deal to create the “jungle” atmosphere we were looking for. Some weeks after, feeling the song could benefit for some vocals me and my girlfriend came up with some lyrics to put on top of “Jungle Deep”. Our friend Arina Molina (a Puerto Rican singer and composer living in Barcelona) came to record them and did an awesome performance.
Where’s the best place to listen to the ‘Sunshine EP’, and what should we be drinking while we’re listening to it?
I feel the tracks on the EP suit different moods and moments which is nice. The original “Sunshine” version could be listened at a beach bar while drinking a nice Moscow Mule. “Jungle Deep” is a darker affair so I’d suggest a small and dark club with some Hennessy (plain, no ice please) at hand. Same ubication and drink could work for the SPF 76 remix whereas the Beach Burn Remix suggests to me bigger venues (even festivals) with lots of water to hydrate!
Tell us something we should know about Kokoro Disco San?
We are three regular guys around our forties, we are all fathers of small, wonderful kids, and though nowadays we can’t do it so often, we have spent many hours dancing in clubs well into the first hours of the morning. We love dancing (although we are more self-conscious now than we used to be), we love club life and -most of all- we love to see people dancing and prancing.