A fusion of electro, soul, pop and metal sound will echo from the Suburbium of the Petrovaradin Fortress on New Year’s Eve, because the world-famous band from Great Britain – Kosheen is coming to the European Capital of Culture on Doček 2023. This world-famous band played in Novi Sad in 2001 at Exit festival, and we all remember the spectacular performance when the great Sian Evans, the singer of the Kosheen group, despite her leg injury, came on stage with crutches and brought tens of thousands of people to their feet.
Kosheen has been ruling the charts since the 1990s, and their concerts push the limits of live music experience. After nearly two decades on the scene and five studio albums, Kosheen disbanded at the height of their career, and singer Sian Evans quickly established a reputation as a talented songwriter while developing a solo career. However, three years ago, she injected a new dose of energy into the reformed Kosheen line-up, which now includes original drummer Mitch Glover and two new members.
In anticipation of the performance in the Suburbium on 31 December, where we will sing and play together with Hide U, Suicide, Catch, Hungry and other great hits that dominated the scene at the very beginning of the new millennium, we talked to the singer who guarantees once again an unforgettable Doček and countdown to the New Year 2023.
How do you feel about coming to the European Capital of Culture, where you will perform as part of the Doček, on the last day of December? What are your personal expectations and are we expecting an equally successful performance like the famous one in 2001 at the Exit festival?
Exit will always stick in my mind and in my heart
It was such an important time for us, and for the young people of Serbia. We were at the beginning of such an amazing adventure, and Serbia was emerging into a brave New World, the shared excitement and celebration will stay with me for my life.
And in fact, the Serbian people who have grown up with us are still with us and embrace our performances with the same energy, they always have.
Kosheen have been through a lot of changes, like any family there is always dispute and change is not always easy
I believe we are sounding stronger than ever and I feel ready to tell the story through another album, we are working on.
I will bring some old songs, new songs to Novisad with all our energy and love, which will hopefully ring the bell for a wonderful prosperous New Year for everybody.
You point out that the performance in Novi Sad was one of the most memorable in your career, when 50000 people jumped and sang in front of you to the rhythm of the music. Are you aware of your popularity in Serbia among the audience that has remained loyal to you all these years?
I think you can see when you look at the footage of that show that I was overjoyed overwhelmed and extremely proud.
There is a real loyalty to artists in Serbia. The young people grew up with us have supported us all the way along. Now some of these young people have young people of their own, and I’m always amazed to see teenagers in the audience singing the songs with the same passion as their parents.
You grew up in a musical family, you are the daughter of a singer and the granddaughter of a musician and composer. Did your childhood, colored by music, also determine your professional path? Were your mother and grandfather your biggest role models in the beginning?
Growing up in the musical family is a privilege. We weren’t financially privileged but having a childhood, surrounded by music was a wonderful enriching experience.
To be perfectly honest, my grandfather and several other members of the family tried their hardest to teach me to play piano. My patience and my dizzy, dreaming ahead, young self was too stubborn to do the practice, so they eventually relented to let me sing.
The year would be mapped out with church concerts, Welsh folk singing concerts, choir practice, and singing to the elderly people at Christmas in the old people’s homes. I loved him dearly. But he was quite tough.
My mum would allow me my imagination. She would allow us to put our dolls everywhere in the house, soldier forts on the bottom of the stairs, and Princess Palaces in the bathroom, every flat surface in our house was a scene from some imaginary play. My brother and I would put on concerts and I would follow the choreography/for Flashdance in front of the television, make them all watch me! My mother would read to us every single night, which is where I believe my love of songwriting stemmed from .
You have been on the scene for more than 20 years, and your hit Hide U took you to the very top. There were numerous performances with the band Kosheen, an album, a solo career after parting with the band, collaborations with great musical names… How do you see your musical path today?
I am just sincerely grateful to still be present. I knew when we were writing the Kosheen albums that we were making some timeless music. I had no idea I would still be performing today to audiences of all ages all over the world.
As I mentioned previously, we’ve had some rocky years and I’ve not been able to release a body of work under the name Kosheen now we are ready to focus on that and continue to tour and work with some incredible artists and producers in the future
What, in your opinion, has been the band’s greatest success and what challenges have you faced? Why did the band Kosheen break up?
A band’s success depends on outreach. Kosheen toured relentlessly for a decade, and we weren’t managed. Exhaustion and excesses ripped. Apart our friendships we stopped making music that made us all happy and cracks began to show. Life became very difficult and I became very depressed and lost my way. I believe as a young mother to a young boy, it was hardest on me.. and my son.
We achieved so much, but never really had a chance to celebrate or appreciate how far we were coming along.
Personally, I have surpassed most of my childhood dreams and aspirations. I wanted a better life for my son.
Performing at Glastonbury in 2002 was an incredible highlight.
We had lived in a commune on the side of a Welsh mountain and the children from that community were standing in the front of a 70,000 strong audience.
For them to see me, someone, they knew up on the stage demonstrated to them that anything is possible for anyone, even a tribe of dirty faced angels could one day reach their goals. That to me was golden.
What are your most memorable moments from the stage, when you look back on your illustrious career? The people of Novi Sad still talk about the moment when, despite a leg injury, you performed at Exit in 2001 and raised your crutches high and danced… That was truly magnificent!
Oh yes, I remember I was always falling over and hurting myself. The show must go on.
It’s human to applaud courage over adversity, and it was wonderful to feel so supported Exit festival danced for me when I couldn’t. I was carried on to the stage that was a highlight and never been repeated.
How do you see the new generations of musicians in the electronic scene? What is the positive thing that you notice that maybe wasn’t represented when you started your career?
Well the standard is so high there, new technology and access to media has exploded the scene. I see lots more prolific women now at the top of their game, tastemakers, and architects of a musical genre that has less boundaries than ever before. It’s exciting and everything is created from the ground up analogue sounds diligently created perfectly unique
I hear remanence of the early rave scene, breaking open of new styles uninhibited by genre specification rebellious and fresh.
The pandemic pushed artists into their most creative space throughout history response to dire circumstances has been an explosion of creative art. I’m very excited to see what these young people with that lived experience will come through with.
What kind of music do you prefer listening?
I have different music for different moods. I’m in India right now listening to mantra, sitar and drums. Tom Petty for a walk on the beach, Kate Bush while I clean my hut and drum and bass ‘going out’ music.
What is your life motto?
If that’s what you want, that’s what will happen.
Author: Marina Marić