KOIKOI: Novi Sad Audience Has Always Shown Us Affection

One of the young local bands coming to Doček 7532 in the District is KOIKOI, a band that will once again win the hearts of the Novi Sad audience with its high-octane performance. Known for their energetic concerts, on 13 January they will undoubtedly rock everyone present at the Proizvodnja facility, sharing the stage with the band Keni Nije Mrtav, as well as Zhiva, Rouzi & Jowam. Don’t miss Doček in the renewed District, because you can expect an unusual combination of different musical genres in cooperation with the Serbia Creates platform. The programme in Proizvodnja starts at 9 p.m., you can buy tickets at this link, and KOIKOI will take over the stage from 10:55 p.m.

KOIKOI is a unique musical fusion of diversity and unbridled energy. Freed from any genre restrictions, they boldly chose the most colorful elements of rock and pop music, creating a whirlwind of sound enriched with fascinating vocal polyphony of female and male voices performed in the Serbian language. The eclectic combination not only works beautifully, but also crosses language barriers, resonating around the world. Members of the KOIKOI band are Marko Grabež, Emilija Đorđević, Ivana Miljković and Ivan Pavlović Gizmo. Their music was nominated for the European Sound of the Year (ESNS) award at Music Moves Europe 2023, where they stood out as one of the 15 most promising bands in Europe. They were also named to IMPALA’s 100 Artists to Watch list for 2022.

In anticipation of Doček 7532 in Novi Sad, we spoke with young artists Emilija Đorđević and Ivan Pavlović Gizmo about their performance in the capital of culture.

How do you feel about your performance at Doček in Novi Sad on 13 January? What are your expectations from the concert and what does the KOIKOI band bring us on this occasion?

Gizmo: In general, from the very beginning, we all can’t wait for every performance, since everything that needs to come together always comes together on stage, so we expect nothing less now. As always, we will give 100%, so we expect a good time, a lot of energy, we have also added our new song Putem Mimoza to the repertoire, which will be on the upcoming Hali Gali compilation. We come ready and full of energy!

The audience describes you as an indie band with many genre influences, and you yourself have said that you often go out of your comfort zone precisely in terms of genres. It is certainly very challenging, but also inspiring.

Gizmo: One of the nice things about the band is that we can do whatever we want. Ever since we started looking for a sound, one thing has always been certain, and that is that we will not blindly go in one direction. We always try to push those limits that we have in our heads during rehearsals, and we kind of encourage and support each other to search and experiment, without pressure, without rushing, just to let things happen by themselves, and in the end there is always the best possible feeling, that moment happens when everyone smiles and we look at each other and start laughing with happiness. It is very exciting to go down a road where you don’t know where you will end up.

You have been on the music scene for several years, you have performed at important and large festivals, and with your performance at the famous Eurosonic showcase festival in Groningen, you were nominated as one of the 15 best emerging artists in Europe. How much the successes mean to you and does it open any new doors?

Gizmo: For the last almost three years, we haven’t stopped with performances, from the smallest place to the biggest festivals, both in the region and beyond, we wanted everything, and didn’t refuse anything because we are determined to go all the way with this whole idea. We managed to show ourselves at the biggest showcase festivals in Europe, and on top of that we were nominated as one of the 15 best emerging bands in Europe at the Eurosonic festival in Groningen. I don’t think any of us have processed all these things in peace yet, which brings us to the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg – one of the most prestigious showcase festivals in Europe. We had a great performance, despite the fact that Marko and Ivana were sick. Immediately after the performance, people from the prestigious French booking agency ‘Voulez-Vous Danser’ approached us and offered to cooperate. Since this year, we have been cooperating with them on the European and even the world level, and that is the crown of everything we have done so far, and we haven’t started yet.

At your performances, it is felt that you leave the last atom of strength and love, and it is interesting that you mentioned that you never turned down any opportunity for a concert. Will we feel the same energy and passion on stage at Doček?

Ema: When you love something so much and are committed, it is impossible not to feel it. We try to always play every concert with the same intensity, but there are definitely differences from concert to concert, and that mostly comes from the audience in the hall. People in the audience usually dictate in which direction the concert will go. We give ourselves absolutely, but if they send out that energy as well, it’s a real deal. The audience from Novi Sad showed us affection from the very beginning, so we expect a great atmosphere and a great concert at Doček.

What does your creative process look like? It seems that you are all different in the band, but that you complement each other extremely well?

Ema: You know what they say, the opposites attract. It is true that we are different in terms of sensibilities and as personalities, but each of us has our own specificity, so when they are all intertwined, we get a very interesting combination in the form of the music we make. Complementing is the key to a band in which each member is equally the author of the music, as is the case with us. We wouldn’t survive without it.

As part of Doček, you will perform in Proizvodnja with several other performers. How important, in general, is connecting bands to each other for the development of the music scene?

Ema: Networking in artistic or cultural circles is extremely important. In this manner, people support each other and create a common space in which they will act with the aim of spreading it. In addition to the local Belgrade scene and the Hali Gali crew of which we are a part, we try to network with other bands from the region, because at the end of the day, they are all people who fight for music that is not mainstream, but still really exists and vibrates. We believe that the sense of belonging, togetherness and support are crucial for the development of the music scene, as well as cultural development, which must move forward non-stop.

The space where you will hold the concert, in the District, has been renovated thanks to the project and the title of the European Capital of Culture. How do you see the fact that Novi Sad got a space for an alternative art scene that was transformed from a former industrial complex?

Ema: Any space that is dedicated to the alternative scene is a good move and shows that something is moving forward, but unfortunately, I think we are still backward in that regard. At the level of Serbia, Novi Sad has actually made the most progress, developed and gained spaces, unlike Belgrade, where we are making ends meet in terms of music clubs and art spaces, and the rest of Serbia is still far from all that. We travelled the whole region and part of Europe, in Slovenia, for example, every village or town has its own cultural space with all the equipment and conditions for playing. A trend of smaller concerts is growing and people are attending them. I would like Serbia in the future to also provide the conditions and work more on the infrastructure of clubs, cultural centres and spaces for art at the state level.

Author: Marina Marić

Photo: Nemanja Knežević, Vladimir Veličković

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