“Like a lot of the bands Koyo is inspired by, I feel we exist on a bit of a spectrum sonically. Some songs are more high energy and inspired by hardcore, others are more nuanced and ballad-like. Straight North exists more on the ballad side of the spectrum. ‘Straight North’ is a sister song of sorts to a track on our first EP called ‘Heaven So Heavy’. This song was written before any of the previous material. It’d been in the chamber for almost two years before we actually decided to record it as a single. Although it’s about a now very distant time in my life, I feel there’s potentially something tangible and meaningful there for people who may have felt or feel a similar way. I hope people can relate” says singer Joey Chiaramonte.
There’s a lot of musical history on Long Island, especially when it comes to hardcore and punk. It was that heritage that the six members of Koyo wanted to pay homage to with their band. Formed in 2019, the six-piece – vocalist Joey Chairamonte, guitarists Harold Griffin, TJ Rotolico and Mike Marazzo, bassist Stephen Spanos and drummer Sal Argento – all played in different bands in the scene including Typecaste, Rain Of Salvation, Hangman and Adrenaline yet Koyo leans more into the revived 2000’s emo sound Long Island was also famous for.
“Our goal isn’t so much to exit where we came from” explains Griffin, “but to stretch the boundaries of what we can be and what Koyo is. We’re heavily influenced by the early- to mid-2000s hardcore-adjacent emo and pop-punk scene. It specifically catered to Long Island bands when it started, but now what Koyo is probably relates to other bands that aren’t so geographically concentrated. They can be from anywhere – it’s more the timeframe that’s more called back to with what we write”.
As such, Koyo exists both in the past and the present. That’s something you can hear in the music they’ve released to date, a seamless blend of hardcore and emo, it infuses elements of the latter into the framework of the former to create a songs that bristles with energy and emotion in equal measure while creating something new and unique in the process.
“This is the project where we can be melodic and personal and emotional and vulnerable,” says Griffin, “and that’s not something we can always get out of the other things that we’ve done. This happens to be a more tender part of us that wants to come out. The beauty of doing something like Koyo” says Chairamonte, “is that it can be truly whatever we want. The boundaries are infinite because there are none”.
“And we can go beyond the box of hardcore” adds Rotolico, “whilst still keeping the ethos of hardcore”.